How to Bus Compression | Download links

Simply put, bus (or buss) compression is the act of using a compressor on the master to create a uniform sound for the entirety of a mix.

But we know this can be a confusing topic: When done properly, it can give a mix a sense of “glue and punch”, but can also destroy everything when misused.

In this week’s Instagram post, we intend to give you a simple step-by-step guide to put you in the right direction, as well as a few suggestions of both paid and free plugins that excels best in this domain.

Although every song is unique and will require their own tweaks, you can safely start with these settings, tweak them based on your tempo, genre, and dynamic material and experiment:

You should hear the cohesion you’ve been seeking but keep in mind: Subtlety is key !

SSL 4K buss-min

But first...WHY USING BUS COMP ?

Compressing the mix bus can have a significant impact on your mix and help in many different ways:

  • Add depth, impact or punch to your music
  • Smooth out the transients
  • Raise the RMS level
  • Glue your mix
  • Add coloration
  • Help the music ‘breath’ and move as a whole


Some are well-known to work their magic on the mix bus, like the famous SSL 4K G-Bus, API2500, or Neve 33609 to name a few…

These are all premium plugins and/or expensive hardware gears, but fortunately there are also great free alternatives !



If you’re not sure about how to properly use bus compression, check out the images below !




by Analog Obsession

BusterSe is an updated version of the previously released Buster compressor from Analog Obsession:

It features the usual set of compressor controls (attack, release, threshold, and ratio), a makeup gain knob, a dry/wet control, as well as a sidechain input with a high-pass filter and transient controls.

The nice-looking GUI immediately suggests the famous SSL 4000, a staple for bus compression.


by Analog Obsession

Britpressor is another free plugin by Analog Obsession inspired by vintage solid-state compressor units:

It features a compression module with adjustable threshold, ratio, timing, a gain reduction meter, and a multi-band side-chain. It is part of the free BritBundle and comes with 2 other modules.



by SNFK Music

SK-100 is a free dual stereo buss compressor plugin by SNFK Music:

It features 2 compressors (meant to be used in a serie for dual stage compression or in parallel for stereo processing).

SNFK Music says the SK-100 plugin has been designed to crush and tame a mix, with the harder compression done by the first comp while the 2nd can add a softer and more transparent leveling compression.


by Audio Tools

ADHD Leveling Tool is a software emulation of hardware leveling amplifiers.
While not attempting to emulate any particular hardware unit, the developers were inspired by the sound signature and gain reduction characteristics of studio classics such as the LA-2A Leveling Amplifier:

It includes adjustable attack and release times, adjustable gain reduction ratio, a side-chained high-pass filter, and a dry/wet knob for parallel processing.


You may also be interested in...INDIE CHILL PALETTE

Chill & Future Beats soundset for Serum

► 130 Serum presets
► 116 Music loops
► 133 Drum hits & loops
► 42 Midi files
Check out the full content on the product page !


by Acustica Audio

TAN by Acustica Audio is a freeware analog style VCA compressor which features common parameters like attack, release, threshold, ratio, dry/wet and gain to allow an extremely wide range of adjustments.

But one of its most exciting features is “ShMod”, a shape control for the attack behavior of the compressor which allows to fine-tune the attack shape and slope so you can really customize the attack behavior for any audio source.


by Klanghelm

MJUC JR by Klanghelm is a freeware colorful variable-tube compressor:

It definitely has a place in this list thanks to its Vari-Mu design capable of both smooth leveling and extreme pumping compression with added saturation on top.

It features a large gain reduction meter, only two knobs for adjusting the amount of compression and output gain, a timing switch with three timing options (fast, slow and auto) and an on/off switch.



DCAM FreeComp is an analog-style compressor plugin that mimics the dynamic range reduction characteristics of vintage console compressors.

Its streamlined interface makes it intuitive and easy to use, and it works especially well for subtle compression of a stereo bus or the master channel.


You may also be interested in...Lifeforms | Psytrance For Serum



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