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SSL Compressor Plugins

The SSL compressor is a classic piece of audio hardware used on countless hit records, known for its ability to add punch, clarity, and glue to a mix. In recent years, several software emulations of the SSL compressor have been released, offering a more affordable and convenient way to get the classic SSL sound. SSL Compressor Plugins are no less than a game changer in Audio Production.

In this blog post, we will look at some of the best SSL compressor plugins available. We will discuss their features, sound, and pricing, so you can decide which is right for you.

What is The Purpose of an SSL Compressor Plugin

The goal of SSL compressor plugins is to provide the ease and flexibility of software-based processing within a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) while recreating the acoustic characteristics and control parameters of the original SSL hardware compressors to shape the dynamic range of audio signals, control peaks, and add subtle or aggressive compression to obtain a desired sound. These plugins are often employed during the mixing and mastering processes.

The traditional SSL bus compressor, recognized for its capacity to bind a mix together and offer a cohesive, polished sound, is frequently included in SSL compressor plugins.

Top SSL Compressor Plugins

While there are innumerable options for Compressor plugins, from our experience, the best SSL compressor plugin will offer you a faithful emulation of the original hardware and several modern features that make them even more versatile. From our firsthand experience, the names mentioned below are some of the best SSL Compressor plugins available in the market.

Waves SSL G-Master Buss Compressor

The Waves SSL G-Master Buss Compressor is one of the most popular SSL compressor plugins provided by Waves Audio. It is meant to be an exact reproduction of the bus compressor on the iconic SSL 4000 G console, which has been widely utilized in pro studios for decades in terms of sound and functionality.

Key features of the Waves SSL G-Master Buss Compressor

Authentic SSL Sound

The plugin aims to accurately mimic the transparent and melodious compression of the original SSL bus compressor's sound.

Classic Controls

It offers well-known SSL hardware controls, such as threshold, ratio, attack, release, and makeup gain. You can use these parameters to precisely adjust the compression settings to meet your desired sound and dynamics management needs.

Mix Control

A Mix knob, often known as a wet/dry control, is a plugin feature that enables you to combine compressed and uncompressed inputs. Because of this, changing how much compression is applied to the audio signal is flexible.

Sidechain Filtering

You can control the frequency response of the sidechain input signal using the sidechain filter feature of the SSL G-Master Buss Compressor. This function helps to provide compression effects that are more specialized and concentrated.

Mono and Stereo Operation

The plugin is adaptable for mixing and mastering situations because it can be used on mono and stereo tracks.

The Waves SSL G-Master Buss Compressor is well known for mixing harmony, punch, and control while producing a polished and professional sound.


Universal Audio SSL G Series Bus Compressor

The Universal Audio SSL G Series Bus Compressor authentically replicates the legendary SSL G Series bus compressor, recognized for its capacity to shape dynamics and bind mixes. It is available exclusively for use with Universal Audio's UAD platform, which requires compatible UAD hardware. This is the same company that sells the popular 1176 audio compressor.

Key features of the Universal Audio SSL G Series Bus Compressor

Authentic Emulation

The plugin is designed to recreate the sound and behavior of the original SSL G Series hardware compressor. The SSL G Series is a standard in professional studios because it captures unique analog traits and attributes.

Bus Compression Power

The SSL G Series Bus Compressor, which offers fine control over the dynamics of the full mix or subgroups, is designed exclusively for bus compression. Bringing out the mix's details and taming the peaks to make a unified and polished sound.

Classic SSL Controls

The hardware counterpart's familiar controls, including threshold, ratio, attack, release, and makeup gain, are also in the plugin. These variables enable the compression properties to be tailored and the product being processed.

Variable-mu Characteristics

The "variable-mu" architecture of the SSL G Series is renowned for producing a musical and smooth compression effect. Users can achieve the unique SSL sound using the plugin, which captures this special compression curve and flexibility.

Sidechain Filtering

A sidechain filtering element of the SSL G Series Bus Compressor plugin allows users to control the frequency response of the sidechain input. This allows for more precise and controlled compression when specific frequency ranges need to be emphasized or attenuated.

The Universal Audio SSL G Series Bus Compressor plugin is well-known for accurately recreating the iconic SSL sound and providing dynamics control. The acclaimed SSL G Series bus compression can be used in engineers' and producers' digital mixing and mastering workflows.


SSL Native Bus Compressor

Solid State Logic (SSL) created the SSL Native Bus Compressor. This software plugin makes the popular SSL bus compression available in a user-friendly software format on your digital audio workstation (DAW). It is a member of the SSL Native plugin series, which aims to imitate the appearance and functionality of SSL's hardware processors.

Key features of the SSL Native Bus Compressor

Authentic SSL Sound

The SSL Native Bus Compressor plugin meticulously imitates the original SSL hardware bus compressor's sound and functionality. It reproduces the traditional SSL sound, renowned for its punch, transparency, and capacity to "glue" a mix together.

Bus Compression and More

The SSL Native Bus Compressor can be used on individual tracks and subgroups even though it was initially created for bus compression. It provides flexible dynamics control that can modify the audio signal's dynamic range and character.

Classic SSL Controls

The plugin includes controls like threshold, ratio, attack, release, and makeup gain typically found on SSL hardware. You can use these settings to precisely alter the compression parameters to get the sound and dynamics control you want.

Mix Control

You can mix the compressed and uncompressed signals using the SSL Native Bus Compressor's Mix knob (wet/dry control). This allows you to apply the audio signal with the chosen compression level.

Mono and Stereo Operation

The plugin is appropriate for mixing and mastering circumstances because it may be applied to mono and stereo tracks or buses. It can be used on individual tracks for fine control or on the master bus to achieve overall mix compression.

Engineers and producers can access the iconic SSL bus compression sound within your DAW using the SSL Native Bus Compressor plugin. It offers flexibility and control over dynamics for producing expert mixes and masters by fusing the ease of software processing with the acclaimed SSL sound.


Brainworx bx_townhouse Buss Compressor

Bx_townhouse by Brainworx bus Compressor was created to mimic the dynamics portion of the SSL 4000 G console, renowned for its strong and flexible bus compression capabilities. The bx_townhouse Buss Compressor seeks to mimic the sound and behavior of the original SSL hardware.

Key features of the Brainworx bx_townhouse Buss Compressor

SSL-inspired Compression

The SSL 4000 G console dynamics section, renowned for its capacity to provide punch, glue, and character to mixes, inspired the plugin. It aims to mimic the SSL sound and behaviors, providing a comparable aural experience.

Sidechain Filtering

The plugin has a sidechain filter component that lets you control the sidechain input signal's frequency response. When specific frequency bands need to be highlighted or suppressed, this enables more precise and focused compression effects.

THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) Control

With the adjustable THD control provided by the bx_townhouse Buss Compressor, you may give your audio signal harmonics and saturation in the analog style. This function can improve the warmth and personality of your mix or certain recordings.

Wet/Dry Mix Control

The plugin's wet/dry mix knob lets you combine the compressed and uncompressed signals. You now have more freedom to select the ideal ratio and compression intensity for your audio file.

Bx_townhouse by Brainworx, a strong tool for shaping and enhancing mixes, the Buss Compressor plugin is praised for its capacity to give SSL-inspired sound and dynamics control. Sidechain filtering and THD control are two further features that make it possible to create more unique and adaptable compression effects.


Native Instruments Solid Bus Comp

A software plugin called the Native Instruments Solid Bus Comp is intended to imitate the features of an old-school SSL-style bus compressor. Native Instruments created it as a part of their Solid line of mixing and mastering plugins, which aims to give producers high-quality audio processing options.

Key features of the Native Instruments Solid Bus Comp

Transparent and Versatile Dynamics Control

Threshold, ratio, attack, release, and makeup gain are just a few of the compression settings the plugin may precisely control. This enables you to control the dynamics of your mix or certain tracks precisely.

Sidechain Filtering

You may control the frequency response of the sidechain input signal using the sidechain filter element of the Solid Bus Comp. This can help concentrate the compression effect on particular instruments or frequency bands.

Mix Control

You can combine the compressed and uncompressed signals using the plugin's Mix knob (wet/dry control). Due to this flexibility, the necessary level of compression can be achieved while maintaining the dynamics of the original audio content.

Saturation and Character

A drive knob on the Solid Bus Comp adds harmonics and saturation in the analog style to the audio signal. This can improve the sonic quality of your mix by adding warmth, color, and character.

The Solid Bus Comp plugin by Native Instruments is renowned for its transparent compression and its capacity to give mixes punch and glue. It offers users a flexible tool for managing dynamics on buses, subgroups, or even single tracks, along with further sound-improving tools like sidechain filtering and saturation.


How to Find The Right SSL Compressor Plugin

While there is no right or wrong to selecting an SSL Compressor plugin because each plugin has something to itself for an individual but, if you are confused, this guide mentions unique features, sonic characteristics, and compatibility considerations for you to consider when making your decision, helping you find the perfect fit for your workflow.

Compatibility with your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

The first step should always be to ensure compatibility with your DAW. Check if the plugin is available in the format supported by your DAW, such as VST, AU, or AAX.

You can find this information in detail on the developer’s website. So make sure to double-check before making a purchase.

Desired Sonic Characteristics

SSL compressors have a distinctive sound known for their transparency, punch, and musicality. But, you need to remember that different plugins may have subtle variations in their sonic characteristics.

While one would aim for a faithful emulation of specific SSL hardware models, others offer SSL-inspired compression with added flexibility. See what kind of music you want to create before getting the plugin.

User Interface and Workflow

A well-designed user interface will greatly increase your productivity and ease of use. So make sure to check out the SSL compressor plugins with an intuitive interface allowing you to control efficiently and adjust parameters.

Budget Considerations

Last but not least. You should always keep the money you can afford to spend on an SSL Compressor plugin, as Plugin prices can vary significantly, so it's crucial to determine your budget range before starting your search.

Some plugins offer more affordable options without compromising sound quality and features, while others may come with a higher price tag due to their advanced emulation accuracy or additional functionalities.


In conclusion, remember the best SSL compressor plugin is subjective and varies based on individual preferences and requirements. Take your time to demo different options, experiment with their features, and choose the one that resonates with your style, ultimately elevating your audio production to new heights.

While we have mentioned some of the best SSL Compressor Plugins in the market, selecting the right SSL compressor plugin for your audio production will require careful consideration of several factors through which you can make an informed decision.

- Joseph SARDIN - Founder of - About - Contact

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