Even with the democratization of mastering thanks to software like iZotope Ozone, mastering is still something of a dark art. Think prohibitively expensive boutique gear festooned with military-grade knobs and controls. You’re probably imagining the Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor right now. High-class heroes Brainworx have taken it upon themselves to fastidiously model this voodoo box and the results are astonishing.
The Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor is a two-stage compressor. The first stage is an optical compressor much like the famous LA-2A, with knobs for threshold and gain. The second stage is a discrete compressor modeled on classic VCA units like the Solid State Logic G-Series.
There’s more of course, with mid/side modes, stereo width adjustment, and internal and external sidechaining, but what really sets this compressor apart is the sound quality. Smooth, round, airy, deep… You get the idea. You don’t have to be a mastering engineer to use this either. Adding it to your mix buss can add a polish and sheen that has to be heard to be believed. It’s not cheap, granted, but it’s a lot more affordable than the hardware!
The Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor is also available as part of Plugin Alliance’s subscription service.