Audio Damage first released its RoughRider compressor 10 years ago and has continued to update it over the years. Now on version 3, they claim that RoughRider is “one of the most popular dynamics processors on the planet, with well over a half a million downloads.” It’s not hard to see why it’s so popular. The RoughRider compressors sound great, with a warming circuit that adds a bit of oomph to any signal and makes it a great go-to for dynamics duties that don’t require transparency.
RoughRider 3 has the usual compressor functions, such as attack and release controls plus sensitivity (also known as threshold) and ratio dials, the latter of which goes up to the apocalyptic level of 1000:1.With dedicated input, makeup, and output controls, it’s a cinch to oversaturate the signal, and a mix knob allows for easy parallel compression effects. New to version 3 is a switch to turn off the saturation circuit and external sidechain. A sidechain high pass filter, which allows for bass frequencies to be excluded from the compression signal, rounds things out.
As the name implies, RoughRider 3 is best when used aggressively. Slap it over your drum buss or try it with vocals or guitar. It rewards experimentation. And with this price (it’s free innit) you can’t go wrong.