6 – SSL G-Series Bus Compressor
The G-Series Bus Compressor is a VCA-based stereo unit from the UK’s Oxfordshire-based Solid State Logic, derived from the circuits found in their legendary 4000 G-series console. The SSL excels at one thing only: stylish-as-hell bus compression, either on sub-mixes or the master bus itself.
For ‘glue’ purposes, it reigns pretty much supreme: a holy grail compressor that does both transparency and glue with panache: making a mix louder and punchier while imparting an expensive, modern-sounding cohesiveness that has probably shaped the sound of more hit records than any other over the past three decades. For many producers – in just about every genre – the SSL is such a no-brainer that it sits on the mix bus for every single mix. It has a unique ability to make a good mix sound like a finished track.
As far as settings go, there aren’t many to tweak. Just change the attack and release settings so that the compressor is responding to the tempo and feel of the track (if in doubt, keep attack fast and park it in auto release mode). For ratio, choose 2:1 for master transparency, 4:1 for slightly more obvious colour and 10:1 for a tougher, more characterful bus sound.
The G-Series Bus Compressor has a host of plugin emulations, some of them officially sanctioned, including one by Universal Audio, one by Waves and SSL’s own version. However, our favourite SSL-inspired plugin is Cytomic’s The Glue – look out for a new version of it in Ableton Live 9.