Logic Pro X Plugins: Compressor Circuit Types Demystified

Logic Pro X Plugins: Compressor Circuit Types

There are lots of rumors and innuendo...

But one thing's for sure...

The Logic Pro Compressor is a versatile and amazing sounding plug-in.

It's 7 compressors in one and it covers just about every classic compressor you could possibly want to own.

The key to understanding the rumors is matching the "circuit type" to the classic compressor.

But first...

How to Add The Compressor Plug-in to Your Tracks

The channel strip is where you adjust the volume and sound of a track. You can find a track’s channel strip in the mixer or track inspector.

  • To open the mixer: Press X, choose View > Show Mixer, or choose Window > Open Mixer
  • To open the inspector: Press I or select View > Show Inspector

Here are two ways to add the Compressor plug-in to your track:

  • Click the Gain Reduction display on the channel strip
  • Choose Dynamics > Compressor from the channel strip effects slot
How To Add Compressor To Your Tracks

How To Add Compressor To Your Tracks

Compressor Circuit Types

The big rumor is that 6 out of 7 of these circuit types emulate the sound of classic compressors:

  • Platinum Digital
  • Studio VCA
  • Studio FET
  • Classic VCA
  • Vintage VCA
  • Vintage FET
  • Vintage Opto

Choose the circuit type with the buttons at the top of the plug-in interface:

Logic Pro X Compressor Circuit Type Buttons

Compressor Circuit Type Buttons

Here's what we know so far...

Platinum Digital

  • Logic Pro original compressor
  • Transparent dynamic control
Compressor Circuit Types - Platinum Digital

Compressor Circuit Types - Platinum Digital

Studio VCA

  • Similar to the Focusrite Red compressor
  • VCA (Voltage-Controlled Amplifier) compressor
  • Colorful
  • Low-distortion dynamic control
Compressor Circuit Types - Studio VCA / Focusrite Red

Compressor Circuit Types - Studio VCA / Focusrite Red

Studio FET

  • Similar to the 1176 Rev E "Blackface" compressor
  • FET (Field-Effect Transistor) compressor
  • Colorful
  • Low-distortion dynamic control
Compressor Circuit Types - Studio FET / 1176 Blackface

Compressor Circuit Types - Studio FET / 1176 Blackface

Classic VCA

  • Similar to the dbx 160 compressor
  • VCA (Voltage-Controlled Amplifier) compressor
  • Clean
  • Low-distortion dynamic control
  • Fast limiting
Compressor Circuit Types - Classic VCA / dbx 160

Compressor Circuit Types - Classic VCA / dbx 160

Vintage VCA

  • Similar to the SSL compressor
  • VCA (Voltage-Controlled Amplifier) compressor
  • Colorful
  • Low-distortion dynamic control
Compressor Circuit Types - Vintage VCA / SSL

Compressor Circuit Types - Vintage VCA / SSL

Vintage FET

  • Similar to the 1176 Rev A "Bluestripe"
  • FET (Field-Effect Transistor) compressor
  • Colorful
  • Higher-distortion dynamic control and limiting
Compressor Circuit Types - Vintage FET / 1176 Bluestripe

Compressor Circuit Types - Vintage FET / 1176 Bluestripe

Vintage Opto

  • Similar to the LA-2A
  • Opto (Tube Electro-Optical) compressor
  • Colorful
  • Tube saturation dynamic control
Compressor Circuit Types - Vintage Opto / LA-2A

Compressor Circuit Types - Vintage Opto / LA-2A

More Compressor Tips

When you want clean dynamic control and limiting, start with these circuit types:

  • Platinum Digital
  • Classic VCA

When you want colorful, low-distortion dynamic control and limiting, start with these circuit types:

  • Studio VCA
  • Vintage VCA
  • Studio FET

When you want colorful, higher-distortion dynamic control and limiting, start with these circuit types:

  • Vintage FET
  • Vintage Opto

Every circuit type is capable of varying degrees of distortion using the distortion knob.

Logic Pro X Compressor Distortion Knob

Logic Pro X Compressor Distortion Knob

Circuit Type Uses

These tips come from respected mixing engineers across many genres and are great starting places.

Ultimately, let your taste be your guide.

FET Compression

  • Add color, even without compression
  • Individual instruments like snare, vocal, guitar
  • Mix-bus compression, drums
  • 1176 bluestripe (Vintage FET), aggressive, higher distortion
  • 1176 blackface (Studio FET), early 70s, low noise
  • Steven Slate: FET on lead vocals, rap lead
  • Mixerman Eric Sarafin: Lead vocals
  • Michael Brauer: Drum group, lead vocals, background vocals
  • Andrew Wuepper: Lead vocals
  • Jack Joseph: Snare, piano, bass
  • Dave Pensado: Lead vocals, bass
  • Dylan Dresdow: Slap bass
  • Jaycen Joshua: Bass, string section
  • Tony Maserati: Ballad vocals
  • Ed Cherney: Bass, snare, acoustic guitar, rock guitar

VCA Compression

  • Clean, low-distortion
  • Vintage mix-bus compression, drums, piano
  • Simple, safe, quiet
  • Protect track from clipping
  • Instruments with complex harmonics (12-string guitars, pianos and harpsichords)
  • Ed Seay: Room mics
  • Michael Brauer: Bass
  • Jack Joseph Puig: Snare
  • Dylan Dresdow: Kick drum, stereo mix-bus
  • Hans Zimmer: Drums
  • Ed MacFarlane: 808 drums

Opto Compression

  • Tube distortion
  • Individual instruments like vocals, piano, and bass
  • Smooth, rich, warm compression
  • Steven Slate: Background vocals, British-style piano
  • Mixerman Eric Sarafin: Bass
  • Andrew Wuepper: Banjo, acoustic guitar
  • Dylan Dresdow: Bass
  • Russell Elevado: D'Angelo Voodoo Bass

You've got some great gear inside of Logic Pro.

That's a fact.

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6 Responses to Logic Pro X Plugins: Compressor Circuit Types Demystified

  1. Lachaz December 5, 2015 at 1:05 PM #

    I've been researching abtaining al the Logic Pro x knowledge there is to give. I highly appreciate you guys sharing your wisdom and knowledge

  2. Michael January 13, 2016 at 9:27 PM #

    Thanks for this Graham. You've 'demystified' these compressors and I enjoy the tips. Compression, to many, can be a complex effect to add into your tracking mix and moreso into your mastering mix. You've clarified some of that here.
    It's also great to know which compressors are being simulated in the Logic Pro software, and it can save smaller budget studios a LOT on buying additional plug-ins.
    I keep looking forward to hearing more from you and your vast knowledge of this software!

  3. Patrick Seago June 2, 2016 at 9:46 PM #

    Good explanation precise and simple, I have learned and the veil has lifted with a certain understanding....

  4. Douglas Coleman August 25, 2016 at 6:55 PM #

    At the risk of further swelling the head of a new father, whose very existence for the next 18 years will be one of abject humiliation and rueful ignorance (just wait until he has his own opinions about music!) I too must say "job well done and thank you."

    And my comments are made frm a position of truly wishing, at times, that all 3 of my young adult, competent "children" were kids again and that I could go back to those magic days of being father to youngsters. Much love and good wishes. I'm envious. And the courses and training is excelent.

    • Douglas Coleman August 25, 2016 at 6:57 PM #

      "Are excellent" I mean.

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