We all know that plugin factory from the Netherlands: FabFilter. Last year the guys around Floris Klinkert and Frederik Slijkerman updated their EQ to version 2 and this was a real success. This year they tweaked their compressor and updated it to Pro-C2. To me the new interface kicks ass, but there’s a ton more. Enter Mission Compression:
When opening the plugin, you will immediately notice that it is a FabFilter plugin. The compressor looks clean and professional without any sort of gimmicks, which might only have an esthetic aspect. The single compartements are really connected with each other and give a feeling of being in the sound, controlling it.
As in Pro-Q2 the overall window can be adjusted to your computer’s display with different resize options up to fullscreen, which looks so fancy on an iMac! It is also possible to scale the vertical display level in db. While extended, the waveform represents the center of the plugin. It gives you a visual feedback of wet and dry signals in combination with the gain reduction curve. With the transfer curve in addition, which displays the knee in the same waveform view, you have a set of displays which allows you to adjust settings very detailed. The large meter to the right displays level indication for input, gain reduction and output.
The control panel below primarily contains settings, you know from every other compressor. However, some additional settings look really interesting, more later. Below, the sidechain section can be extended. Here you can set up a frequency range, which triggers the compressor. But note, that it’s only active while extended. Here you can find more side chain options, but I won’t to go into detail about this.
A bar, which finals the plugin to the bottom, displays options like a master section with leveling, bypass and mix options, which makes parallel compression possible. Enabling the lookahead function will delay the signal, providing time to analyze the material. My feeling was, that this results in a more transparent, airy and smoother sound.
There are many different methods and material, which can be processed with Pro-C2. Let me show some of my favorite features, which makes it interesting for me to use it.
- Compression Styles: Pro-C2 comes with different compression styles which all sound different, even with the same settings. This gives you the option to adjust the compressor to your current needs. For example the vocal setting works with automatic knee and ratio, which makes it fast to get nice results. There are eight different styles like mastering, bus or punch.
Let’s hear some samples: For this I tried a pretty aggressive setting on vocals and two different bus compression styles. As you can see, it is even possible to enhance the stereo image. With some m/s compression you can widen your busses to improve the stereo image.
- Oversampling: When editing high frequency material, oversampling ensures that the highest frequencies aren’t cut of by aliasing. Samples can be raised by 4-times in the compressor. But note that this option will add latency and more CPU power will be used.
- Audition Triggering: Enabled by clicking on the small headphones button next to the threshold knob. Lets you listen to the signal, which is part of the original signal is reduced in gain. This gives you a nice possibility to set a proper threshold
- Auto Gain: auto gain is a difficult thing to realize. There are differences between amplified voltage and loudness and this means that it’s not easy to find an overall recipe to compensate lost gain. There are several plugins out there which have an auto gain feature, but not a single of them have convinced me. However, FabFilter found a way to get this feature working in a nice way. With an enabled auto gain you can set the compressor without the need of continuous readjusting the gain.
- Sidechain Filters: Great use in my masters and sub groups. If I just want the compressor to be triggered by thevoice, I can set up corresponding filters to avoid the low end falsifies the trigger signal, which could end up in a pumping sound. Different filter types which react in the same way as Pro-Q2.
- Overall Look: The redesigned interface looks just amazing. The Waveform gives you a great feedback of what you are doing. But you can also scale it down to a minimal display which just contains the essential settings.
FabFilter Pro-C2 is a tool for professionals. Like its brother Pro-Q2, the interface feels high quality and makes you want to compress the stuff in front of you immediately. The plugin is a great compressor, especially on the basis of the different visualization styles. Like all plugins this one is not a magic tool which will do all the work on it’s own, but it definitely will help you to do a proper job. And be sure: it is a compressor which suits well for any material. As for mixing, mastering or anything else: it is a good addition an existing processing chain.
So all in all Pro-C2 has great visualization concept and the guys created a great compressor, which is worth it’s 180$. Get your hands on the demo and let me know what you think about it!