Leeds' compressor review - Cytomic 'The Glue'
Posted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:59 am
CYTOMIC THE GLUE REVIEW http://www.cytomic.com/glue
Available in : AU, VST (win and mac), RTAS
Cost $99.00 - free trial for 14 days, preset saving disabled.
Alternatives - UAD 4K, Waves SSL bundle buss compressor, SSL Duende Buss compressor, Bomb Factory 'Smack', Liquid Mix.
PROS : Sounds great, has a sidechainable high pass filter so you can filter out the bass end which often helps balance the sound better, has a wet/dry control and range control making it great for parallel compression/NY buss compression, has 'some' of the famous SSL 4000 G analog buss compressor characteristics, has an ultra fast 0.01 ms attack time not featured on the others, making it more versatile.
CONS : Doesn't sound quite as authentic to the original hardware as the UAD, Waves and SSL versions, albeit having more control.
WHAT IS IT ?? "The Glue is a high quality analog modeled plug-in based on the E and G series SSL 4000* buss compressor with some additional features."
Tested on - PC VST tested on Ableton Live 7.0.16 Suite, Cubase 5.1.0, Soundforge 9.0e
Review - The Cytomic Glue is a new take on the SSLMaster Buss compressor, as featured on thousands of hits from the early 1980's onwards and otherwise known as the 'good' button. It's a simple looking interface with a VU needle and some fixed attack and release times with an auto release. The buss compressor can be used subtly to 'glue' mixes together (hence the name), with longer attacks, faster release and set to trim around 2-3 dB of gain. Or it can be used in more brutal fashion to 'Smack' the mix up like a volume maximizer, which is quite common in certain genres such as heavy electronic music and even power pop. These are the most frequent use of the compressor, although this plugin form gives more control and range, so it can also be used as a group compressor or even on individual tracks.
The best features of 'The Glue' are the range and wet/dry controls IMHO. This makes NY style compression tricks and parallel processing easy, as you can pump the compressor hard but run it underneath the dry uncompressed signal to give it some extra oomph without sounding too compressed and overdone. This is uncommon in the alternatives. Also a sidechainable low pass EQ is handy, filtering out some bass end can make for a different sound and allows the compressor to work it's magic over the more audible mid-mid high which is optimal in most cases.
Sound wise - the designer claims the plugin uses the same algorithms as the original hardware and while it certainly has some 'character' it is debatable whether it is more authentic than the competition. My opinion is - not quite. UAD's 4K, Waves SSL and SSL's own Duende plugins sound a shade closer to the original character, but all of these plugins cost more and UAD and SSL Duende require dedicated DSP units to run. It is still a good attempt and definately imparts some of the sonic character, this coupled with the extra controls help to make it a great contender still.
I tried 'The Glue' on the buss, subtle gluing and smacking the mix down were both achieved, the former with especially great results. I tried it on a drum group and it nicely brought out the details and definition and even on a bass track, with an attack time of 3ms, auto release and a threshold of about -18 dB at 4:1 ratio, set to 100% wet, it kept the levels up nicely and cut through the mix very nicely.
Other information - for such a modelled plugin, the CPU load was pretty light. It was heavier than native DAW compressors, but less intense than some other 3rd party character plugins. With sidechain filtering switched out it even more efficient. The plugin imparts zero latency according to Cubase's vst plugin information.
I highly recommend you try this plugin. If you have UAD, you might prefer to pay $199 for the UAD 4k plugin, which is slightly more authentic soundwise, but has less control of parameters.
Oh - and er, (whisper it) Deadmau5 loves this plugin - apparently.