Analog Obsession has released Comper, a freeware serial compressor plugin for DAW software on Windows and macOS.
There’s no shortage of compressors in today’s plugin climate (check out our free BPB Dirty LA for a vintage-inspired take on the concept), but Analog Obsession’s latest looks to be a little more unique than the rest in terms of how it processes material.
Comper is a serial compressor with two dynamics processors chained together in series. Producers can select between VCA, FET, and Opto models for each of the two compressors.
Standard compression controls are present, with Ratio, Attack, Release, and Threshold controls all being present. Where Comper departs is in its chaining of the two compressors in series. The internal compressor has no present sidechain key nor an internal sidechain high pass filter. Instead, internal can act as a first line in taming peaks.
Internal/External is where things switch up, with it possessing both an internal and external sidechain key.
The compressor has a variety of ratios, starting from 1:1 up to 20:1. There are a variety of uses and benefits for serial compression, and Comper simplifies the task of picking the right compressor for the job.
Analog Obsession has also included 4x oversampling, which is toggled by clicking the developer’s logo at the bottom left of the interface.
In practice, Comper has stood up to some testing. A decidedly sharp jazz guitar sample was easily tamed down to uniform level without errant peaks poking through. It also does well with vocals; quite a few engineers are familiar with the 1176 and LA2A being used in conjunction with vocals and the FET and Opto modes present mimic the action of both.
Coloration and saturation are present, which can be heard by toggling the compressors into the 1:1 ratio and applying a bit of input drive. It is a pleasing saturation, mimicking the harmonics generated by hardware transformers.
Comper is available in a few major formats, with Windows computers supporting VST3 and AAX. AU, VST3, and AAX are the formats available for macOS.
Analog Obsession isn’t reinventing the compressor with this release, but it’s always handy for those on the engineering side to have tools that simplify and speed up workflow.
just a quick reminder that AO plugins are not backwards compatible. meaning, once 1.1 comes out, you won’t be able to open what you did with 1.0, etc.
Mmm, I don’t doubt you had a problem, but I hadn’t installed 1.0 yet that 1.1 was available, so I took the time to insert 1.0 in a track, move the knobs so i can check, install 1.1 over and it loaded fine. Is your problem with AO plugs a recurring one? If so, I’d advice you to contact the author with precision on your setup, he might be able to fix this in the future.
lmao what? this is something he used to say himself everytime he released an update. looking at his patreon now, i only see people mentioning this in the comments, but not his own “advice” of backing up projects (/converting to audio) before updating. i have stayed away ever since, but maybe this was meanwhile fixed? thought it would be mentioned at least somewhere lol
So, in the last dozen of plugs that were released, it happened once on one plugin (BlendEQ), because, yeah, bugs from an initial release? I mean… *sigh*
That is far from being a trademark from AO. To be clear, this isn’t a thing.
this absolutely was a thing at one point:
(just the 1st things that came up)
his older patreon posts have clearly been cleaned up, as everything was moved to newer versions, but this was often the case. going through previous comments, this is repeatedly mentioned. and he still currently says “do not install 1.1 before finishing projects with 1.0” on some other plugins as well.
if somebody is getting into AO plugins now, even better if this is mostly not an issue anymore (idk)
but i mean… *sigh* to act like this was not at all an issue, is ridiculous. he even adressed this personally:
Brandolini’s law anyone? As a general rule, few software, today, out there is stuck at a v1.0.0 release point and totally devoid of any bug. Unfortunately, -that- is a thing. I don’t see AO being worse than many.
The changelogs of some plugins out there is way worse, even commercial ones, from devs I have the upmost respect for. As a great philosopher once said : “Love with your heart. Use your head for everything else. Caaaptaaain Disiiiiiilluuuusion!”
Worth noting that it’s possible to select multiple flavors at each stage for parallel processing.
As Sir Otter already mentioned: The extra-ordinary feature isn’t that it is a serial compressor. If the authors of this article really thought that they missed the point a bit.
Comper makes it possible to get a hybrid compressor with each of the two compressors. Not only can you choose between Opto, FET and VCA, you actually can create mutant blend of all these types… like an OptoFET or a VCAFET or OptoVCA or a FETOptoVCA. And of THAT you have two in series, which gives you a vast variety of possible flavours. So yes, he somehow IS re-inventing what a compressor can do.
This looks a great plugin and the ability to set it up with different combinations of comp types makes it truly unusual … and all for free! :-) The one disappointment for me is that when I load the plug (Cakewalk by Bandlab), I don’t get any needles in the meters of markers on the knobs. Whilst there’s something to be said for mixing with your ears (not eyes), given my relative newbie status in mixing it would be handy to be able to watch the needles bouncing. That said, I’m not complaining … this is still a free plugin after all !
Not sure if applicable to your problem, but since the article was about v1.0 :
VERSION 1.1 – 17.11.2022
– Added HPF (Side-chain)
– Adjusted scales of Attack, Release and Ratio
– Fixed Ratio readout
Thanks MRG but I think I’ve already got v1.1 (not clear from the plug itself or the install file, but as I only downloaded it on 18th I suspect I’ve got the latest version). Thanks for your comment all the same :-)
I too am in the exact same boat you are. Using Cakewalk and only downloaded the updated version. I don’t have any icons…no knobs/dials or needles, just blank black boxes.
Thanks BPB & Analog Obsession, Comper seems another awesome AO plugin but unfortunately it’s a no go on my current computer.
I guess its the metal GPU compatibility that i don’t have with my old outdated computer which is crashing my DAW every time i try to open Comper, oh well it was well worth trying anyway, much appreciated either way.
Can’t your DAW open plugins without using the GUI? I think most can do that. There’s a handful of plugins where the GUI hurts my eyes and I used that feature.
Hey thanks MRG, thats a good idea.
I will look into if it is possible in the DAW’s settings before trying to open the plugin normally, i have (Logic & Live)
I remember with Waves when they brought in metal GPU compatibility, i was using Logic and i couldn’t see the normal interface, but i could see basic sliders to actually use the plugin.
Too bad for the eye candy, but if the sound agrees with you, heh…
There are GUI-less plugins around that are very useful, Airwindows, Blaukraut’s bkFX (those were recently updated as Win and Linux, VST3 and CLAP, btw) come to mind.
AO rulez. Thanks so much