ThrillseekerLA – getting the most out of it

To get the most out of ThrillseekerLA in different Mix situations the key is to utilize the highly adaptive program dependency of the compressor.

Utilizing gain reduction ranges

Finding the sweet spot in a specific compression situation requires seeking the best gain reduction range in the context of the attack and release time behavior (which in return is gain reduction dependent). This opens a vast variety of applications ranging from gentle “fairchild style” bus compression with just 1-2dB of gain reduction up to drum smashing at extreme gain reductions.

As a rule of thumb one can use this basic pattern to perform some very different tasks quite easily:

  • 0 – 2dB of gain reduction – the gentlemen compressor. Just polishing the peaks can already make an awesome shiny finish. Use faster attack times and slower release times to obtain a Fairchild sort of feel.
  • 2 – 6dB of gain reduction –  the typical working range for almost all kind of duties. Pacing this range the compressor is able to achieve both: longterm RMS level smoothing and fast short-term peak management w/o any obtrusive gain riding artifacts. This works on virtually any material and especially also on difficult to handle content: Whether it’s a vocal or brass take or even a slap bass with huge and fast dynamic changes – the program dependency is able to deal with all that without any intervention by hand.
  • beyond 6dB of gain reduction – drum smashing and audio effect compression. One might be concerned with deeper gain riding affairs in other compressor devices and used to slow down release timings to avoid distortions. In ThrillseekerLA there is no need to worry about this. Just dial in a 30ms release time if the situation demands it and the compressor takes care of the rest.

Tracking and mixing

Tracking and mixing might benefit from the ridiculous fast timings which are offered for the envelope computation but special attention should be spent on the overall recovery behavior. Depending on the load in the circuit the recovery from gain reduction slows down the more it comes to zero GR. The effect is similar to optoelectronic panel based (vintage) gain reduction stages. Recovery can get really slow by this effect and getting the most out of such units requires to find their specific sweet spot for any particular audio material.

Tracking and mixing might also benefit to a large extent from additional harmonic distortions, especially the 2nd order one. For example, when managing rather difficult audio material such as acoustic bass or vocal recordings this can greatly improve definition.

On the stereo bus

A quick way to back up from too much compression amounts is the RANGE control option which can offer rather forgiving compression characteristics especially suitable but not limited to 2bus compression / program material. The compression capability approaches zero at settings of ca. 20-30dB, very typical for some retro compressors back in the past. In a modern compressor design a similar effect is achieved with dynamic range limiting which allows to apply this in a rather controlled fashion from 0 to 100%. The result is a very fancy compression experience and allows to recover quite easily from too much gain reduction amounts.

Adding color and texture

When using just the compressor engine alone for the very first time, it might appear rather dull compared to other devices and this is because of the absence of any HF hype caused by IM distortions. This is not a bug, its a feature. Instead, the saturation stage of ThrillseekerLA allows you to dial in additional content which is harmonically related in a controlled fashion. Depending on the ‘spectrum’ setting this not only adds some texture and grit to the audio but also allows to color the sound.

In general this might be very obvious with the exception of the ‘transformer’ option which is rather subtle. Using transformer based designs in an analog audio signal path typically leads to some effects where the coupling between the stages becomes frequency dependent, which is a work-load dependent effect in itself. This is exactly what this option does and as in an excellent analog signal path, this is not a very prominent effect but just ‘somehow there’.

Sidechaining

Also, don’t forget the sidechain filtering options: ThrillseekerLA offers several features for sidechain signal path treatments. First of all it allows external sidechaining. Then, in the sidechain path two filters can be dialed in: A standard low-cut filter up to 500Hz and a custom sidechain filter which attenuates low frequencies while boosting the HF department at the same time.  Linking both channels in the sidechain path is handled internally and there is no need for intervention by hand.

This is not an emulation

ThrillseekerLA does not intend to emulate any specific hardware device and so there is no reason to compare it to any of those or in other words: you might fail to use it as a substitute. However, if you are used to the sound of some of the older optoelectronic leveling devices, ThrillseekerLA might appear surprisingly smooth and even sounding and the difference to the rather modern ones might not be that large on the other hand.

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Comments

  1. Once again, I am grateful and humbled. I downloaded the Thrillseeker and put it right to work on a pain in the keester mix that had given me nothing but headaches for quite a while. A duet with two drastically different voices that did nothing but fight for position in the mix. After tossing out the plugins from another rather pricey manufacturer, who shall remain nameless (it starts with “w”) I settled the two argumentative vocal tracks into a wonderful harmony full of compliment and cooperation. My initial assessment of the Thrillseeker is that you have created yet another top-notch plugin that I will use and cherish for years to come. Thank you again and again for the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious VST!

  2. This Absolutely rules!!! Is was struggling to get a vocal to sit correctly in the mix. I’ve been trying every trick I know. Today I just learned one more. Sometimes you need the right tool for the job. ThrillseekerLA is that tool! I needed to quickly clamp down on some “yelling peaks” in the vocal that no other compressor I tried would treat in the right way. They all sounded too brittle when the transients hit. This thing does exactly what I needed and it does it smoothly and transparently.

    Once again, You have proven your skills!!

  3. Thank you, so much. I use Ferric and Density MKII quite a bit, and I was wishing for a VOS comp for tracking. I see this getting a lot of use.

  4. 18:44 Tears in my eyes
    18:45 Download finished
    18:48 almost on my way to the studio
    …..forecast for the next couple of hours/days/weeks/years—infinite joy!
    Thank you for another fine tool you are sharing with us all.
    Cheers :)

  5. First I have to thank you for your new outstanding plugin. But I find it also remarkable that you write for every plugin a detailed manual and now you are giving also extra tips for the right use.

    There are some good freeware plugins out there, but most developers doesn’t seem to perceive the need to write a manual or giving tips. You get the plugin – and then it’s sink or swim. The more advanced you are, the more some things are self explanatory. But some plugins are hard to use because you don’t know how is the structure behind it.

    Thank you for your detailed information. Because this is a lot of work, too, but it really helps the user to get into the use of the plugin.

  6. Francesco says:

    thanks bootsy! it would have been also very cool to have a switch to unlink the channels.
    For some mastering projects it’s a function that really helps to get the most out of the compressor.
    Maybe you could implement it in the next relaese of your excellent plugin ;-)

  7. triplefiremusic says:

    As always, I love your work. I’ve actually never reached for the leveling amp devices before but am very interested to dive into this design.
    Ferric is used almost daily! Again, love your work. Thank you so much for what you offer so kindly.

  8. Hmmm… So many testimonials on your plugins but still no AU-Version for MAC-Users. Could u please, realize that? I` m very jealous and want to give your plugins a try in Logic and Maschine, too ;)!!!

  9. Luciano says:

    I think that bootsie could accomplish that using JUCE, but would take time of course. Anyways It’s not that much efford to have a windows partition to use this babies.

  10. Wonderful sounding plugin! Thank you for your efforts! This will be a go-to comp for a certainty.

  11. I am using your plugin for quite some time. And another plug your new stirs up emotions. TriillseekerLA one of them. I am impressed with what this plugin does with the tracks

  12. are there any chances to see a Mac version on any on any of the plugIns

  13. I truly believe you will be blessed for your outstanding generosity and contributions to the music world. Your freebies are absolutely incredible and your website is superb. Much love from yet another poor and struggling musician/engineer. (Nash. Tn.)

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