Borealis Audio releases BusComp 2, a freeware compressor plugin for Windows and macOS.
I own a legitimately shameful number of software compressors. I’ll be the first to admit I fall for the marketing jargon when they use adjectives like musical or punch.
With this in mind, Borealis Audio has decided to tempt me once more, and that’s after the stellar LA-2A from UAD that I’m sure most folks have snagged.
BusComp 2 is a combination of a compressor and an expander. Now, I typically wouldn’t run an expander on the stereo bus, but it seems useful enough for drums.
You can enable either processor independently. Something that does stick out is you’ll be stuck with the same attack, release, and knee controls for both processors if engaged.
I do like expanders on some sound sources, especially snares and toms. But I generally use an SSL strip ahead to set the gate/expander how I’d like, along with whatever compressor controls.
You’ve got an independent threshold and ratio for each dynamics processor. The knee is certainly flexible, going from hard to soft knee with ease.
BusComp 2 does have lookahead enabled, which is great for especially fast material. It does something similar to the API’s thrust circuit as well, with a mid-range filter and gain linked to the side chain option.
You can also filter the lows and highs quite readily so only the mid-range of a given signal is getting compressed or expanded.
BusComp 2 works fine on a variety of materials, the action itself doesn’t seem overly colored or saturated. It does have auto makeup gain, but during my time testing it I didn’t bother to leave it on for longer than a few seconds. I did try it on groups as well as individual tracks, and it does just fine.
Now, you can snag BusComp 2 for free over at the Borealis Audio website. It is a pay-what-you-want deal, so if you find yourself reaching for it often, it may be worth tossing a few bucks their way to show your appreciation.
Bus Comp 2 is available for Windows and Mac computers. Supported plugin formats are VST3, AU, and AAX. It is a Universal Binary for Mac users, but I don’t run Pro Tools, so your guess is as good as mine if it works with the Silicon AAX standard.
If you like compressors with plenty of character, check out our free BPB Dirty LA limiting amplifier plugin.
Download: Bus Comp 2 (Name your price/FREE)