Jon V Audio released FirComp, a freeware compressor effect in VST3 and AU plugin formats for digital audio workstations on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
FirComp is a zero-latency compressor designed to sound musical and transparent. The plugin can handle fast attack settings (down to zero milliseconds!) with a high compression ratio. It sounds clean at moderate settings while applying gentle distortion at high compression levels.See also: Best Free Compressor VST/AU Plugins!
There’s a lot to like about FirComp. The plugin was designed to add punch without distorting the signal. On the other hand, FirComp also features an optional look-ahead feature for smooth compression on instrument busses and the master channel.
The controls are pretty much standard for a peak compressor. The user can adjust the compression ratio, compressor knee, attack/release times, dry/wet mix, threshold, and makeup gain. You can also fine-tune the side-chain filter by applying one of the preset settings (de-harsh, de-ess, natural, or off).
One of FirComp’s secrets is the dual parallel release stage. Adjust the release time in milliseconds, then use the slider to fine-tune the program-dependent behavior. This will smooth out the signal without having to use multiple compressors simultaneously.
As for the user interface, FirComp features a minimal design with a dark color scheme and simple graphics. The gain reduction meter on the right shows the compression level in real-time. The labels are easy to read, the knobs are large enough, and there’s really nothing to complain about here.
Check out the FirComp user interface below (screenshot taken in Studio One).
It’s also worth noting that FirComp is well-optimized for low CPU consumption. You can use the plugin on all channels across the mix without noticing a performance hit.
Some users are comparing FirComp with the popular TDR Kotelnikov compressor plugin by Tokyo Dawn Labs. Both plugins deliver transparent compression, whereas FirComp seems to be more oriented towards compressing drums and other percussive audio material.
Coincidence or not, we featured another excellent freeware compressor yesterday. Check out the TLS 1295 LEA plugin by Tin Brook Tales for a more gritty and distorted approach to gain reduction.
You can download FirComp completely free of charge from the product page linked below. Keep in mind that two versions of the plugin are available at the moment. The second version, called “FirComp Low Ratio,” adds more compression ratio options (1.2 and 1.5) and a 100 Hz sidechain high-pass filter option.
More info: FirComp (1.93 MB download size, ZIP archive, 64-bit VST3/AU plugin format for Windows, macOS, Linux)