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Airwindows VariMu: Mac/Windows/Linux AU/VST Special Ef­fects Plugins
Old 30th August 2018
  #31
Airwindows
 
chrisj's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eklo View Post
Don't know if this was missed or not just not responded to, no worries either way.

What I would like to say/ask is, whether there is a fully featured buttercomp or not, could you please add one to buttercomp. I use it all the time and always have to reach for an extra gain plug. Vari-mu has one and it gets used every time, as does the output on channel5/6. Would be very much appreciated if you don't mind adding it. Makes A/B so much smoother and keeps me in the flow.

Been using vari-mu more and more, it's excellent, love the way it breaks up, really unique sound.
It sounds like people would like to see more work in the ButterComp vein. ButterComp2?
Old 30th August 2018
  #32
Gear Maniac
 

Nice!

Personally, I am really looking forward to PurestSquish and Compresaturator.

Of course anything in between now and then is cool.

Old 30th August 2018
  #33
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
It sounds like people would like to see more work in the ButterComp vein. ButterComp2?
That ofc would be very cool, but I love buttercomp as it is, simple.and great sound, it just needs an output dial, could you add one either way please?
Old 31st August 2018
  #34
Lives for gear
 
StoneyBCN's Avatar
 

I use Buttercomp for Opto duties. I much prefer it to 90% of same emulation plugins. I would enjoy a Buttercomp algo with things like ''speed'' from cStrip, some Spiral/S.E.T, maybe some filtering/slew factor in there or averaging in the output... Not emulating analogue, but giving analogue-factors on tap.

It also strikes me that much of this is achievable in chains and linked parameters and imagination. If Chris made more of his YouTube videos, in which he explores deeper usage of singular plugins, and longer strings that achieve certain final effects (like Slew and Highpass are Guitarconditioner, add saturation and calibration and you have Channel), even just watching whatever off-the-wall genuity inspires his creations... That stuff would be worth the value of each relevant plugin combined.

Some webisodes/podcasts/whatever its called, that I'd patron-up to see:

''How to do mid 80's digital sampler encoding, with Airwindows plugins.''

''How to do FET limiting, and what FET limiting really is...''

''What is tube mu, and what it does to audio, demonstrated with Airwindows plugins''

I would rate that. just a few mid-beer thoughts.
Old 31st August 2018
  #35
Gear Maniac
 

Yeah, most of this can be done with multiple plugins but it's really nice to have output gain integrated into the plugin so you can match levels and then toggle it in and out at more or less equal loudness. Using Purestgain after it can echieve the same thing but you have to bypass two plugins (which takes focus away from the A/Bing and makes it a little harder and slower to compare) or use something like Melda MCompare, which is great but overkill for jsut doing an equal loudness bypass of a single plugin.

On all the Airwindows plugins that include it, it's indispensable.

But for me personally, I usually use Buttercomp on the 2buss an mix into it from the beginning, so it doesn't get adjusted much. It's totally usable as is and sounds fantastic.
Old 31st August 2018
  #36
Gear Nut
 

Hey guys,

I only hear great things about Airwindows compressors, but I really have a hard time trying to use them because of the lack of meters...I don't think my ears are trained enough to make compressive decisions confidently without any visual help.

Could you guys give some tips about how you've been using them? I mean, what I should mostly pay attention to, how do I know when it's enough or too much, etc?

Chris, maybe you could do a video tutorial about it? It would be awesome!

R.

PS: Chris, since you wont add any metering to your compressor plugins, maybe you should take advantage of the native metering in DAWs like Studio One. I'm not sure how complicated it is, but at least in Studio One's case, a lot of plugin companies are adding this feature...Now, this would be excellent!
Old 31st August 2018
  #37
Just twiddle till it sounds good. If you don't trust yourself/room/monitors to be able to adequately determine when it sounds good, then maybe don't worry about using a compressor in the first place?
Old 31st August 2018
  #38
Lives for gear
 
StoneyBCN's Avatar
 

Chris has put out a lot of plugins that all adhere to the same gainstaging/drive profiles. I don't have access to my DAW right now to do some readings, but I can get back to you later if nobody else does. Usually the mid-way settings correspond to something that makes sense in terms of audio bits, like - 6 or -12dBfs.

If you run a 20hz test tone into any Airwindows compressor or saturator, and check the resulting output wave in real-time on a scope, you can usually see quite easily where things are kicking in and what the other controls are doing. I do like gain reduction meters as much as anyone, but it's often surprising what kinds of things they don't tell you, and there are many examples of plugins where meter inaccuracies are modelled as well. In fact it seems many 'top shelf' products have useless meters on them...

I like the approach with Reaper's GUI-less metering, where you have a dummy fader that modulates its position just like a level meter. Must be a cool way of using a pre- and post-plugin measurement of level, subtracting the difference, and displaying it on a modulating dummy fader... Surely somebody has put out something like this already?
Old 1st September 2018
  #39
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RMorgan View Post
Hey guys,

I only hear great things about Airwindows compressors, but I really have a hard time trying to use them because of the lack of meters...I don't think my ears are trained enough to make compressive decisions confidently without any visual help.

Could you guys give some tips about how you've been using them? I mean, what I should mostly pay attention to, how do I know when it's enough or too much, etc?

Chris, maybe you could do a video tutorial about it? It would be awesome!

R.

PS: Chris, since you wont add any metering to your compressor plugins, maybe you should take advantage of the native metering in DAWs like Studio One. I'm not sure how complicated it is, but at least in Studio One's case, a lot of plugin companies are adding this feature...Now, this would be excellent!

A lot of Chris' plugins work really well in parallel (either with their own wet/dry control or with Reaper's, although it always feels like there's a bit of a volume drop when I use Reaper's built in wet/dry). I was getting really good results with Vari-Mu on a percussion submix by driving it until it was just starting to audibly distort and then bringing the blend down to around 1/3 wet.

In general (but by no means always) I'll start with the default settings, use whatever threshold/drive/amount control that particular plugin uses to control how hard the compressor is working to set it so it's compressing just a bit too much, and tweak the other parameters (speed, "MUiness" or whatever Chris has put on a particular plugin - I use a somewhat different approach with more typical compressors that have ratio, attack and release controls). Once I have it sounding as good as it can with a bit too much compression I'll back off the drive/threshold/whatever until it's sounding good to me, while regularly comparing it with the dry signal and keeping the levels matched (I don't really get obsessive about matching the bypassed level exactly, just get it close enough that the mismatch isn't distracting and doesn't cause gainstaging trouble if I add more plugins later on). Then I fine tune all of the other settings and finally I use the wet/dry blend to bring back some of the lows and transients (or not, sometimes full wet is the best).


This is very general and I don't follow this as a set of rules or anything, I'm just thinking through how I usually approach Airwindows compressors (and other compressors that don't have attack/release/ratio controls).
Old 1st September 2018
  #40
Here for the gear
 

One thing Chris does in a lot of his videos (that I've found to be a useful technique) is to crank the compressor to max so it's super obvious what it's doing. This generally sounds unpleasant, but you can tweak the other settings to get the flavour you want. Then bring it all the way down and slowly bring it back in to find the level you want.

The big thing is to regularly bypass so you can compare to the uncompressed signal - but do try and level match so you aren't seduced by a volume boost!
Old 3rd September 2018
  #41
Gear Nut
 

Ok, so I've been trying harder to use it in a couple of sessions and...I really love it?

I'm not sure how to describe it, but when compared to other Mu style plugins, even the latest ones, it sounds waaay smoother and natural.

Even without the meters, which I still think is a usability problem, it's turning into my go-to compressor.

I'm using it like you guys suggested: Turning the knobs until it sounds good...This is making me rethink all those "compressor 101 rules" that say you shouldn't go higher than this, etc...
Old 3rd September 2018
  #42
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RMorgan View Post
Ok, so I've been trying harder to use it in a couple of sessions and...I really love it?

I'm not sure how to describe it, but when compared to other Mu style plugins, even the latest ones, it sounds waaay smoother and natural.

Even without the meters, which I still think is a usability problem, it's turning into my go-to compressor.

I'm using it like you guys suggested: Turning the knobs until it sounds good...This is making me rethink all those "compressor 101 rules" that say you shouldn't go higher than this, etc...
Yes forget 101 rules, that is sure fire route to stagnation in my opinion, just do what sounds good to you!

The recent Fuse Vari-Mu offering is amazing. Haven't compared them side by side.. VCL-25A is veery smooth in it's compression. This thing's amazing and when it's driven hard it's just wild. I definitely agree with your natural comment, there is a naturalness to most Airwindows stuff that I find hard to put my finger on but it's there, like they're very at one with the source.

I am using this, pressure4 and buttercomp and loving them all. I tried logical out as well which is great as well but I don't need any more options than I currently have. Give buttercomp a go if you haven't already, that is a lovely plugin.
Old 16th September 2018
  #43
Lives for gear
 
stealthbalance's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eklo View Post
That ofc would be very cool, but I love buttercomp as it is, simple.and great sound, it just needs an output dial, could you add one either way please?
in pro tools , you can use the vst plugin with a ddmf metaplug 64 wrapper ... it has on the cables some gain control knobs to adjust for gain.
just hold the mouse above the cables and they appear.
works well for me.
Old 17th September 2018
  #44
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stealthbalance View Post
in pro tools , you can use the vst plugin with a ddmf metaplug 64 wrapper ... it has on the cables some gain control knobs to adjust for gain.
just hold the mouse above the cables and they appear.
works well for me.
Thanks for the suggestion, however, using a wrapper isn't something I'd be up for doing. I hope Chris adds it as this is one of my favourite of his comps. It's much needed, the outputs and dry/wets on the Airwindows compressors that do feature them get used every time. Really helps things flow.

Side note - scrap my comment above about not needing more options. Whilst true, I have been really enjoying Logical4.
Old 17th September 2018
  #45
Lives for gear
 
StoneyBCN's Avatar
 

Logical4 really stands up. Similar to Pywacket and VariMu et al, it gives you some of that compression function on the plugin label, but like it's often said with Airwindows, you get a natural melding effect where the compression choices feel more "source-level" like a microphone placement correction. I have no idea which plugins sound most like the hardware, I just know which I prefer in the mix.
Old 22nd September 2018
  #46
Lives for gear
Airwindows VariMu is a wonderful compressor - one of the best available ITB. Everyone should have this in their toolkit since it's . . . free (well, let's call it $12 since that's the yearly amount to support Chris on Patreon).

Also, I'm really digging Swell and UnBox. Like everybody on this thread, I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.
Old 22nd September 2018
  #47
Lives for gear
 
StoneyBCN's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarsBot View Post
Airwindows VariMu is a wonderful compressor - one of the best available ITB. Everyone should have this in their toolkit since it's . . . free (well, let's call it $12 since that's the yearly amount to support Chris on Patreon).

Also, I'm really digging Swell and UnBox. Like everybody on this thread, I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.
Did you try Pop? Jeeeebus.

I try to clock the similarities between Chris's highly effective compression plugins to some "hardware" counterpart that might get pulled up for similar purposes... Pressure is not a FET limiter, but knocks that tone-colour out of the park... Or Buttercomp into the Busscolours (brit spelling) Manley box-tone...

I think the current nugget of interest must be towards PWM comps. Who's up on Pyewacket? And who wants more of it?? Surely not just me

I am probably wide off the mark, but the "square of the input in detector circuit" in VariMu sounds possibly related to PWM. Either way, both compressors smoke.
Old 22nd September 2018
  #48
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneyBCN View Post

I am probably wide off the mark, but the "square of the input in detector circuit" in VariMu sounds possibly related to PWM. Either way, both compressors smoke.
I've just been doing a bit of reading on PWM compressors, and as far as I can tell the PWM part is affecting the gain part of the circuit rather than the detector.

"squaring the input circuit" is how it gets the VariMu behaviour - square number go up faster than linear (1 4 9 16 25 vs 1 2 3 4 5) so hotter signals get compressed a lot more.

PWM (based on my limited research) turns the amplifier on/off very quickly to control the (average) gain, rather than trying to ride a continuous control. Really interesting idea, although I'm not sure how it would apply to a digital world where everything is being turned on/off all the time already!
Old 22nd September 2018
  #49
Lives for gear
 
StoneyBCN's Avatar
 

Great stuff, thanks! Now I can see how that squaring can relate to variable Mu compression ratio
Old 23rd September 2018
  #50
Airwindows
 
chrisj's Avatar
I'm working on ButterComp again but it won't drop today. I ran into an unexpected bug while trying to do just strictly a 'add output gain' mod and update the denormalization and noise-shape-to-fp-buss. What it means is, the original ButterComp wasn't using everything it had to offer and was a simpler compressor with just the 'two compressors, one for positive and one for negative'. That's the guts of it, but I had another pair in there for interleaved processing and because of the bug it never actually engaged.

So that slowed things down (I'll still have it out before the end of the month, though) and I need to work out whether to just leave the original one alone, or try to update it in place to add the output gain to it just the way it is. I don't like that because it'll screw up everyone's saved settings and saved mixes. I think getting it fully working will make ButterComp2 sound very similar but subtly better, plus with the addition of the output gain. ButterComp (1) will have source code put out alongside the code for ButterComp2, but reflecting what's actually functioning in the plugin.

Sounds good? And again, I can't put out ButterComp2 right away, but it's next and has the output level control, and the original bug is fixed so that kind of makes it 'ButterComp as intended'. I'll get it done as fast as I can.

The extra stuff will have to come after that: I meant to add another layer of compression but interleave that in threes (not twos) much like Capacitor uses a 3/2 two pole design with one of the poles interleaving three ways. It would turn into a sort of Bacaciticomp (not the real name) hybrid, but that's going to be some more work
Old 23rd September 2018
  #51
Lives for gear
 
StoneyBCN's Avatar
 

I'm using Buttercomp routinely on vocals and bass on a commercial project right now. Not sure how this works - if you added an output gain to it, would I lose my compression settings?

If the "fixed" BC2 is not night/day different to the original, then you've got one user with a preference to not break my mixes with the original BC all over them. New noise shaping = yes, however.
Old 23rd September 2018
  #52
Airwindows
 
chrisj's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneyBCN View Post
I'm using Buttercomp routinely on vocals and bass on a commercial project right now. Not sure how this works - if you added an output gain to it, would I lose my compression settings?

If the "fixed" BC2 is not night/day different to the original, then you've got one user with a preference to not break my mixes with the original BC all over them. New noise shaping = yes, however.
It would be 'undefined behavior', which can be pretty scary: you'd get the output gain having whatever you had on the dry/wet, but then the dry/wet could be anything (depending on the DAW). Anything from 'default of 1' to 'whatever was in memory next to the last setting' which could be '67894567' for all we know. If I do a fresh plugin with the added control we know that won't ever happen. If I just don't mess with the ButterComp that's released, that's also safe from ever happening.

It shouldn't be night/day different though I think if my calculations are correct, the new one will be subtly better. It might be more about most people just moving to ButterComp2 when it becomes available (next week? Seems reasonable). I would think the successor (ButterComp3? ButterCompDeluxe?) with two layers of compression would have more of a 'different' behavior but I don't have it done yet.

Seems like maybe keeping it in the same name series would be good, rather than coming up with a special name just for it. Which is not to say I couldn't work out such a distinct behavior for it that it would justify a distinct name. But for now I will be working on the debugged, output-added ButterComp2
Old 23rd September 2018
  #53
Lives for gear
 
StoneyBCN's Avatar
 

The future is lookin' smooth

I'd suggest a possible variant in the canon, if I may - the one with the "speed" control in cStrip, but with the interleaved processing. Whatever it is you choose to do, this clean/transparant style of levelling is really useful and worth exploring.
Old 23rd September 2018
  #54
Airwindows
 
chrisj's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneyBCN View Post
The future is lookin' smooth

I'd suggest a possible variant in the canon, if I may - the one with the "speed" control in cStrip, but with the interleaved processing. Whatever it is you choose to do, this clean/transparant style of levelling is really useful and worth exploring.
That's a good suggestion. Since it's taking me extra time aaaannnyyyywayyy…

(edit) actually I came up with something better, looking real good for next Sunday. Still on for the added output level control, and now it has a direct though subtle effect on the tone/behavior of the compressor itself…

Last edited by chrisj; 24th September 2018 at 08:50 PM..
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