When you hear the phrase “SSL compressor,” you probably think of the company’s iconic bus compressor or an individual channel compressor from one of its consoles. But the new Blitzer compressor plug-in, which was just released as part of SSL’s Complete subscription program, takes a different approach. It’s more of a chameleon, designed to emulate non-SSL compressors such as the 1176, LA-2A, DBX-160 and others.
Its GUI is simple yet powerful and features an Auto Gain button that compensates the Output level when you turn up the input. The plug-in has no threshold control, but the compression increases the harder you hit the input.
Blitzer offers ten preset ratio settings, from 1:1 to 20:1. You also get Attack and Release knobs. The Drive control lets you add harmonic saturation. The Transients knob allows you to dial back in transients that the compression takes out. A numeric Mix control makes it possible to easily create parallel compression.
When you press the large Blitz! button, it puts you in Blitz mode. Think of it like a “supersize” button. It overrides the ratio setting and turns on brick-wall limiting with a logarithmic decay. SSL says it’s “amazing” on live drum room recordings but encourages users to try it on all kinds of sources.
The bottom of Blitzer’s GUI contains the sidechain controls. One knob controls a Highpass Filter that lets you reduce how much bass gets into the compressor’s detector, so you can avoid bass frequencies triggering the compressor too hard.
Next to that is the Detection Sidechain section, which facilities frequency-dependent compression. It features Frequency, Q and Gain knobs and a Listen button that solos the sidechain signal. The idea is you can aim the compression at specific frequency areas to accentuate or reduce them.
On the Blitzer page of its website, SSL provides settings for emulating several classic compressors. Several of Blitzer’s presets also offer shortcuts to various compressor types.
Blitzer is only available as part of the SSL Complete subscription service. However, you can download a free trial of Blitzer or other Complete plug-ins to try them out before subscribing.