TheZhe offers TheExpressor, a freeware Expander/Compressor plugin.
TheExpressor is a colored upwards/downwards Expander/Compressor. It’s available in 64-bit AU and VST3 formats for macOS and Windows.
While the plugin is entirely FREE, donations are welcome and go a long way towards future developments.
I’m not yet too familiar with TheZhe, but that supports the fact that so many talented developers contribute to the freeware plugin community (which is incredible).
The common theme throughout all releases from TheZhe is that they never place style above substance, which is an important trait for any developer.
TheZhe, or Zhe Deng, has set some minimal expectations for every plugin, which are:
- Zero Aliasing Artifacts above -60 dB*
- Modulation-Stable parameters up through 8Hz correspond to knobs with solid lines
- Free and Open Source research
*Typical use case where the input’s peak is below -6 dB, and the sampling rate is at least 44.1kHz.
Zero Aliasing Artifacts above -60 dB is possible thanks to some clever, optimized, built-in anti-aliasing.
Other key features include the Color knob, which is essentially the knee. A soft knee delivers smooth transitions, but if you want to be more aggressive/obvious, you can boost/cut up to 24 dB.
Bounded input/output means the output isn’t ever more than 6 dB louder than the input, with a minimum Makeup gain of -6 dB.
TheExpressor comes with an uber-minimal GUI, so everything is clean and clear.
While the minimal approach is excellent and most often the best way to go, there is a thin line to be walked.
Some developers go the extra mile to make plugins look like vintage/modern gear or look like a more polished product. I’ve probably commented on many, saying how great they look as long as it doesn’t interfere with performance.
The trouble is that some developers try to get too clever and overcomplicate things, turning a simple plugin into something much more tedious.
Sometimes, you can be too simple at the other end of the scale, and I think TheExpressor could perform better if it provided some basic visual feedback. No matter how much you trust your ears, we all go a little crazy when locked in a long session, and visual feedback could signal it’s time for a break.
You can download TheExpressor for free and check out more plugins from TheZhe. They’re offering a free chorus and a signal splitter plugin.
If you fancy a different but, most importantly, FREE compressor, check out dBComp from the fantastic Analog Obsession. Alternatively, head to ADSR Sounds, where Audified’s VocalMint Compressor is free with any purchase throughout February.
Download: TheExpressor (64-bit VST3/AU plugin formats for Windows & macOS)