Acustica Audio’s El Rey Compressor is an emulation of a famous compressor from the 1950s. My guess would be that it’s an RCA compressor. Not only is it a recreation of an RCA compressor, but it’s a recreation of superstar producer Greg Wells compressor. To me, this is pretty cool. Not so much that it’s Greg’s (although that is cool) but that we can now get specific emulations from specific gear from a certain studio.
My, it’s great to be engineering in 2019!
As far as the sound this thing is a beast! It gives you some real thick low-end body that most compressor’s usually take away. That fact that they added a parallel compression knob is a great feature as well. Check out the review below! Let me know what you think in the comments too!
What’s up guys, Matty here at mixandmastermysong.com. Today we’re going over the Acustica Audio El Rey plugin. This is a plugin that is a recreation of a classic old-school compressor from the 50s. My guess would be it’s an RCA compressor. The owner of this compressor is the super-talented, well-known producer/engineer Greg Wells, who’s worked on a bunch of huge records with Katy Perry and a ton of others.
The compressor itself is really simple, but what you can do with it is pretty amazing. To me, I’ve had it for about a month now, and I’ve been using it, and to me, it adds a real thickness and depth to anything you put on it.
This can be great for drums and bass and vocals in particular, especially with a lot of people recording at home now on not-so-great mics. A lot of tracks I get, the vocals sound kinda thin, just because the equipment or the surroundings weren’t that great. So this compressor’s been really helpful in the respect of adding some thickness and girth back to a vocal that might be sounding a bit thin.
So I’ve been using it a ton on vocals, but it also sounds great on drums and bass, and in the mix bus some people tend to use it on. I haven’t used it too much on that, kinda got my own thing with my outboard for mixing on the mix bus, but I’ve heard great things about it.
So what we’ll do today is run through a couple different examples. I’ve got it on some drums, I got it on a synth bass, and I got it on a vocal. So let’s jump in, we’ll check it out, and you can hear some of the differences.
So first we’ll go to … I put it on the kick, and then I also had it on the drum bus for this song by my buddy Zack called Newsfeed, which you can check out on Spotify and all the other formats. We have it on the kick out here, and just to give you an example of how this thing adds …
I mentioned it adds a lot of low end, which most compressors usually take away low end from bass-y instruments or vocals or whatever, it’s kinda the first thing to go on kicks. So I even brought out the fabfilter, just to compare a couple of compressions so you can hear the difference. Because the fabfilter is known to be pretty clear and clean and transparent as far as compressors go. So here’s the kick sound.
All right, so let’s turn the El Rey on.
So you hear right away, it just adds a thickness. I’ll bypass on and off so you can hear it.
So pretty cool, right? Now check it out when we turn on and off the Pro-C, you’ll hear the kick, the low end kinda goes away and you get more top end, more click on the bass.
It gets more punchy. This kinda gets thicker, and more … rrrr. I like it.
So that’s on the kick. It’s cool just to add … Maybe take a DB or two off, nothing crazy, because the release on this thing isn’t super fast. But it definitely can add some serious attitude to a kick if you need it. Or snare, or whatever drum you want.
Another example we can go over here is … I will put it on, let me make sure … Turn my bass off and my vocals off. I put it on my drum bus here, and this, you can do a couple things. You can add just some light compression, just a DB or two just to glue the whole drum set together. Or, the cool thing that comes with this plugin is an actual mix knob, so you can do parallel compression right within the compressor, you don’t have to do any other routing or anything.
Once again, you can hear it just thickens everything up. Real quick, just to go through some of the settings, it’s very simple. It’s just an input, your threshold, which is how much compression, you got an attack and release. This is auto-gain for the input, which is actually really cool. The more you push into it, it automatically does gain compensation to bring it down, so you’re not playing that game. If you wanna play that game you can turn it off and use your makeup here. And then finally you have a wet/dry and then a filter for your low end, which is always nice to have.
So here we just have a little bit of the filter, pretty fast release, slow attack, and we’re just hitting the drum bus, all the drums together, just a little bit. Now, the cool thing is that when you really start smashing this thing it gives it some crazy attitude. So let’s take a listen now.
Crazy, right? So now let’s dial back the parallel and then just kinda blend it in together.
Really crazy and awesome, it sounds great. That’s pretty close, as far as level goes, we’re pretty close in the gain matching. So that’s that true sound of the compressor. This thing’s a beast.
Let’s try now on just this little synth bass we got here. And this is another example of it just adding some character and thickness to something that might be kinda thin. Here’s the synth bass by itself.
We’ll turn it on.
Pretty cool. And that’s just adding … Because that’s not a super dynamic bass sound, but it’s nice to add some thickness and girth to something like that.
Lastly, let’s check out this vocal. This vocal is pretty well recorded, but it is a little thin-sounding. So this thing can actually really help. Let me turn this bass off. This can actually really help to thicken up these vocals well.
So you can hear, it just pulls that vocal together. It’s like giving it a big, soft, warm hug. Really, really great compressor. Amazing how … I hate to use the word because it’s overused … How analog this thing sounds. But it just really sounds like an old-school analog compressor that just can give your music a hug, whether it be the vocal, the bass, the drums, or even the mix bus if you wanna try it on that.
So if you like the compressor, you wanna check it out, you can get it at acusticaaudio.com, I, they’ve got a 30-day trial which is a good amount of time to really try something out. And check it out, it’s fun, man. It’s cool, it can be addicting, you can add it to everything.
One thing I did find that I had to do sometimes on vocals was, because it adds so much low-mids, low end to it, sometimes after the compressor I’d have to EQ out a little bit of the low end, around 200 hertz, because that would tend to be pushing up into the mix a bit. Just a word of warning, maybe to try that if you are using it on vocals.
If you’ve got any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments below. If you need your songs mixed or mastered, hit me up at mixandmastermysong.com. Thanks.