The Legend... Updated.
If there is a single piece of analogue processing equipment that is synonymous with SSL, it must be the SSL Bus Compressor. From the very first commercially released SSL 4000B console in 1976 and through many generations of SSL consoles that have followed, the Bus Compressor has always been the stalwart of the console centre section. For many of the world’s top engineers and producers, the Bus Compressor continues to be the most relied upon processing tool for making mixes sound bigger and more complete, with drive and energy from adding that legendary SSL glue and punch.
We've been on a mission to create the ultimate and most versatile incarnation of the Bus Compressor ever. The bedrock of the design remains faithful to the original circuit and using this as the foundation, we've built upon it, adding several unique colouration options and advanced processing tools. If you need it to be clean and punchy like the SuperAnalogueTM 9000 Series version, it can be. If you need it to be gritty and grungy like an early 4000E, it can do that also. Or if you need over-the-top, saturated, parallel compression for the drums, THE BUS+ has got you covered.
THE BUS+ circuit design utilises high-grade components, including 2181 THAT VCAs for superior analogue performance, four modes of operation and 3 distinct compression colouration options which can be combined to perfectly suit the genre you’re working on. THE BUS+ also packs in sophisticated routing options and advanced processing tools: Dynamic Equaliser (D-EQ), Transient Expander and so much more…
To complement the new feature set, we sought to bring improvements that would benefit recallability and technical performance.
All of the pots on THE BUS+ are stepped and read by a microcontroller which translates the pots position into the required circuit configuration or electrical parameter. This innovative approach not only makes recall significantly easier, it also means THE BUS+ is not subject to pot tolerances – prefect for precision processing applications like mastering.
Dynamic Analogue Equaliser: D-EQ
THE BUS+ incorporates a host of advanced processing tools including the new Dynamic Analogue Equaliser (D-EQ).
The D-EQ is a powerful 2-band Dynamic EQ that can be placed before or after The Bus Compressor. Many engineers are familiar with Dynamic EQ plug-ins inside the DAW but analogue Dynamic EQs are few and far between.
A Dynamic EQ is a more 'intelligent' form of EQ that changes the gain of an EQ band proportionally in response to the signal level once above a set threshold. It allows you to modify the contrast between background material (under threshold) and forward material (above threshold).
THE BUS+ Settings
The way engineers and producers use bus compression varies greatly. Some ‘set-and-forget’ and construct a mix into the Bus Compressor, others fine-tune time constants to work with a particular production, often applying it as the final polish to a mix. We caught up with a selection of the world's top producers and engineers to get their feedback on THE BUS+ and see how its legendary glue and punch, in combination with new advanced processing tools, takes their bus processing to the next level.
- Powerful 2-band analogue Parallel Dynamic EQ - the D-EQ
- Compress/Expand modes
- 3 choices of time constants for each band - Nominal, FAST or AUTO
- 16 selectable Frequency points per band
- Adjustable Range control per band from 0.5 dB to 15 dB
- HF band can be switched to Bell shape, with selectable frequencies covering High-Mids and Highs
- Frequency band static 'make-up' gain for LF and HF bands (Stereo/ Σ S/C Stereo) or LF band (Dual Mono/Mid-Side)
- G-Series mode changes LF filter to be 2nd order with degree of undershoot/overshoot
- Tri-colour activity LEDs to indicate D-EQ activity
- Individually bypass-able bands
- 4 modes of operation - Classic Stereo, Σ S/C Stereo, Dual Mono or Mid-Side
- External side-chain inputs and sends
- The authentic SSL Bus Compressor circuit
- LOW THD Mode reduces low-frequency distortion caused by compression
- F/B Mode alters the compression characteristics for a more 'relaxed' style of compression
- 4K Mode - single VCA operation with variable harmonic distortion to bring some 'grit' and 'grunge' to the mix
- Negative Ratios - for creative pumping effects and control of particularly loud signals
- New Attack and Release options, including the new 'Auto 2' setting
- MIX control for instant parallel compression
- Moving-coil gain reduction meters
- Unlockable Transient Expander
- 100% analogue circuit, controlled digitally using stepped front-panel pots
- Huge +27.5 dBu headroom
- Configurable processing order - Bus Compressor pre D-EQ (default) or post
- CH 1 IN and CH 2 IN buttons for global bypass
- Settable Operating Level - 0 dB (nominal), +10 dB, -5 dB
- Sleep and Auto-Sleep modes
- Precision MDAC-controlled MAKE-UP Gain with two ranges - 1 dB or 0.5 dB steps