PC4K S-Type Channel vs Bus Compressor

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a Bus Compressor and a Channel Compressor? Do you know when to use one or the other? Do you need both? Why should you care? Read on to find out...

Channel Compression vs Bus Compression

There are two types of PC4K S-Type compressors - the Channel Compressor and the Bus Compressor. The two compressors are specifically designed to do two different jobs. The Channel Compressor is designed to work on single source material and the Bus Compressor is designed to work on a group of tracks or an entire mix. A channel compressor will often be used to level the volume or completely alter the tone of a particular track while a Bus Compressor will often be used to "glue" a group of tracks together into one cohesive sound.

Right tool for the job?

You might be wondering if you can use a single compressor on an entire project. The answer is yes - but you probably shouldn't. It's a bit like having a single screwdriver. Most of the time you can tighten the screw even if the screwdriver is too big or too small, but it's certainly not ideal and may not produce good results. Now imagine you have a whole set of screwdrivers - some phillips, some flat and some hex, all in different sizes. Now you have the right tool for just about any job that crops up.

Even if you don't have a large collection of precision screwdrivers you will probably want to at least have a flat-head and phillips-head screwdriver in both large and small sizes. The same applies to compressors. The PC4K S-Type Compressors are modeled after famous, British, large format consoles. The Bus Compressor is included in SONAR X3 Producer's ProChannel strip along with the PC76 U-Type Compressor. Both have their purpose. The PC76 U-Type has a fast attack and is great for a number of uses including creating larger than life drum sounds. The S-Type Bus Compressor excels at final mix and bus compression and provides proper dynamic control over groups of tracks and full range sources.

So why another channel compressor?

The PC76 U-Type Channel Compressor, and the PC4K S-Type Channel Compressor have rather different characteristics and handle audio information in distinctly different ways.

The PC76 U-Type employs classic FET design with very fast attack and an analog-style warmth. It's modeled after a vintage, rack-mount, compressor that uses transistors to emulate a valve sound and is generally used on single channel source material.

In contrast, the PC4K S-Type Channel Compressor is modeled after a built-in, VCA based, channel strip compressor. It is able to be pushed hard and yet remain transparent on a wide variety of sources.

The 4K console in SONAR

With the ProChannel, you can easily emulate that large-format, British, console sound right inside of SONAR's ProChannel. On your channel strips, insert the PC4K S-type Channel Compressor, the Expander / Gate, and set the ProChannel's EQ to "Vintage". For busses add the same components but use the PC4K S-Type Bus Compressor instead of the Channel Compressor. You'll get both tone and functionality inspired by the channel strips on those big, expensive, British mixers - the sound heard on so many legendary recordings - right inside of SONAR. And thanks to the ProChannel, you can change the routing and customize your channel strips in ways that you cannot do on the real thing.

Go beyond console emulation

Full ProChannel modularity let’s you start with a standard console model and do things you could not do in the hardware world. For example, you might use the PC4K S-Type Channel Compressor on a backing vocal track or a rhythm guitar but you might want a FET-style compressor on your bass guitar track. There’s no need to break out the patch cables. Just swap out the S-Type Channel Compressor for the PC76 U-Type and now you have a custom channel strip ideal for your bass track. Or you might want to change the signal flow of a particular channel or bus. Simply drag and drop the modules into the order you want or add new modules to dramatically alter the sound. Want a tube on the channel's input stage? A different style of British EQ? It's all possible. And don’t forget to save these setups so you can recall them anytime you want.

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