PSP Vintage Warmer 2

$149

PSP VINTAGE WARMER 2, Compressor

There’s a time and a place for clean and subtle compression. Vintage Warmer probably isn’t the right plugin for those occasions. First released in 2001, PSP’s iconic analogue-style compressor plugin has gone in and out of fashion over the years. Widely hailed as one of the best of the first generation of plugins, Vintage Warmer then suffered from overuse and became a bit of cliche, but it’s still a highly useable tool.

Vintage Warmer does things a bit differently to most compressors, and that’s largely because it treats compression as just one element of a bigger picture along with saturation and tonal colouration, falling somewhere in between the effect of a conventional compressor/limiter (either single or multi-band) and a tape saturation effect. The plugin’s intentions are made clear by the fact that the Drive knob is larger than all the rest; the harder you crank it, the more the signal will saturate and distort. Part of the problem is that the rest of Vintage Warmer’s controls aren’t quite so intuitive. Instead of hard and soft knee settings, there’s a continuously variable control. The Speed setting doesn’t relate to attack time, as you may assume, but approximates the effect of recording to analogue tape at different speeds, effectively controlling attack and release times simultaneously. An additional release control acts as a multiplier rather than a conventional time setting. YouTube user JGS007’s excellent tutorial videos (embedded below) help to clear up the operating principles – understanding how the plugin actually works is the first step to getting good results from this one.

Vintage Warmer’s reputation has been sullied to some extent by overuse and flagrant abuse of its saturation effect. Of course, the fuzzy, distorted mixdowns that result from using it on every channel are a major cliche and rarely improve a mix, but maybe it’s time to reclaim Vintage Warmer and acknowledge the fact that when its used sparingly it can be a hugely effective tool for taming dynamics while also adding colour and character to everything from kick drums to full mixes.

 

12th July, 2015

Comments

  • Big fan of the UAD stuff, just want to point out that paying $299 for any of their classic plugins be it the La-2a, 1176 or the Pultec EQ’s is over doing it.

    UAD has frequent sales and promotions the biggest are around the Holidays and in June for the 1/2 year sale. The compressors will go as low as $99 and if you pair that with other coupons you can snag them very inexpensively. Another way to go would be buying a custom bundle. Like when you order say a Satellite or Apollo, spend another $300 and you can get 3 plugins of any value.

    At first glance you may think the UAD stuff is a lot of dough. And it is if you’re going to get the latest right when it comes out. But if you watch sales and buy custom plugin bundles you can really save. There’s really no reason to pay full price for the classic compressors. They are great tho and I def like the Silver La2a

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  • great article! surprised DMG’s Compassion is not on this list. it’s pretty much my go to compressor for everything. oh, and no mentions of Waves’ compressors… that’s kinda strange.

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  • Eric – we always list products at full retail price, but you make a great point. A lot of these plugins can be had for much less at sale time, including the Universal Audio emulations.

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  • what no rocket

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  • No [insert product name]? And no [insert product name]!?
    The hell with you people! 😛

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  • But what about [insert product name]?

    In all seriousness, thats a great roundup.

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  • Fabfilter bundles are in sale until August 1st, in case someone’s interested. No I don’t work for Fabfilter 🙂
    I’ve been eyeing the mixing bundle for some time, I’m very tempted.

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  • Slate Digital’s Virtual Mix Rack is amazing. The 1176 emulation adds nice grit and sustain. Also, the new opto compressor from BrainWorx is so punchy, sounds killer in parallel.

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  • Great list, I would also have to add any of the Native Instruments Compressors such as the Vari Comp and the Solid Bus Comp not to mention the Vintage Series VC 2A, VC 76, VC 160 as well.

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  • Elysia comps are geat! The alpha compressor can save you good money in the mastering department.

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  • Can’t see how you missed compressors like: Acustica Audio Murano and Titanium for example or MJUC, then what about Boz Audio, Slate Digital?

    IMO most important compressors were excluded from this article

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  • Thank you for the article, but…what about Waves? Quite a glaring omission!

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  • The thing with the UAD stuff is that you need the DSP accelerator. I don’t have a spare £1000 lying around…

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  • I agree with Ralphonz on this one. As good as they may sound you left out the fact that UAD plug-ins won’t work without the hardware which raises the bar to 1.000 $ plus.

    And hey, what about waves? You don’t have to be fan of their vast product range but a Roundup without at least one of their plug-ins seems a bit strange… Actually I don’t like a lot of their emulations either but there are some true gems…

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  • +1 for slate … The Neve type compressor really does something

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  • I dig waves ssl stuff.

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  • No Klanghelm MJUC ?! This comp is a steal !

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  • Klanghelm MJUC. Excellent. For the price nothing to compare on the market.

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