Matthieu Brucher has released ATKStereoCompressor, a freeware cross-platform stereo compressor effect available in VST and AU plugin formats for Windows and Mac OS, based on the Audio Toolkit.
The plugin was published in April this year on the developer’s website, but I’ve only found out about it yesterday. After taking ATKStereoCompressor for a short 10-minute test run, I can definitely say that this is an interesting compressor effect, although obviously still a work in progress. Even though the plugin is a bit rough around the edges, it can be put to good use in mixing and sound design projects as I’ll further explain below.
See also: Freeware Compressor VST/AU Plugins!
First off, let’s take a look at the pros. ATKStereoCompressor is completely free to download and use (no sign up required) and available for both Windows and Mac OS. You can download it as a VST, VST3 or AU plugin from the SourceForge page linked below (an optional installer version is also available for download).
Functionality-wise, my favorite thing about the plugin is how gritty it can sound at extremely fast attack and release settings, reminding me quite a bit of the legendary RoughRider freeware compressor by Audio Damage, although with a slightly different character. The interface is also well though-out and pleasant to look at. A mix knob is also there for easy NY compression setups. Finally, the plugin supports M/S processing, which is a really cool feature to have in a freeware compressor such as this one! I’ve achieved some really good results with it on acoustic and electronic drum loops, which is the main reason why I’ll keep it installed on my machine for further testing.
On the flip side, I’ve noticed a couple of relatively minor bugs here and there. These will hopefully be fixed in future updates. Most importantly, the Ratio and Softness parameters cause significant audio stutter while changing values. I’m also noticing CPU spikes while adjusting the value of these two parameters. This doesn’t happen with any other parameter available on the GUI, which is quite peculiar IMHO (although please keep in mind that I know next to nothing about programming). The plugin could also benefit from a simple gain reduction meter, but that is not necessary.
Either way, ATKStereoCompressor is an interesting freeware compressor effect and certainly worth a look. The same developer has created a range of freeware VST/AU plugins, all of which are offered for free download on the SourceForge page linked below. I’ve briefly tested their limiter and distortion plugins which both performed rather well on my test machine.
ATKStereoCompressor is available for free download via SourceForge (563 KB download size, DLL file, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/VST3/AU plugin formats for Windows & Mac OS).