18 – Smart Research C2
This 2-channel piece, manufactured by boutique British company Smart Research, takes the infamous SSL Buss compressor and gives it some gentle (and not so gentle) adornments.
For stereo drum bus compression – and drum loops – the C2 is in the premier league. And for other sub-mix and master bus applications it offers a sound that does SSL punch and glue – then adds something more on top; a sweet, smooth radio polish that sounds as expensive as its £2k+ price-tag.
The surprise up the C2’s sonic sleeve is its considerable talents for processing single tracks. On kicks and snares it can deliver surprising heft. It can both pin and glue basslines. And on the occasional vocal part it can add a rich, creamy silk.
It can, it short, do a lot – with panache. With low ratios it treads gently. But when pushed – and especially when the unique ‘crush’ mode is engaged, introducing harder compression and a hint of distortion – its character is allowed to shine. Which is the reason for its significant, loyal – if often quiet – fan base.