A field-effect transistor is used in the circuit of a FET compressor, an analog dynamic effect plugin, to reduce gain. These compressors are faster acting and have a better transient response than other varieties, which makes them perfect for percussive sounds like drums. Its attack and release times are quite quick in comparison to other analog-type compressors like VariMu, VCA, and Opto, which are the most notable distinctions. FET compressors don’t compress linearly like digital compressors do, and they also introduce harmonic distortion.
There are few additional small variations that are similar. For instance, the gain staging transformers at the end of the signal chain increase saturation. And, at least in the hardware units, it typically needs low-level input signals. Software emulations frequently take advantage of the desired results while removing restrictions and undesirable effects.
Softube FET Compressor
When it comes to analog emulation and saturation, Softube is one of the most well-known brands, and their FET Compressor only strengthens this claim. With its rapid attack and special ratio parameter in the “All” mode, FET Compressor takes inspiration from the Urei 1176 units. Furthermore, Softube still manages to give this plugin a few contemporary tweaks while sounding every bit as rich and warm as hardware emulations do. They all feel completely at home there.
With its streamlined GUI and bright needle meters, Softube’s plugin has more features and a more contemporary appearance. It has a Parallel Inject slider, for instance, so you may use parallel/NY compression right from the plugin. Similar to that, it has filters, a look ahead control, and an external sidechain gain. FET Compressor is acoustically identical to the original unit because it has all of the fixed ratio settings from the original hardware, including the renowned “All” ratio setting. Additionally, each plugin step was individually emulated to guarantee hardware compatibility. The end model has a low noise floor and acoustic warmth reminiscent to the original Urei 1176.
The Detector portion of the plugin is located in the bottom right. The compressor’s sensitivity to the sidechain input it is receiving can be adjusted using the External Side Chain knob, which is the first one. With the kick or other inventive applications like synth ducking, this tool is useful for controlling basslines.
There are two additional filters in the Detector section: a low-cut and a high-cut. They help to generally clean up the sound. However, because of the filters’ wide frequency ranges (20 Hz to 2 kHz low-cut and 100 Hz to 20 kHz high-cut), they might also be used to focus on a particular frequency band. The shortest transient peaks still manage to elude the grasp of hardware FET compressors, notwithstanding their rapidity. Enter FET Compressor’s Look Ahead function from Softube. To ensure that no peaks escape, it allows the plugin to add lag of up to 1 millisecond in your DAW. In fact, you could use this compressor in place of a master limiter. But be sure to also check your True Peak levels outside.
Softube FET Compressor is one of the coziest and fattest sounding analog compressor plugins available thanks to the meticulously replicated transformer components and distinct stages. We think it would sound fantastic on the drums, and you could add a tiny bit of it to the voices and other instruments to give them some color. It’s important to note that the plugin feels a little expensive, so if you can wait for a discount, we advise doing so. This is the Best FET Compressor Plugin in 2023.
Pulsar Audio Pulsar 1178
An emulated FET compressor with contemporary upgrades, Pulsar 1178 has a pleasant user interface, is practical, and offers a ton of variety. The plugin mimics the Urei 1178 compressor, which was the 1176’s stereo counterpart. Both were recognizable for their strong and powerful sounds. In addition to capturing the tone, Pulsar has added a stylish sidechain EQ, an alternative saturation stage, and a mix knob.
A parametric sidechain EQ and a graph showing the gain decrease are both located in the plugin’s upper part. The key compressor parameters are listed in the lower part. Pulsar 1178 is a stereo compressor that also allows for mid/side compression, which creates a wonderful environment for altering stereo images. Additionally, Pulsar provides a selection of settings for you to choose from.
Clip, Warm, Triode, and Tape are the four saturation types available in the plugin. Even without the compressor turned on, each is distinct and gives the sound a distinctive characteristic. Additionally, you can adjust the saturation using the calibration knob, from hardly perceptible to heavily distorted. On drums, vocals, and even whole mixes, a modest amount of Clip or Triode saturation gives clear, top-end embellishments. For alias-free sound, Pulsar 1178 uses oversampling ranging from 2x to 8x. Additionally, you can choose individually between real-time and offline oversampling rates.
Pulsar 1178 supports both internal and external sidechaining. They both employ the sophisticated four-band EQ. The EQ also boasts excellent cutoff bands with slopes as steep as 48dB per octave, giving this plugin the adaptability and effectiveness to compete with the most cutting-edge digital compressors. If we declared there was no use for contemporary metering on a hardware unit, we would be lying. Although we may and should utilize our ears, it is a blessing to have visual proof that you are not simply hearing things after too many coffees. Similar to how Pulsar 1178’s resizable UI feels like it was designed to make life simpler with its gain decrease graph and peak meters.
Pulsar 1178 has an overall aggressive yet natural sound and adds shine to the upper end because to the unique compression and saturator combination. In particular, we advise testing it out on percussion and voices. It is important to note that the plugin has a fair price. This is the Best FET Compressor VST Plugin in 2023.
Arturia Comp FET-76
In the world of music production, the term “industry standard” is frequently used, yet few items genuinely live up to the billing. Bill Putnam Sroriginal .’s 1176 compressor definitely lives up to its moniker. You may now take advantage of Arturia’s renowned tone-shaping from the ease of a software plugin thanks to the company’s TAE® technology.
The initial hardware compressor, produced starting in the late 1960s, was a standard in all significant studios. They were utilized to sculpt the sound of innumerable hit records by artists including Michael Jackson, The Killers, Guns n’ Roses, Joe Cocker, Bruce Springsteen, and Chaka Khan. Every mix engineer needed at least one in a session. With Comp FET-76, you can load up one of these vintage compressors on as many channels as you like, so you won’t have to limit yourself to just one.
The Comp FET-76 emulates the familiar Urei 1176 functions with in-depth controls using Arturia’s TAE technology. You will initially see the controls from the more recent hardware device when you first activate this plugin. However, Arturia has included a new page where you can access extra controls. This section has an EQ, input detection modes, “time warp,” and sidechain parameters.
You can choose from the following input detection modes: reversed stereo, stereo, linked stereo (mono), mid only, and side only. The default configuration is linked (Left/Right mode). When used with a stereo left/right signal, this mode detects the highest level between the two channels and compresses both at once. To shape the input signal, the plugin features a single peak band, a low-pass filter, and a high-pass filter. You can also toggle the EQ section as a whole on and off. They aren’t quite as adaptable as they sound because the frequency knobs have pre-selected values.
When pushed enough, this plugin also offers respectable saturation and analog hardware character. We believe it is well worth trying, particularly for the Time Warp function. It seems like a much-needed innovation in a sector that is already saturated.