How good are the included Cubase 6 Compressors? And Deesser?

Hi - I’m looking to start using side-chain inputs, and also Multiband compressors for the first time. I have some UAD-1 compressors, but none have those features, so I’m starting to look around to see what I might use.

Some questions re: the included Cubase 6 compressors:

  1. What is the difference between “Compressor” and “Vintage Compressor” in terms of quality? Is the “Vintage …” better sounding, and if so, why offer both?

  2. Of the three compressors in Cubase: “Compressor”, “Vintage Compressor”, and “Multiband Compressor” - do people consider them good quality? If not, is there any freeware out there that might be better (with side-chain)? I should say I also have an FMR RNC (Real Nice Compressor) as well, but would prefer to work ITB if the quality is there. Also, I am a little hesitant to set it up as an External FX given the problems described in this forum a while back regarding the “ping” time by Cubase.

  3. Finally, re: the Cubase De-esser - considered good, or should I “build my own” using the above, or should I use a freeware (like Spitfish by Digital Fishphones)?

Thanks -

They’re not as good as the latest generation of physically-modeled, high-end studio compressors (by Waves and Softube), that’s for sure. Also, a max ratio of 8 is not up for the task at wrangling modern electronic music styles. For example, you can’t do real parallel compression with 8:1 (20:1 is the default standard).

The FET compressor by Softube is my current fav for many things. It sounds so damn good. The Waves API 2500 is also amazing on a drum bus or for the master stereo bus – it can really handle a full-spectrum mix with transparency and without choking or messing up the bottom. It’s become part of my mastering chain.

Softube’s TLA-100A “leveling amplifier” (compressor) is another one of my favorites right now. I find a FET stacked on the TLA is a killer combo.

Compressors are THE most important tool for audio engineering, because they’re really EQ’s, too. They’re very quirky, and subtle and each one is different.

These newer compressors are doing more than compressing, too. They modeling subtle distortion, harmonics, etc. of real hardware. In this way, a compressor is almost as unique as a synth.

If you’re gonna spend your money, spend it on good compressors, first. You can’t have too many, as each one really does have unique characteristics. If you go to a large studio, you’ll find racks of compressors and engineers get very religious about them. It’s a whole subculture.

If you don’t have access to a large studio, spend some time on gearslutz and you’ll find threads spanning years, like 20 pages deep, talking about (and testing with oscilloscopes) one friggin’ compressor.

For example, even with my FET and TLA, I have a project using the demo version of the Tube-tech CL 1B and I’ve been trying to recreate the sound using other combos of compressors, etc. in an attempt to avoid having to buy it right now – so far, I’ve been unsuccessful. It just has a “sound” that is really hard to recreate.


The term “Better Sounding” is totally subjective!

I find the standard Cubase compressor fairly transparent (characterless) and use it a lot for simple sidechained level control when I don’t want to impart a sonic signature to the sound.

I would assume the “Vintage” compressor, being modeled on a “vintage” style, would impart some kind of sound to the signal!!! I never use it, having a selection of other modeled compressors that I like.


You can make complete and very good sounding song productions - only with the use of cubase´s plugins!

Steinberg´s Compressor and Channel EQ is nearly very close to Sony Oxford.
(I have found absolutely similar (?) settings! no kiddin´)

the rest is depending on sounddesigner´s “special fx”, music style (!), or use third party plugins with more “character”.
so i agree with:

The term “Better Sounding” is totally subjective

  • 1
    BTW: I recently mixed an entire music album (rock/gothic/electro) very successful only with the use of cubase´s stock plugins. (ok, incl. two or three Waves plugins)
    This was a wonderful testing situation for me. Conclusion: it works! :sunglasses:


How good?



from an electronic music forum, a user wrote:

I made an electronica mix using Waves plugins, but then I tried out the stock Cubase plugins with same settings. I replaced:
CLA compressors, Renessaince Axx and Renessaince Vox with Vintage Compressor or Compressor
L1, L3-LL and IK Classic Clipper with Limiter
Renessaince EQ and Q10 with Studio EQ
SPL Transient Designer with Envelope Shaper
Rverb with Roomworks
H-Delay with ModMachine
The stock cubase plugins I used (delays and sidechain compressors etc) I kept the same.
There was only 1 plugin I couldn’t find a replacement for, and it was Renessaince Bass (…)
But what my point is, is that you don’t need to buy a $1000 plugin package to make your mixes sound decent.
The stock plugins don’t sound 100% the same, but they sound close enough to sound good.

+ 1 , good statement, I think.

Thank you everyone, it sounds like in terms of compressors with sidechains, and the Multiband compressor, there’s no need to stray beyond Cubase’s offerings.

What about the other part of the post- the De-esser included in Cubase? Is it better than Fish Fillet’s Spitfish on lead vocals (freeware with what sounds like a good reputation, though I read one comment that said, "…but I wouldn’t use it on an exposed lead vocal)? And is the Cubase De-Esser better than a “build your own” one comprising of a compressor with a side-key EQ’d up at the offending frequency?

Try it and decide yourself…!?
Since as said - “better” is often very subjective…

@ Alexis: I don´t like De-essers (mostly), because they can destroy audio signal (better: try separate EQ-ing in relevant frequencies). But more important is a -> decent recording (good mic, room, pop protection, nice preamps, singer/rapper with experience, etc.)

doesn’t always mean you don’t get sibilance problems though!

I find modest use of a deesser to be effective, although there are differing types, making your own from a side chained compressor will give you a full band deesser ie when the gain reduction kicks in, it’ll duck the whole spectrum, some other deessers give you a choice of deessing types. when it starts to give a singer a lisp you know you’ve gone to far :laughing:

Better to use a Multiband Comp with a side-chain if going that approach, then? I don’t think Cubase’s Multiband Compressor has a side chain. Any good freeware out there? Or is the Cubase De-Esser considered pretty good, no need to go hunting for one?

Don’t know! I’ve always used the waves deesser. well, I used to use an outboard comp sidechained to some outboard EQ many, many moons ago :sunglasses:

@ Split…
:laughing: of course! I use Deessers, like Cubase´s or -> WAVES (!) :mrgreen: (the last ist the best for me in this department. But… I try to avoid!!!
this for more accurate explanation.

don’t get sibilance problems

  • 1 !!

Dont we all :stuck_out_tongue:

@Split: arrrgh…!!! :laughing: :mrgreen: :laughing:

:laughing: :mrgreen:

Oh, and you can use another feature for accurate Compressing and - of course - DE-ESSING (without a DeEsser!) :
it´s called “Volume Envelope Events” - select the pencil tool and then click on an event, an envelope point appears and you can change the volume curve, and the waveformview is automatically updated. Very nice and useful. So, why not…?

Dont know what happened here…DELETE

+1! People tend to want the one button and done route, even if they lose MOST of the CONTROL. If you ask me, regardless of how “great” a plugin may be, you only get out, what you put in. If you spend the time to manually adjust the volume envelope, theres no NEED to compress (with a compressor of course), like most religiously do. You can fine tune the fine tune if youre inclined to!

Of course as with a lot of things the best results come from a mix of various techniques…