Today, we’re diving into an exciting new compressor plugin from Universal Audio called the Capitol Compressor. This plugin is modeled after the renowned Capitol Studios CM 5511 mastering compressor. What makes this compressor unique is that only four of them were made exclusively for Capitol Studios. Universal Audio took two of these units and meticulously recreated them as plugins. Let’s explore the features and settings of this remarkable plugin and see how it performs in mastering two different songs.
First things first, take a look at this beautiful GUI. It’s sleek, elegant, and has a power on/off switch that lights up when activated—definitely a pleasing sight for any user. Moving from left to right, let’s explore the various controls. We start with the input, which feeds the compressor with your audio signal. Next, we have the sidechain, offering three different positions: a default 700Hz 6dB slope, a 365Hz option, or you can run it flat. It’s intriguing that the sidechain is set as the default, and it allows for shaping the bass response before compression kicks in, adding flexibility to the unit.
Following the sidechain, we have the usual threshold, attack, and release controls, which are essential in shaping the compression behavior. Then we have the ratio control, providing five different compression ratios: 2:1, 3:1, 4:1, 6:1, and 10:1. It’s worth noting that the additional ratios beyond the original hardware unit offer more versatility for users. Finally, we come across the output control. Interestingly, it only attenuates the signal, but you can compensate for the gain reduction using the gain control located below. This setup allows for precise control over the output and ensures a proper balance in the mix.
You can use the Capital Compressor in mono, stereo, or even mid-side configurations. Additionally, the plugin provides some extra features not found in the original hardware unit. These include a mix knob, headroom adjustment for managing hot or low-level signals, a mono-fold option to fold the low end up to 200Hz, a gain control, and a saturator with adjustable intensity. These additional features enhance the plugin’s versatility and make it a powerful tool for mastering engineers.
The plugin’s metering options include peak and LUFS (Loudness Units Full Scale). The LUFS meter offers both integrated and short-term measurements, which are particularly useful for mastering applications. Having these metering options ensures precise monitoring and control over the audio levels throughout the online mixing and mastering process.
Now, let’s move on to the exciting part—listening to some examples and experimenting with the Capitol Compressor. Click the video below!