Diode-Bridge Compressors use electronic components called diodes in their circuits, but how do they work exactly? We’ll be explaining that and also reviewing the 5 best diode-bridge compressor plugins in 2023.
How Does Diode-Compressor Work?
A Diode Bridge Compressor works by transmitting Audio input (Vin) through a series of diodes in a bridge format (explained in the picture below). The diodes convert the AC signal into DC, turning the negative voltage input into positive, which compresses the signal.
Each type of compressor comes with its benefits and drawbacks, and it’s up to you to choose what suits your work the best. A Diode-Bridge Compressor, for example, has swift attack and release times, has non-linear compression, but it also requires more output gain and low-level input signals.
This compressor can be used in analog form or digitally as a plugin. It’s perfect for adding weight to the mix, and it’s typically used on Bus channels to tweak multiple sounds at once. To understand how to use the most of it, we must first figure out how the compressor works and what each knob does.
After understanding how Diode-Bridge Compressors work, we can now focus on providing you a list of the best plugins for your DAW that do their best at simulating what that compressor does, although with a prettier user interface.
The 5 Best Diode-Bridge Compressor Plugins 2023
1. Arturia Comp DIODE-609
If you listened to any album or hit song in the last 40 years, you’ve probably heard the distinctive sound of the Neve® 33609.
Arturia decided to create a plugin for your DAW that you can easily use, to recreate the iconic sound of its real-world counterpart.
The plugin allows you to experience one of the best compressors available on the market that shaped songs such as Californication by Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Instant crush by Daft Punk, Cornerstone by Arctic Monkeys, and many others.
The plugin also features an extensive FX library for you to explore, boasting many presets that could help you out when you are in a tight spot. These presets can help you tighten drums, adjust vocals, pan your back vocals, and perfect your mix overall. The signature transient sound that it produces adds character to every sound you add it to.
- Stereo Processing
Diode-609 features Mono and Stereo audio tweaking for the compressor and the built-in limiter. This feature allows you to decide exactly how wide or narrow you want your output signal to be. It also features linkable Left and Right channels that work on both sections. Stereo Processing is a great way to fine-tune your instruments in the mix, allowing you to create that crisp guitar sound in the middle of your listening field while also keeping the ambiance in the background. This specific sound works wonders in any genre, as You can also use it to provide that bouncing effect to techno songs and an Orchestra Hall feeling to more mellow genres.
- Advanced Sidechaining
Comp Diode-609 is the perfect sidechaining tool that allows you to fine-tune audio coming from an internal or external output. You can tweak the look-ahead control and even tweak your vocal space with a sidechain equalizer. To prepare for a sidechain transient, You can tweak up the look-ahead controls to 5ms, so you don’t lose that punch of the kick drum you used. It also allows you to have pumping elements in the mix, to create an outstanding dynamic track. This setting is perfect for kicks or snares, as it can give life to the drums, creating a sound identical to live drums playing in the same room with you.
- Perfect Compression
DIODE-609 can add remarkable harmonic richness and tightness by using its built-in dual compression panels, perfect for bus channels. You can also use this feature on your drum channels and even your stereo master. You can fine-tune the attack options on the compressor, allowing you to choose if you want a slower or a faster attack for that perfect tight punch. A slower attack might be better for a smoother genre, like jazz, classical music, and blues, while the faster attack rate is best for Rock, Metal, Hip-Hop, and other aggressive genres.
Mid-side processing allows you to fine-tune the stereo field to your liking. You can configure each side of your mix individually, allowing you to create a great dynamic that is truly unique. The plugin also allows you to separate the mid-field from the sides, which increases the depth of your compression configuration. Mid-field tweaking is often used to force the low-end of the sample you are using to be in the center, which frees up the sides of your mix, reducing muddiness in the final product.
Character & Sound:
The compressor provides a warm, crunchy sound that Producers have used for 40 years in the music industry. It can generally be applied to any instrument or vocal, as it adds a specific familiar character that is pleasant for your ears.
Comp DIODE-609 is available for Windows 8.1 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, AAX, and NKS formats.
Diode-609, made by Arturia, is the perfect compressor for people who want to take their mixes to the next level. The diode bridge working system allows for careful and precise tweaking of the Audio signal.
The available knobs and settings allow for incredible results in all genres, specifically those that use live music. Arturia designed it to be enjoyable and easy to use, featuring in-app tutorials and support for almost every DAW available on the market.
This plugin is an excellent addition for anyone new to audio production. Still, the more complex options allow for outstanding results if you take the time to learn how each knob operates. Having this in your plugin catalog will surely help you in future track-making and expand your mixing possibilities.
2. Lindell 254E Classic Diode Bridge Compressor
Are you looking for a natural-sounding compressor to add life to those drums? Don’t worry; Lindell 254E has got you covered!
Lindell Audio wanted to create a perfect copy of the NEVE 2254E, which gained its fame in the Rock & Roll genre for the warm and punchy sound that made every track stand out. Achieving a smooth, natural sound has never been more effortless with parallel compression.
Featuring a wet and dry knob, separate circuit limiting and compressing, and the ability to create the iconic Bonham sound, Lindell 254E also works excellent on bus drum channels, making sure every sound is heard.
- Separate Circuit Limiting And Compressing
Choose if you want to compress your signal and boost the gain of your mix, or apply a limiter that doesn’t allow sound over a particular dB level. With Separate Circuit tweaking, you can be sure that your mix will always sound top-notch. Slow and fast attacks are also available for that extra detail to your sounds, making sure your kicks stand out in the mix.
- Unique Sound
Experience Rock & Roll history by creating the iconic Bonham kick that defined hits such as Moby Dick, Immigrant Song, and Heaven Coming Down. You can make fantastic warm, saturated sounds that take your mix to the next level by tweaking the output gain and compression ratio.
- Wet/Dry Knob And Attack Speed Configuration
If you are looking for a specific blend of compressed and dry unaltered signals, try using the Wet/Dry knob to find the sweet spot. After setting the desired mix, you can focus on determining the attack speed of your limiter and compressor. Choose slow attack speed for a natural feel to your drums, or use faster attack speed, to create a fantastic punching sound.
Character & Sound:
Lindell 254E provides a rich and warm saturated sound that makes your mixes sound like live performances. It’s perfect for making sure your drums stand out in the final mix, as well as for your electric guitar and its fuzziness.
Lindell 254E is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or 11.0, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
If you are looking for the perfect compressor for your rock songs, definitely go with the Lindell 254E. The plugin perfectly manages to create a vibe out of each piece you apply it to, with its extensive use in Bus channels, allowing you to tweak every sound to your liking. You can also use it on your vocal tracks to create that perfect warm tone.
The diode-bridge platform it uses allows you to figure out exactly how to configure your sound to offer the best listening experience. Featuring 11 knobs, Lindell Audio makes sure you understand how each works by providing you with an easy and short manual.
3. JRV Audio Seac
JRV Audio focused on delivering an easy-to-use interface for producers and ended up making the JRV Audio Seac, which manages to make your life a lot more accessible.
The plugin draws you in with its creamy sound, which perfectly captivates the outstanding compression of the NEVE 2254 by tweaking the boost of the lower-end and making sure the high-end sounds are crystal clear.
If you are looking for that gritty sound in your Rock music, be sure to up the plugin’s gain and compression rate, and you will hear the difference it makes.
The easy-to-use interface is bound to make you run back to it, as does the Compressor curve knob, which allows you to fine-tune your compression in your mix. You can also boost the end output, making sure your song is loud on every speaker.
- Compressor Curve
Do you want only to compress one specific frequency range in your sample? You can easily do this by using the compressor curve knob integrated into the JRV Audio Seac plugin. Turn the knob to the left to apply the compressor only on the low-end, or bring it to the right side to control those high-end tones. You can also set it in the middle for an all-rounder or tweak it to the optimal position that enhances your sample perfectly.
- Tone Knob
Similar to how the Compressor curve knob works, the Tone knob allows you to boost the exact frequency range you want. If you feel like the bass in your song is not pumping enough, turn the knob to the left, or if you need the high end to be heard more clearly, turn to the right to make those hi-hats stand out. You should use this knob at the end of your compressor tweaking, as producers typically use it as a finishing touch.
- Compression Knob
The JRV Audio Seac offers a straightforward way to compress your signal without tweaking four different knobs to get the sound you want. To do this, you can use the Compression knob, which eliminates the need to tweak the ratio of the compression, as well as the threshold limit. This is an excellent addition for anyone that wants to edit their audio and continue working on their track quickly.
Character & Sound:
The plugin perfectly emulates the sound of iconic Diode-bridge compressors like the NEVE 2254, adding its warm characteristics to any sample you apply it to. It offers a signature analog sound that instantly reminds you of that classic Rock & Roll style.
The JRV Audio Seac is available on Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10,5 or higher, both in 32 and 64-bit. It comes in Vst2.4/3 and AU formats.
The JRV Audio Seac delivers a beautiful, fast, easy-to-use plugin that helps producers of all skill levels. It has six knobs and three simple switches, and the plugin’s interface gives you enough options and information to configure your sounds exactly how you want them to be.
If you are looking for a warmer, fuzzier sound, up the gain and explore the plugin’s capabilities, or if your song requires a light tone, reduce the presence of the compressor and lower the output gain, you will end up with excellent results.
The added Analog VU meter will help you determine the correct compression rate for your samples and ensure that you don’t go over the hard limit of 0dB.
4. Lindell 354E Diode Bridge Multiband Compressor
Famous for its faithful recreation of the Neve 2254E, Lindell 354E Multiband Compressor allows you to mix your sounds precisely by giving you three separate audio bands to tweak.
Every sample going through this compressor can be surgically worked on to provide the exact sound you are looking for. You can also experience the beauty of the Nuke mode, which brings a radical change to the fatness of your mix.
Auto makeup your gain on every band, pick the exact sound range you want the compressor to be applied or solo them if you feel that the sample doesn’t require precise compression.
This plugin is typically used on your drum bus, faithfully recreating the live music feeling, and with its excellent fat bass sound that you can achieve, every beat feels like it’s played in front of you.
We will be diving into some key features of the Lindell 354E and explaining why it can easily rival the best VCA Compressors on the market.
- Nuke Mode
Use Nuke mode to alter your sound by interestingly obliterating the audio signal. Your drums will be heard clearly, by bypassing the compression on the lower frequencies of your samples. Since the Nuke Mode increases the overall gain of the sound, you control what frequency range will be heard the most and what will be following its lead in the background with the three-band system.
- Niveau Filter
Need to create that famous thrust effect widely used in the industry? The Niveau Filter allows you to precisely fine-tune the frequency response of your sidechain, making sure muffled sounds still have that punch added to them. Explore the filter to find new ways to create pumping dynamics in your tracks and even create your signature sound.
- Resizable Interface
Most plugin interfaces can’t be enlarged or reduced, but that isn’t the case for the Lindell 354E, which offers a fully resizable interface that you can easily view on screens of all sizes. This allows everyone in the studio to see what you are doing and help you determine the exact compression the sample needs.
- Three Independent Frequency Band Controls
Choose to tweak each frequency range of your sample individually by tweaking the compression properties divided into three bands that allow you to choose between working with your sample’s low, mid, or high-end signal. As each band has all knobs featured, fine-tuning the sound to your liking will not be a problem.
- Mix Control
If you feel that the effect is too strong, but you don’t want to alter the direct value of the compression, you can choose to modify the blending of the unrefined signal and the new modified one. The Mix control knob at the bottom of the plugin is typically used for the final touch-up to your work.
Character & Sound:
The Lindell 354E perfectly recreates the transient sound of the real-life Neve 2254E Diode-bridge compressor, and it adds a familiar character to every sound you add it to. The three-band system will make sure to help you figure out the exact sound that suits your needs.
Lindell 354E is available on Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 and 11.0, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
The iconic plugin developed by Lindell Audio will make you realize why all the famous Rock bands loved the Neve 2254E compressor. The three-band compression, as opposed to the Lindell 254E’s one band, allows for greater precision in manipulating your audio signal.
Compression ranges can be tweaked from 1:5:1 up to 6:1, which allows for different results with the output audio. The addition of the mid-side mode gives you the option to control the sample in the whole stereo field.
Knobs such as the master gain focus on boosting the end signal to make your sound stand out from the competition. The resizable interface is easy to use, and although the plugin might look a bit complicated, it doesn’t require that much knowledge to be used properly.
This is an excellent addition for anyone that is looking for total control of their instrumentals and sounds.
5. ViatorDSP Bedroom Compressor (Free)
Landon Viator managed to create a free plugin that allows you to experience the benefits of a Diode Bridge Compressor in an easy-to-use interface that anyone can get into.
Featuring only six knobs, this plugin is great for quick mixing of your samples if you are in a rush. Although easy to work with, it can provide some fantastic results, with its standard features giving each sound a high-quality compression. The plugin takes pride in its ability to combine side-chaining with the high-pass filter, making sure the bass in your mix isn’t impacting your compression rate.
You can also blend your samples by mixing the dry default sound with the newly compressed sound you’ve created. For its small size, the plugin boasts some pretty significant features that we will list down below.
- High-Pass Sidechain
After choosing your compression rate, you might want to add a High-pass sidechain to your sounds to allow some bass to pass through the compressor unaffected, resulting in a clean high tone with full bass that isn’t limited to the threshold you’ve set. Although this is typically used on Drums, to improve the kick in the mix, you can break the rules and use the Sidechain to create a totally different experience.
The compressor has to kick in at a specific dB value, determined by the threshold limit you set in the plugin. A great way to tune the threshold is to start high and gradually reduce the level until you are satisfied with the sound. A low enough threshold level would result in a quiet, almost lo-fi-like sound that works great for background drum samples following the lead melody.
Blending is typically used as the final configuration, enabling you to fine-tune the proportion of the dry unprocessed signal. The “wet” signal results from the various compression effects applied to the sample. If you don’t want a full compressed sound, you might find it better to set the knob at 40-50%, creating a sound that has the best of both worlds without having to go back and tweak additional knobs.
- Make-Up Gain
If you feel that the output signal isn’t as strong as you wanted it to be, or the compression added to it has dampened it significantly, try increasing the Make-Up gain knob to return some of those lost decibels. Altering the output gain also changes your sample by adding that gritty, warm sound, which is highly recommended for instruments such as the guitar because it fills the stereo field with beautiful fuzzy noise.
Character & Sound:
The sound this plugin creates can vary depending on the compression or output gain you want to add to your samples. A high enough increase in the output gain will result in a fuller, grittier tone recommended for string instruments, although you can also use it to create some coarse vocals that stand out from the final mix.
ViatorDSP Bedroom Compressor is available on Windows and macOS, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST3 and AU formats.
The Bedroom Compressor is a great free variant that can easily rival other free compressors on the market, and it’s a great alternative if you are on a tighter budget. The plugin only features six knobs for adjustments, it’s great for beginners, but it can get the job done even for experienced professionals.
The attack speed and high-pass filter settings are great additions that allow you to determine what exact sound you want to end up with. The compressor has an on/off button, allowing you to quickly compare the before and after sound.
In every genre of music production, a compressor is a must-have tool for perfecting the sound of your mix. It is a versatile tool that proved helpful, from kick drums and hi-hats to female or male vocals.
We recommend using Diode-bridge compressors for music that focus more on providing a warmer or grittier sound. If you want to avoid dealing with bulky hardware, it is best to use plugins that work perfectly on your DAW.
Suppose you are not sure exactly how compressors work, and you just want to apply it and hear the difference quickly. In that case, we solely recommend using plugins such as the ViatorDSP Bedroom Compressor and the JRV Audio Seac.
They are specifically designed to help you out in a pinch, featuring minimal knobs for tweaking and an easy-to-use interface. The compressor’s built-in algorithm does most of the fine-tuning, tweaking your audio signal just how a professional would do the job.
However, if you want more control of your samples, then the Lindell 254E is the perfect all-rounder. It features additional knobs such as the Compressor recovery, which allows you to choose from 5 different settings, and determine the speed of the compressor’s release time.
But if you feel like all of those don’t work for you, and if you need full-on control of your samples, then the best choice for you is the Lindell 354E and the Comp DIODE-609.
The Lindell 354E features an excellent three-band compression system, allowing you to tweak each frequency range, with additional features such as Nuke mode, which turns up your high-end gain and compression while keeping the low-end unaltered to allow for clean basses and gritty-sounding hi-hats.
The Comp DIODE-609, on the other hand, features separate left and right compression system, allowing you to tweak each stereo field to your liking and having the option to tweak the mid-side separately.
This article contains the best Diode-Bridge compressors on the market currently, and we hope that it helped you determine precisely what compressor suits your needs.
Shaurya Bhatia, is an Indian Music Producer, Composer, Rapper & Performer, who goes by the stage name MC SNUB, and is also 1/2 of the Indian pop music duo, called “babyface”. A certified Audio Engineer & Music Producer, and a practicing musician & rapper for more than 6 years, Shaurya has worked on projects of various genres and has also been a teaching faculty at Spin Gurus DJ Academy.