Vidar Audio offers Hammer, a free compressor plugin for macOS and Windows.
Hammer is the second release from Vidar Audio, with the first being Barrier, a maximizer, currently selling for $20 (usually $80).
Vidar Audio is a Japanese developer specializing in creating dynamic processors that are both easy to use and highly effective.
The plugin interface has a somewhat vintage design with a classic outboard gear look. Although vintage in style, Hammer promises to deliver both vintage and modern sound, depending on your taste.
If we go through the controls from left to right, we start with the Input knob, which is similar to the iconic 1176 compressor. Increasing the input would be like lowering the threshold on another compressor, resulting in more compression.
Next up is the Ratio control, which provides a limiter function, followed by Attack and Release knobs offering very short settings. Opinions on the best Attack/Release settings for particular purposes are extremely varied. Some swear by a fast Attack, and others suggest a fast Attack takes the life out of the sound. I’ve said this in previous articles, but Bob Power is someone I love to listen to when it comes to this kind of stuff.
The remaining control knobs are Knee, Output, and Mix. The Knee control is crucial when you want much smoother compression, and the Mix knob allows for parallel compression.
Hammer has a few more useful features to mention, including CH-Link, Sidechain support, and some nice LED-style meters (Input, Output, and Gain Reduction) with selectable Peak/RMS metering.
Hammer is available to download for free, but you can set your own price if you feel like donating to the developer. I like the look and feel of Hammer; it will be worth keeping an eye on future Vidar Audio releases.
We’ve recently had a good run of free compressors, including Analog Obsession’s Comper and Compressure by Pelennor DSP. And if you’re looking for a more vintage vibe, check out our free BPB Dirty LA limiting amplifier plugin.
Hammer is available in AU, VST3, and AAX formats for macOS and Windows.