Let me start out by saying I am big fan of Softube’s Summit TLA-100A compressor; almost as much as I am a fan of Dave Hill’s original design for Summit Audio. Just as the original was a lot like the old stand-by Teletronix LA-2A with a little extra flexibility, Softube’s emulation does a good job of retaining the character of the Summit while adding a few new “modern” features.
These added features include an adjustable high-pass filter, assignable either to the audio path or strictly to the detection circuit (great for drum busses or overall mix compression), adjustable saturation/distortion characteristics, and a parallel compression adjustment, allowing you to mix the compressed and uncompressed signals right within the unit (perfect for making that vocals and solo instruments punch through a mix while retaining some of the original dynamics).
My love for this compressor is why I was very excited to see this article arrive in my mailbox. Softube’s Mattias Danielsson covers the basic controls of a compressor, encourages those learning the sound and character of their compressor’s various settings not to be afraid to start by overdoing it, and provides a valuable lesson on the tool’s ability to decrease or exaggerate dynamics of an instrument in the mix (through manipulation of what Bob Katz calls macro and micro-dynamics in his brilliant book, Mastering Audio).
Be sure to follow the link at the end of the article for another fantastic and more in-depth look at the topic, by Minneapolis’ old friend, producer and engineer Chuck Zwicky.