For me, dialing in good-sounding compression always involves a bit of luck. So a helpful batch of presets, easy A/B comparison, and several ways to avoid or mitigate over-compression are essentials. The Glue (Mac/Win, $99) is an AU, VST, and RTAS compressor plug-in from Australian circuit-modeling expert Andrew Simper of Cytomic that offers all three. The Glue models a cross between the circuitry in Solid State Logic''s E and G Series bus compressors from the 4000 consoles. The controls and metering are kept simple to minimize tweaking and help concentrate your focus on the compressor''s sound. For example, metering comprises a fast and accurate compression-amount needle; compression ratios are 2, 4, and 10; and the knee adjusts automatically from soft to hard as the ratio increases.
The Glue has three useful features not found on its hardware counterparts. Most notable is the Range knob, which dials back the maximum gain reduction. Its effect is evident on spiky transients when using long compressor attack times, and it differs noticeably from parallel compression as controlled by the Dry/Wet knob (see Web Clip 1). The third addition is a highpass filter in the detection circuitry, which is active whether compression is being triggered by the main input or an external (sidechain) input. This lets you reduce pumping when compressing signals with strong low-frequency content. Wave-shaping-based peak clipping is offered (recommended only for spiky transients), and you can toggle the compression off to more clearly hear the effect of peak clipping.
The Glue comes with 80 factory presets for tracking (drums, guitar, bass, keys, and vocals) and mastering. The plug-in holds A and B presets for quick comparisons and fail-safe tweaking. It sounds great, is easy to use, and won''t take a big bite out of your CPU.