You may not have heard of the SSL Bus Compressor - but I bet you've heard one..
Since their introduction; first as part of the SSL G-Series consoles, and later as a stand-alone rack unit, they helped define the sound of pop hits of the 90's and onwards (a handy stat: in 1996, over 80% of all Number One singles were recorded or mixed on SSL consoles).
It's a stereo compressor designed primarily to compress your final mix bus, drum bus, etc. - the distinctive sound seems to help 'glue' a track together and brings a sense of presence and excitement to a mix.
It's become such a studio staple that there are plenty of alternative versions made by other manufacturers in various guises, both in physical and software formats, but the original hardware units are still pretty sought-after and retain a healthy price.
The controls on an SSL Bus Compressor are relatively simple but deceptively powerful - and here, the software versions can have a distinct advantage in that you can create or use Presets for instant recall of settings; something you can't do on an original SSL Bus Compressor.
So what if there was a way to combine a hardware unit, with the ease of use and recallability of a plugin?
Well, turns out you can - enter the Bettermaker Bus Compressor.
It's a 1U harware compressor, with all of the parameters available via a plugin interface - neat idea, yes - but what does it sound like? Does it stack up?
Hybrid studio owner Steve Evans put it through its paces - and was impressed.
Here's what he found.