Kiive Audio Releases Complexx (40% OFF Intro Sale + WINNER ANNOUNCED)


Kiive Audio’s Complexx is a compressor, limiter, and expander designed to tighten up any source, liven up the mix bus and add vintage warmth. Read more about Complexx below and enter our giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of the plugin.

The plugin delivers the versatility of its hardware counterpart while also delivering the convenience of modern digital features. 

Complexx is currently available from the Kiive Audio product page for $89, which is 40% off the list price of $149.

Clutch and High on Fire producer Alberto De Icaza said “Complexx allows compression and expansion simultaneously with an insane amount of detail and tons of character.  It is a great tool to shape tracks with heavy transients and make them feel dangerous!””

The comp can handle whatever you want to throw at it, be it individual tracks or gluing a mix bus. 

In addition to offering a limiter, compressor, and expander, Complexx has side-chain filters, with the whole package offering custom dynamic control. 

Let’s dig into some of the main applications for the plugin.

Complexx is right at home on your mix bus, with its soft-knee comp gluing tracks together seamlessly while retaining crisp transients. 

The mix knob on the top bar also enables you to dial in parallel processing. 

The plugin is also a powerhouse on the drum bus, offering anything from slamming room mics to refining your drum bus. The attack and release options offer plenty of opportunities to add punch and liveliness to your drums. 

Complexx is also a natural choice for polishing up instrumental parts, adding depth and shine while retaining dynamics and detail. 

Kiive Audio has not forgotten about vocals either, as the comp is right at home at delivering nuanced compression for vocals, while the expander can focus the signal to deliver clarity and upfront vocals. 

Joji and Flume producer had plenty of warm words about Complexx, saying that “the plugin instantly made it to my mix bus. The compressor and expander are the perfect combination, allowing me to glue my mix together without sacrificing my transients and punch.”

Complexx offers precise control options, with 13 controls on each channel, as well as linkable stereo input and output levels.  This level of control is part of the reason why the plugin is so versatile and can tackle any source. 

The modern quality-of-life improvements mentioned earlier include gain and stereo linking, new width and THD options, as well as the mix knob. 

Check out the deal: Complexx (Currently 40% off – $89)

The Giveaway

Kiive Audio kindly provided a free copy of Complexx for one lucky BPB reader.

To enter the giveaway, answer the following question in the comments section below: Do you think hardware compressors have any advantage over compressor plugins?

We will pick a random comment and announce the lucky winner on Black Friday.

Good luck, and thank you for reading BPB! :)

UPDATE: The winner is Nakura. Congratulations (please check your email to claim the prize)!


Share this article. ♥️

About Author

Avatar photo

Steve is a musician and journalist who hails from Melbourne, Australia. He learned everything he knows about production from Google and used that vast knowledge to create a series of records you definitely haven’t heard of.


  1. Laurence Bellinger


    I personally do not know but I’ve heard trusted online sources say one or the other…

    If I had the money, I’d love to get me some hardware and witness for myself

    • There’s a nostalgia attached to them but I think very few people can actually tell the difference between hardware and some of the top emulations

        • Yes. Plugins are emulation of hardware. Hardware existed first. Plugins are an economical alternative to those amazing analog equipment but they are not the hardware.

        • some have, some don’t… since the emulsions get better and better, I wonder if we reach the state of hardware not having any advantages anymore…

      • Thomas Sofianopoulos


        Never used hardware other than my audio interface who has great converters I think plugins that emulates hardware are very close Kiive audio has awesome plugins I have them all except from Complex thank you for the giveaway good luck to everyone.

    • Not sonically.
      They are less convenient to use, but they don’t have issues like aliasing and can be used with both hands at the same time. IMHO hardware is for having fun, getting that mojo, but plugins are faster to operate and more convenient.

    • It all depends on your workflow. If your gear is slways in your studio and you got the time to print tracks, sure, hardware has advantages. But if you have to work fast or you travel a lot, plugins are miraclous. And the plugins sound really good nowadays. Got some Kiive stuff already and its top notch.

    • Oh yeah, definitely! My friend has a studio with some hardware and it responds with a vibe more than his plugins but accumulatively (many plugins), I can’t hear the difference too much.

    • Thomas Sofianopoulos


      Never used hardware other than my audio interface who has great converters I think plugins that emulates hardware are very close Kiive audio has awesome plugins I have them all except from Complex thank you for the giveaway good luck to everyone.

    • Hardware compressor is still very good to show it to your friends just to hear: Wow, nice! ” Other than that, don’t see any advantage in music production, especially electronic. Software is so good these days. But that is in my humble opinion.

    • There’s a nostalgia attached to them but I think very few people can actually tell the difference between hardware and some of the top emulations

    • I am prodcing all in the box, didn’t have the chance to compare hardware and digital live yet… Digital plug-ins are so high-quality these days, I don’t feel like I should ever spend that much on the hardware.
      That said, as an electrical engineer, I simply have a weakness to any high quality hardware, so maybe one day… There’s nothing more fun than twisting knobs! :D

  2. The truth is if I’ll play the sound processed with hardware and the emulation of that hardware, there’s no one who can detect the right answer.

  3. Hardware compressors are more expensive and have more of a physical footprint. The only advantage is if a hardware compressor has no reasonable software emulation equivalent.

  4. I’ve never had the chance to use a hardware compressor. I think for me the only advantage of the hard ware unit would be that I’m a very hands on learner. Other than that I think emulations of hardware are amazing!

  5. Hi!
    In my opinion, software compressors offer us comparable quality to hardware compressors. There are undoubtedly differences, but it doesn’t seem to me that some offer much better performance than the others. A good sound engineer can achieve excellent results even with your Daw’s native plugins. A bad technician will sound bad no matter how good the tools he has at his disposal.

  6. Synthie Lauper


    Yes, you can put it in the corner and look at it, it has nice knobs and it’s there, when you turn off your computer.

  7. I’ve used my DBX 160x compressor on tracking vocals, and there’s just something about hardware units that give it a more natural sense. That said, software compressors are far superior when it comes to accuracy, and the ability to recall settings, saves so much time. Thanks!

  8. The big advantage HW has over SW is the tactile feeling of actual knobs. And maybe 1-2% extra with regards to sound over the SW emulations. But, gee, given the price difference and obvious SW benefits, why not do it in the box?

    But surely, if I’d own or had a studio, I’d definitely would want to have some HW comp(s) in it.

  9. Hardware typically has a bit more depth & warmth, but does also have the tactile advantage, which makes them quicker to dial in as well.

  10. In the analog domain we can easily create harmonic content without having to worry about the Nyquist frequency, it’s always thrilling to hit hard on the Fatso for example. That said, some VSTs sound much better than some hardware compressors. It all depends on the algorithm used I guess.

  11. Hardware compressors have the advantage of easily being inserted into a hardware signal path! If you have a basic audio interface it is still a nuisance to integrate hardware into a hybrid setup. If you play an instrument outside of your computer, a hardware compressor is extremely relevant.

    • Posiblemente exista diferencias sonicas que sólo expertos pueden detectar, pero el consumidor sólo quiere sentirse bien con lo que escucha, si la obra es buena, a quien le importa si usaron hardware o pluguins

  12. I think that hardware compressors really only top software ones when you are working with other hardware. Software is cheaper, and can sound very similar to the real thing. However, hardware will be the only way to get the 100% original sound if you are going for a classic one.

  13. Hardware has the advantages of being independent. One no longer has to worry that their hardware compressor won’t work as a result of an OS update. Additionally, their tactile quality and lack of GUI forces people to use their ears instead of looking at plugin graphics, which trains people to mix with more fidelity to the sound.

  14. Probably. I’m sure the conversion between digital and analogue has some effect on the quality of the sound. What that effect is and if it’s worth the cost would need to be determined by a professional, or more preferably, listeners. Keeping the attention of the listener through an entire track is everything, and the fine line with hardware to digital is something I don’t believe most listeners will notice.

  15. I feel like hardware compressors have the small advantage of being more tactile and easier to manipulate. For example with a 1176 I can twist input and output gain at the same time to stay close to unity while increasing compression but if I were to use a software compressor itd be much harder to do the same due to being limited by the mouse

  16. I think there is an element to hardware that makes one’s connection to the recording stronger. Let’s face it- we’d all rather use the real thing if the option was available. Even if sonically there isn’t a distinguishable distance, the experience of using real gear is very different

  17. Not at all. It’s totally possible to achieve excelent performance with a plugin, especially if it’s a plugin like Kiive Complexx!

  18. hardware sound better, but the average listener can not tell the difference. So, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter.

  19. Software is better for being easy to manipulate, and for the recalls and the presets, but hardware is instant and if you master your gear you get results immediately. I prefer software, but I have 2 or 3 hardware compressors …

  20. Personalmente creo que si hay una pequeña diferencia en un compresor Harware y un complemento pero como la tecnología avanza y muy rápido muy pronto no se notará la diferencia entre los dos

  21. Hardware currently an advantage when it come to saturation and harmonics. In fairness, there are pros and cons to both. The ease of use, price and availability of plugins is really tough to beat.

  22. What I heard on the Internet that with hardware compressors, you automatically have that authentic hardware sound. That warm and vintage sound you know. But i think with software, you can get very near and for the average music listener it doesn’t make any difference

  23. No, I think there is almost zero need for hardware these days. One of the only advantages to hardware is physical controls are nice.

  24. I would imagine there are some benefits. For some, it may even come down to a mindset! For most people, plugins are going to be far more accessible and practical. I’m glad we live in an age where they are so realistic in sound and appearance!

  25. Yes, when emulating hardware comps pushed very hard into distortion, it can be hard to model the complexities in software

    • I don’t think so.
      Today, if we are honests, it’s really difficult to differenciate software from hardware.
      Personnally I’m a 100% software guy !

  26. The advantages of hardware is that it forces you to use your ears more than your eyes. Soundwise, hardware still has the edge but many plugins now have expanded on the original hardware, adding additional functionality. Software compressors don’t come with a maintenance cost and have the advantage of fixing issues with an update. Physical hardware will always be better, ever if it doesn’t sound better.

  27. They do! They can heat your room :)
    Having a touchable device is of course pleasant, but Wonderful things can of course be done without.

  28. 100%. More life, character, color, and analogue weight compared to it’s software emulations. Different settings can get you a different combination of all of these. Also, each piece of hardware is unique in it’s own way, and has distinct characteristics to shine that no plugin can ever truly emulate, especially when given time to age (which is why old hardware is so expensive)

  29. Vaclav Michalcik


    I think it depends on a specific hardware-plugin, but generally speaking many hardwares have a bit more depth and “dirt”, but on the other hand, many plugins have more options which hardware dont provide. I use mostly vst plugins in my home studio.

  30. Certain hardware still has that certain air about it that plugins either can’t mimic, or at least, can’t quite mimic on a unique-per-the-source basis… not yet, anyway.

  31. Do you think hardware compressors have any advantage over compressor plugins?

    I’m not sure if this is the right question anymore. Many professionals have admitted that plugins are right on the edge of taking over and making analog hardware a thing of the past. A good example of this is the LA-2A or the Fairchild compressor emulations. There’s already less of an appeal to the young crowd. Most analog gear sucks at portability or it’s too expensive to take out of the studio. For the new generation, it’s not really practical. So if we assume more and more people are mixing in the box, whatever the advantage is will soon be obsolete.

    On the other hand, I’d love to get my hands on an OG Fairchild.

  32. Though both types of compressors have their advantages, I tend to think that hardware compressors have an easier time dealing with transients in a way that gets you to the preferred shape faster and easier than their plugin counterparts.

  33. In the realm of audio production, where artistry meets technology, the debate between hardware compressors and their digital counterparts, the compressor plugins, is akin to comparing the timeless elegance of handwritten letters to the swift convenience of emails.

    Hardware compressors, with their tactile knobs and unique circuitry, impart a distinct character and warmth to the sound, a subtle coloration often revered. They stand as testaments to the analog era, offering an irreplaceable hands-on experience that can inspire and influence the creative process.

    Meanwhile, compressor plugins embody the marvel of the digital age—flexible, precise, and endlessly versatile. They offer the convenience of in-the-box mixing, with an array of options at one’s fingertips, fostering an environment where creativity is only limited by one’s imagination. Furthermore, the ability to save presets and recall settings instantaneously is a boon in the fast-paced workflow of modern music production.

    Both stand as two sides of the same coin, each with its unique charm and advantages, coexisting in the diverse landscape of sound engineering, where the choice often hinges on the artist’s preference, the demands of the project, and the elusive pursuit of that perfect sound.

  34. OF COURSE! It’s obvious – you can touch it, hear it’s sounds under your touch, smell it, taste it, look at it from many angles, show it to someone, let someone touch-hear,smell,taste it. You can drive it in your car, hug it, punch it, sell it, burn it, paint it, feed it with strawberry shake, make love with it, and so much more i’ll stop here, cuz there’s no end.
    Obvious advantages.

  35. Do you think hardware compressors have any advantage over compressor plugins?

    the lone advantage I can see is hardware compressor is about the touching the feeling of the knobs relative to the the sound… more accurate experience I think but somewhat less precise…you can’t enter figures.

  36. For me ,nowadays, rare is the hardware machine/compressor ( except very phew and rare ones ) that is a truly “gain” for your workflow. Sound wise i think that there are software emulations that are truly good.
    Warmy EP1A is a very good example.
    Not to mention recallability.

  37. When it comes to audio processing, the debate between hardware compressors and compressor plugins has been ongoing for quite some time. Both options have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between them often depends on the specific needs and preferences of the user. In this comprehensive analysis, I will explore the advantages of hardware compressors over compressor plugins.

  38. I see this Hardware by a friend but never try them .
    Never used this hardware before. Yesssss……Lets try this Plugin ….:-)

  39. Yes… for the manufacturers, who can charge thousands of dollars for the hardware, whereas they have to “give away” the software for (at most) $100ish during the Black Friday rush.

    Whether there is an advantage for the user, I haven’t a clue, since I have never owned a hardware compressor. Every YouTube video I’ve ever watched, though, has the emulations getting so close to the hardware that I’m not sure any difference would be worth the thousands-of-dollars price differential.

    Also, hardware is subject to wear-and-tear, whereas software knobs don’t (usually) wear out.

  40. I Think ITB mixing has some advantajes over hardware units, recall, functionality and costs are some of the benefits of software.

  41. I said it before BPB do not choose randomly, instead pick an interesting reply that has valuable insights.
    It will make your giveaways increase in value for brands as they can study consumer views, market research.
    It will encourage users to put efforts into replies.

    Now as to the question indeed hardware compressors have that je ne sais quoi in terms of warmth, perhaps some saturation added to the signal. But honestly these days it’s so easy to crank up a chain of good plugins.
    The main bits of hardware I stick to are microphones and preamps and of course speakers and headphones.
    I think we’re still to see more controllers though especially new kinds of guitar controllers this market is still underdeveloped.

  42. I dont have the hardware experience. But I suposse touching knobs, quality of materials, and use whitout a PC or Laptop could be advantages.

  43. Nowadays, it is difficult to tell the difference in sound quality between hardware and software. However, the use of hardware clearly increases the motivation of the creators themselves.

  44. I think they may have an advantage if the user using the compressor finds it benefits their workflow and creativity and helps them get the job done efficiently.

  45. Do you think hardware compressors have any advantage over compressor plugins?

    As a bedroom producer, I have to say software has a slight advantage. Simply because it’s way cheaper and more accessible with similar results. The common ear can’t tell the difference in most cases.

    But I must say that older music produced with only hardware has an undeniably sweet sound to it.

  46. It depends on the plugin and hardware, imho. Some older code will crap out or will not provide as much detail, but as processing power improves, the distinction between the two will fade. Add the fact that some hardware won’t be cloned and digital can be so much more flexible… I will say I’m happy to have a colorful (and clean) collection of compressors~

  47. Looks and sounds very good!
    And for the question , I think that hardware compressors have both advantage and disadvantage compared to compressor plugins.

  48. Yes, definitely. Still most of hardware sounds little better than their emulations.
    It is easier to operate with physical knobs.
    Best of all, it is independent of CPU or OS overload or issues and doesn’t put any additional load on the CPU, which is great when recording.

  49. Not an advantage, but a different quality.
    Some people prefer the quality that they get from hardware, some prefer software. And ideally, without knowing about the personal opinion of other users, nor being able to see which gives which result, you’d be able to pick which fits more your mixing style. Personally I can’t afford hardware currently, but have used emulations. I prefer software, but specifically the more visual plugins, that’s the best feature some of the software plugins have in my opinion.

  50. For me, no. I believe most people cannot tell the difference between hardware and software compressors when they listen to music, so in this case, not many people could capture the subtle differences so hardware compressors would not be superior to plugins.

  51. Never had the opportunity to try the hardware. I wonder how this holds up against David Bendeth +10 compressor by Boz digital. Digital vs Digital? Does it even matter…. I think I am going to get the Complex anyways.

  52. Well, I think if the components are coded like an actual circuit it would be on with the hardware sound wise, and not everyone has access to hardware / has the space for the hardware, The hardware only provides a placebo of better sound in my opinion.

  53. Hardware compressors have some advantages over software including natural variations caused by analog circuitry and something tubes, as well as no aliasing caused by harmonics folding back when they reach the Nyquist frequency (which can happen in plugins that don’t oversample).

    Plenty of advantages to plugin compressors too tho!

  54. I’ve used hardware compressors often in the past & there is an authenticity that is hard to match digitally. But because I produce on the go & need versatility, I mostly use digital these days.

  55. It’s a different feeling or approach. Above all, it is a different type of operation. Turn buttons, change without latency and no aliasing. It’s different to set up a 100 watt fully tube amplifier in the room than to operate the buttons of a plugin with a mouse. The feel is consistent with other analog hardware. When it comes to digital compressors, people are often more reserved and careful when setting them. Possibly due to the often comprehensive visual displays. Analogue is different, but analogue is not always better. It always depends on the skills and abilities of the person operating it.

  56. Yes, I think so.
    Firstly, you can control two knobs simultaneously when you use hardware.
    Secondly, you don’t get any aliasing noise from hardware.

  57. Only if you have UA audio interface, HW is better for tracking. Soft is easier to use when mixing (recall,…) and very good now.

  58. Unfortunately, even a medium priced compressor has advantage in terms of sound, dynamics, and how easily you can dial up a good setting, Usually more than one setting..

  59. Hardware or plugins? Today there are many plugins that easily achieves the quality of yesterdays top end hardware.
    What hardware has in advantage is that it is more durable than software. An update of the system software of your PC or a new Pc does’nt influence the hardware. And hardware is still worth something if you want get rid of it. (If taken good care for it in the years of use)
    on the other hand plugins are mostly much more affordable than hardware. Also no need of space, racks, cables, sockets etc.
    And than you have the matter of taste, purism, if you are for ages in the business or just starting and so on…..

  60. I think the hardware is clearly better because it is real material… the digital is good, around 70% in relation to the hardware, but I think the real thing will never arrive!

  61. Yes, hardware comps can still sound richer with more depth and better saturation etc. due to quality circuits, parts etc.
    But the gap is closing with the advancement of modern emulation capabilities.

  62. With hardware you can tweak two knobs at the same time, so… it is a advantage hahaha… seriously… hardware have it’s strengths but you need lot of space to mount racks, etc… the plugins gives you convenience, portability and you can have compressors with high quality today…

  63. Bruno de Souza Lino


    With the advent of more powerful computers and oversampling, the whole hardware being superior is replaced with the disavantages:

    – You’re limited by the amount of physical units you own. With a plugin, you can have as many as you want per channel.
    – Operational costs of many units are higher due to components like large format transformers and tubes.
    – The knobs on the unit don’t give you exact settings because of potentiometer tolerances.
    – Recalling presets on the units is a manual linear process. If you need to tweak setting for a take, you have to either find a way of patching it externally and dealing with latency and other issues and there’s no “bouncing.” You have to record the ouput for the amount of time you need the effect.
    – Physical units add load to the signal even in bypass. That can result in some unintended effects depending on how many of them are in your path like noise and so on.

  64. I’ve never had the chance to try a hardware one, so maybe my opinion would be different, but I don’t think there’s enough of a difference now to make it worth getting one, and plugins will just get better.

  65. We haven’t reached the point that the quality of emulations are equal to their hardware counterparts… but plugin quality evolves tremendously…I like plugins for for being locally independent :)

  66. the tactile experience of hardware is hard to beat, even with daw controllers… and there’s yet some analog magic plugins are missing . ..

  67. Andrew Lark III


    Analog compressor are what most digital emulations want to be. There is an uncontrollably natural beauty from putting a sound through a compressor whether it’s compressing or not. Now I do believe the more we study and as technology advances there will soon be no difference between analog compressors and digital ones. In fact I hope this inspires and creativity for all effects.

  68. Of course, hardware compressors and others have advantages over plug-ins, primarily in the fact that they do not take up the resources of your computer. Also the aesthetic and tactile feeling of a real device. If I had the opportunity, I would buy it)

  69. Hardware vs software can be quite equal given the correct sampling and modeling code. Some are not equal but many are these days.

  70. Thanks Steve, BPB & Kiive Audio for the opportunity

    Imo… the precious metals in some hardware compressors are an advantage
    Sound wise, digital emulation is so close. Blind test comes to mind 😊

  71. I don’t think it has any advantage, except for the non-linear characteristics of the electronic components, unique to each unit, the software is more versatile.

Leave A Reply