Popping anything on the master channel can be a precarious rope to walk. While a regular part of the process, you’ve got to be very careful when you are manipulating the entirety of your sonic content. Any minor misstep can put to shame hours, days, weeks, or even months of hard work. You’ve got to be equipped with the right tools to get the job done well; And with that, I present SoundSpot’s Cyclone Mastering Compressor.
As of late, I’ve been laying off the single band compression on my master track. I might keep one there to cut off the peaks of the very loudest transients, but I have preferred to keep most of the dynamic shaping on a multi-band compressor. The Cyclone Mastering Compressor is getting me to shift that thinking.
Available for Mac and PC in AU/VST/VST3/AAX formats
While the Cyclone Compressor is labelled as a mastering compressor, it fits just as well as a buss compressor. There’s no reason not to use the software on individual tracks either, though simpler or more colored software will often suffice. (Though that may just be my personal illusion of how nice the GUI looks. )
The Cyclone Mastering Compressor has a warm and smooth sound to it, With saturation increasingly buttering over the track in hand with the amount of gain reduction being applied. Unlike many hardware modelling software compressors, all parameters are fully adjustable, as opposed to preset ratios and attack/release times. A soft knee option is included for the smoothing of transient control. While the compressor loads in stereo linked by default, the L/R channels can be treated separately.
By clicking the label marked “stereo” by default, you can get into the Mid/Side processing feature in the Cyclone Compressor. This plugin can process the correlating audio information from the L/R channels separately from the stereo information. This function is one of the reasons the Cyclone sits so well on a master channel; the separate treatment of the mono and stereo information lends well to multiple instruments in a completed mix.
Visually, the cyclone holds up to some of the prettier Waves plugins. The teal color scheme is an odd, yet satisfying choice. A singular tube image at the top takes on an amber glow in sync with the amount of saturation being applied. While nothing too over the top as far as animation, you can tell some care was put into the look and usability of the interface.
As for CPU usage, the Cyclone is definitely on the lighter side. On an older Toshiba Satellite (i3/4g Ram), the Cyclone eats up about 1% of my max CPU load. This is with an outdated laptop, any half decent recording rig will be able to load this onto every channel without a hiccup, if desired.
While the differences in results are minute between other plugins of the same class, if you haven’t filled the slot yet in your software arsenal, this will be a worthy tool for the job. The bit of color that the Cyclone does have is pleasant to the ear, and the functionality is well further than many other compressors like it. You can evaluate for yourself, with the free 14 day trial.
Currently 47.50 on PluginBoutique, but consider messaging the company. They are quite happy to strike a deal with a paying customer.
Here is a rough mix of a free multitrack available out there on the web. The first example is without any compression on the master buss. The second example has the Cyclone Mastering Compressor smoothing out about 2 db off the top, with makeup gain to match. Check it out, and then get your hands dirty with the Cyclone on your own mix.
Stems from Cambridge-MT : Szymon Skiba- ‘Some Trashy Thrash, I Guess’
A big thank you to SoundSpot for giving me an NFR license, allowing me to evaluate the software.