freeware tip: TDR Feedback Compressor II

If you did not tried this one out yet but are looking for an absolutely clean and transparent compressor then do check this one out!

The TDR Feedback Compressor II is a major design update of its critically acclaimed predecessor. The compressor is dedicated to the highest fidelity stereo program (2-buss) compression, but shines equally in classic mixing tasks. – Fabien from TDR

It features detailed control of compression behaviour, extremely low distortion and it’s compression is almost “invisible”. Download the freeware over there at tokyodawn.net.

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Comments

  1. Just read manual. The only interesting thing about it is explicitely given crest control, everything else is basic basics or just unnecessary marketing nonsense.

  2. This compressor feels to me like it has a auto adjusting threshold or something, clean but not functional.

  3. @djwarmonger: “Basis basics” or “marketing nonsense”? Pls elaborate! What about the independent release controls of peak and RMS? The 3dB oct SC HP filter? The unique, “stereo safe” link options? The insanely low distortion at insanely fast settings? The elaborate signal path/oversampling scheme unseen in the plugin field? Oh, and what about the unique “Delta” function and an anti-aliasing approach far superior than anything VST/AU available today? ;)

    Pls, give it a unbiased try and read the manual again. I use to communicate in a honest manner and hate stupid PR style manipulation, you won’t find any marketing bullshit surrounding my products. :)

    @Dignoz: This is the expected behaviour of feedback compression, the threshold is dynamic by design. What exactly didn’t work for you? TBH this is the first time someone complained about the usability, so I’m really interested to hear your thoughts.

    • @Fabien: Sorry, but just this sentence hit me at the very beginning:

      “No compromises have been made in order to achieve the highest possible quality of dynamic control.”

      This sounds just like another PR spell, suggesting that the plugin is better than others, but giving nothing to back it up. How am I supposed to understand that?

      1. You did not sacrifice anything in your design, but it implies that other engineers did so. Beacuse hey were lazy or low buget?, or
      2. Other designs are limited by compromises, but yours somehow is not. You can eat cake and have cake, magically?

      Presenting feedback compressor architecture as something genuinely innovative is also strange. This could work as a guide to basic principles of compressor design, but feels completely out of place in user manual.

      There are already over 100 plugins in my download folder waiting forever to try them, so all I can do is to read manual first. I expect the manual to explain that the plugin makes any sense at all, can be useful and how to use it. TDR manual, however, looks like promotional leaflet aimed at unaware customer. It sounds like a salesman and not the engineer, sorry about that.

  4. This is a really great compressor. Between this, thrillseeker LA, and density iii, i feel pretty set.

  5. Claudio Gnocchi says:

    Fantastic VST plugin…and free? WOW!

  6. One of the most transparent compressors I have used and it is exactly what I need as a mastering engineer when working on projects ITB. To me it is similar to the Weiss DS-1 comp just without the band capabilities for de-essing

  7. ThrillseekerLA and TDR II are my two most used compressors.

  8. I love this one too. And a real gem between all the emulations of [whatever you want]. As they stated on ther site:

    “This is a proud digital processor, made with an immense amount of love and care.”

    I love this beast.

  9. I’m very impressed with TDR II… I hope my comments below aren’t too boring; I’d hate my thoughts on TDR to become TLDR!

    I empathise with djwarmonger’s comments about having so many plug-ins to try, but I don’t rely on reading manuals as a filtering process any more. Plug-ins are not pieces of electrical gear that I ought to read about before plugging in to avoid damaging the item or getting myself electrocuted.

    These days I prefer to try a plug-in *before* reading the manual, so that I approach it without any pre-conceived notions or pre-conditioning due to whatever is written in the manual.

    Rather than reading the manual, I find it’s quicker and more informative to insert a plug-in on something clean and raw and see how it sounds in its default settings, and then tweak things a bit. For a dynamic processor (or any similar plug-in that creates a replacement of the original signal, such as EQ) I like to turn it to minimum settings, where it is supposedly doing nothing, and switch it in and out to hear if it’s doing anything when I believe it shouldn’t. Then, if I’m still interested, I’ll push it to extremes to hear an exaggeration of what it does.

    I like to use direct-to-stereo ‘audiophile’ recordings of solo grand piano, classical guitar and similar things for testing dynamic processors. Such unprocessed sound sources – with percussive transients, full dynamics and lots of ‘space’ filled with natural reverberation – make it very easy to reveal what the plug-in is doing to the sound. They’re great for getting a grip on the attack and release parameters, and how the natural reverberation is ‘pumping’ in response.

    If I’m still interested after I get a grip on the sound or character of the plug-in itself (i.e. once I know what to listen for with it) I’ll try it on something ‘denser’ with less dynamic range and more harmonic complexity, such as Western pop or rock music. (I find that if I go straight to the denser stuff, without trying it on the simpler stuff first, it is much harder to notice what the plug-in is doing – and that’s when I used to find myself reaching for the manual prematurely in the hope that it would tell me what to listen for.)

    By the end of that process I’ll know whether it’s worth investing any time into reading the manual. Manuals tell me how something works and can provide insight to parameters I couldn’t understand in my initial trial, but they can never tell me how it sounds when it does what it is supposed to do to the kind of music I usually work with – and that’s what my primary interest is. To badly paraphrase Goethe (?), “Reading about the sound of plug-ins is like dancing about architecture”.

    That’s how I approached TDR II. I still haven’t read through the manual but I don’t feel any impending need to do that yet, beyond curiosity. The UI is clean enough to figure out what most of the parameters do. Using very simple and clean music to begin with, I tweaked the parameters and in most cases I could hear the changes and/or see them on the metering. That’s good – the subjective ‘tool user’ part of me already knows what that parameter does. The objective ‘technician’ part of me remains frustrated because it has a compulsive need to troll through the manual to find out what is going on beneath the surface, but it has learnt to wait!

    I record a lot of direct-to-stereo acoustic stuff; some of it is polished Western music, some of it is ethnic music from villages and temples, mostly recorded with high quality microphones and high quality recording equipment, so any weak link in the production chain becomes clearly audible. This stuff is often very dynamic and raw, and it is important to maintain that aesthetic; I’m always cautious of making it sound too polished, produced or coloured.

    My first test with TDR II was on a live concert recording of two classical guitarists in a concert hall, recorded with Sennheiser MKH40 microphones – nice and quiet. This recording is intended for broadcast, where there will probably be a modicum of multiband compression on the station’s transmitters. For that application I like to apply a tiny amount of compression to the master before releasing it to the station; it gives me an idea of how the sound of the recording is likely to change when broadcast so that I can compensate for it in the master, rather than getting any nasty surprises when the program goes to air. (A touch of compression in the mastering process produces a much more ‘resilient’ end result for broadcasting, where more compression is likely to be applied.) TDR II did this beautifully with virtually no colour of its own beyond a very subtle harmonic thickening. It quickly replaced the compressor I had been using on this particular master. (It is a major brand in the mastering world, but I’m not going to name it because it is an excellent product that does not need to be denigrated here.) In this particular case, TDR II was better suited to the job and produced a more musical end result with a very stable stereo image. I can see myself using it a lot for this application.

    Last night I gave TDR II a quick try on a difficult recording containing hand drums, small cymbals and dozens of sticks being hit together. It’s a recording of the stick dance of the Tharu people of Nepal, captured with a pair of omnis in a clearing between two stretches of jungle that provide a rich diffuse sound field that most would consider to be reverberation. The problem with this music is that it is very dynamic, full of hard wooden transients, but also quite reverberant. I need to reduce the overall dynamic range and tighten up the stick sounds (their levels vary a bit too much) to make it palatable to Western listeners, without ‘pumping’ up the jungle reverberation between beats (I don’t want the Phil Collins drum sound!). Most compressors I have tried make it hard and nasty to listen to. TDR II was sounding very promising indeed, and certainly preferable to the numerous things I’d tried in the past (ranging from simple compressors supplied in DAWs to complex multiband compressors and maximisers). I need to spend a bit more time tweaking the Release Peak and Release RMS times, the Peak Crest and the Side-Chain HP Filter, but I am excited by the fact that TDR II offers these controls because they are exactly the parameters I need to adjust for this difficult recording. It may never be possible to bring this recording under ‘control’, but TDR II is offering the most potential so far, and in a way that is not sounding hard and nasty…

  10. Sounds like something I’ve been needing for a while actually. Sometimes I like a little colour with compression and sometimes that means a little distortion but there’s other times when I just want it to do the job it was intended to do and leave the tone alone.

  11. Thanks a bunch (and another^^) for the hint, that is really much appreciated, and I wouldn’t have found it myself (not that much reading/writing KVR like I used to). Thanks a lot!!

  12. It is a very good compressor. I’ve been checking it out for a while. There is a bit of latency that can throw you in programs that don’t compensate for it, but pretty much it is not a problem. Nice simple compressor, nice simple interface. Is it officially out of beta yet?

  13. Oh and it’s nice to see Bootsy giving a shout out for an alternative to what he’s doing. It not only shows his mind is open and he is drinking it all in, but it gives us ‘seekers’ a good heads up that something really is good, whether we have been checking it out or not.

  14. This compressor is dope. I recently cleaned out my VST vault (we all know how big THAT can get), and decided to keep ONLY things that I use. After trying out this compressor, and throwing up Bram’s s(M)exoscope to see what its actually doing, this is a keeper. Awesome plug my friend!

  15. recursively burning bear says:

    thank you guys for what you do, it’s amazing.
    you beat many commercial vst vendors, for sure.

  16. I tried it out.. I really liked it with fast settings, does wonders on drums… CRISPY!

  17. It is boring and really functional since it doesn’t really add something fancy. But it does compression very silent. Reminds me of UA Precision although this had been a limiter. But it felt similar with it’s sterile and silent approach, but also in terms of quality. Incredible that is going for free. I use this one with tough and The Glue with more decent parameter settings. Great complement.

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