In this article, we talk about the brand new versatile compressor plugin by Cut Through Recordings.
EpicPRESS is a straightforward compressor plugin that features all of the standard parameters in compression. Further, it also has an authentic tube saturator along with selectable Feedback and Feed-forward detection modes. We’ll talk more about that later.
The interface is clean and convenient, making it an instant favorite for us. Although, we’d have loved to see a resizable GUI too. The large interface takes up the entire screen on a resolution lower than FHD.
EpicPRESS is a bridge between your stock compressor and the outside world. It features multiple detector modes, soft knee, auto gain, and a mix fader. An external side-chain would’ve made it perfect.
For its price, the plugin manages to deliver anything from smooth, transparent compression to ultra-fast clipping
. You can also add tube-based saturation
to your audio.
Value For Money
EpicPRESS comes with a low-enough price tag that it’s a no-brainer if you are after a beginner-friendly compressor. We would have loved to see some more standout features, though.
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The plugin’s interface is one of the best we’ve seen yet, not for being sleek or flashy. Instead, it sports a clean, minimalistic look, albeit without a resizable UI. However, it doesn’t pose any problem — the user interface is large enough to be seen clearly even on a high-resolution screen.
Furthermore, we loved the graphical display showing the compression shape and audio levels in real-time. That, and it keeps everything clean and visual, embracing a dark theme, making it the perfect interface for long working hours without eye stress. Undoubtedly, a resizable UI in a future update would make it one of the best.
EpicPRESS isn’t the most feature-packed plugin like some of the others we’ve reviewed. However, it does manage to be familiar with stock compressor plugins while introducing some new features only software could provide. Let’s have a look at the standout features:
- Soft Knee
Let’s start with something familiar. The plugin has a knee adjustment knob, which lets you adjust the knee from 0 dB (hard knee) to 6 dB. We found it to be remarkably effective, and the softer knee works excellently for gluing busses or masters.
- Live Graphics
This feature is our favorite. The graphical representation of the compression graph is probably the smoothest we’ve seen yet. As soon as you adjust your attack and release, the input meter immediately shows the change, reflecting the audio detection.
- Detector Modes
EpicPRESS came up with an innovative touch that actually makes a lot of sense — it provides both Feedback and Feed-forward modes. We have seen plenty of compressors with either mode before, but featuring both is rather rare.
For those unaware, feedback mode is when a compressor detects the audio after compression to adjust its gain reduction. Similarly, the input is first measured in feed-forward mode, and gain reduction is applied according to your settings.
The former is considered musical for its natural fluctuations, whereas the latter is much more accurate. So, engineers often reserve feed-forward detection for limiting or clipping-style compression for busses or masters.
- Input Filter
Right below the selectors for the detection modes, we have a knob for controlling an input high-pass filter. It ranges from 0 Hz to 150 Hz. You can use it to eliminate any pumping effect caused by low frequencies (kicks, primarily) in mastering or buss compression.
We would describe EpicPRESS as a transparent, smooth-sounding compressor. However, it still has another trick up its sleeves: tube saturation. There is a dedicated Drive knob to introduce tube-style distortion to your audio, which, honestly, sounds fabulous.
We also loved how the attack can go down to 0 ms, capturing each transient with ease. Or, you can have it dialed up to 300 ms to turn the compressor into a smooth, glue compressor. Each parameter adds further to its versatility.
Value For Money
The most valuable aspect in this compressor is the dual input detector modes and the clean interface. We have reviewed many other analog emulations, so if it is the analog sound you are after, EpicPRESS is not the best investment. Instead, consider it a digital compressor that can also add analog saturation.
Other than what we’ve talked about, the compressor is relatively modest and standard. We do like the Mix fader for quick parallel compression as well. So, EpicPRESS is a considerable alternative to stock compressors that gives you a taste of variety at a low price.
If you like the plugin, check out the price here (a trial version is also available).
If this is your first time purchasing a third-party compressor, EpicPRESS can be a great start to a wonderful journey. It introduces you to multiple detection modes so that you can learn what they are and why they matter. Its convenient interface also makes the plugin super easy for beginners.
And what about if you are experienced? Well, considering the price, the plugin’s sound is undoubtedly smooth and laudable. It’s versatile enough to be useful for many kinds of use cases in mixing and mastering. Admittedly, though, it isn’t a crucial purchase for someone with an extensive plugin arsenal.
And finally, some of the plugin’s behaviors were quite strange. It sometimes turns up the loudness to extreme levels when you switch the detector modes, and we also caught it failing to compress anything until we restarted the plugin. However, we remain faithful for a future update solving the minor issues.
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K. M. Joshi is a multi-award-winning composer and sound designer, specializing in film, game, and TV audio. He enjoys making cinematic music, rock, blues, and electronica.