HASound released Big Apple, their newly updated dynamic range compressor, for free (previously priced $19.99).
Initially released in 2018, Big Apple (32/64-bit VST/VST3) for Windows was a simple parallel compression solution for your DAW.
The already straightforward plugin is now even more user-friendly in version 2.1.0. One change on that front is that Big Apple is now available as a simple compressor without parallel compression options. Although, the most significant change has to be that it’s now freeware.
To our ears, loud transients being harshly-squashed is generally more noticeable than quiet sounds being boosted. Typical downward compression, if abused, can leave you with a lifeless sound with less clarity. Parallel compression, or New York Compressions as it’s often called, is a way of reducing the dynamic range while keeping the intensity and detail of the louder parts.
While it’s most commonly used for drums or bass, Parallel compression is often applied to vocals, too. To apply it to a drum track in your DAW, you’d start by bussing the drums to a stereo compressor and slamming it pretty hard. Next, you’d return the compressor’s output to another two channels. The idea is that you blend the returned compressed signal with the dry drum mix, giving you a bigger sound without sounding too compressed.
An authentic New York Compression sound usually involves some EQ boosting the lows around 100Hz and the highs around 10kHz, too.
The Big Apple plugin takes a sometimes misunderstood concept and makes it easy enough for beginners and useable enough for pros. With this compressor, you don’t need to worry about routing the signal at all. Essentially, Big Apple separates the dry and wet signal for you and allows you to blend the two directly from the plugin. With up to a 20:1 ratio, +24dB make-up gain, and attack as short as 1ms, Big Apple has everything you need to smash that compressed signal. Although, if you do use it on vocals, don’t smash it quite so hard.
The GUI is basic in a good way; all knobs, buttons, and faders are big and easy to manipulate. As an alternative, you could look to something like the I Heart NY plugin from Baby Audio, which is a steal st $29.
But, free is more of a steal than $29. Or if you’re feeling flush, get both because enough is never really enough, is it?
Download: Big Apple (4.8 MB download size, ZIP archive containing EXE installer, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/VST3 plugin for Windows)