Massey CT4 is a straightforward compressor plug-in that
comes in RTAS and TDM formats. With an uncluttered interface, CT4 has only four controls-compression, makeup, attack, and release-making it easy for users to dial up settings in a flash. There is also a VU-type meter that shows gain reduction and two green LED bars to show output levels. In use, CT4 is as straightforward as it looks. Attack and release settings are made with toggle switches. While there is only fast and slow for the attack setting, there is actually a middle position on the release toggle, which I assume represents a medium setting. Compression and makeup are full-range knobs, and by using the bypass feature, it's easy to choose the correct amount of makeup gain when auditioning settings.
In terms of sound, CT4 is generally clean and uncolored. The sound reminds me of the workhorse compressor units from dbx or Drawmer. That is to say, the compression can be tight, but not brittle, thick, but not warm. The only difference is the knee of CT4 is more of a hybrid soft-knee electrical meets variable-mu type. To my ears, this means the onset of compression is generally more subtle than some hard-knee types. The downside is you have to work a little harder to force the compressor to do pumping or harsh effects-type sounds-if you even want to consider that a drawback.
My favorite applications were on individual drums-such as kick, snare, or toms-especially when trying to bring more attack out of the instrument. I found that slow attack and medium release settings allowed through some of the initial strike while extending the rest of the hit. Combine this with an uncompressed room or overhead sound, and drums can have a best-of-both-worlds air and bite. It was also a nice bus compressor, especially on synths, strings, or effect guitars. On vocals, I had a tougher time finding a compression level that was low enough for my taste. Eventually, I got it to sit where I wanted it, but most of my time was spent nudging between the 0 and 1 settings on the compression control. Finally, CT4 is pretty resource efficient, allowing numerous instances as an RTAS plug in Pro Tools LE. On my PT HD system, I got eleven or twelve instances to fit on one DSP chip in a 44.1 kHz session.
Like other Massey titles, there is a free/demo version available that allows users to try CT4 without beeps or cut outs. Of course, purchasing the full version opens up all features, including hi-resolution sample rate support (88.2-192 kHz); clip-light functionality (HD only); bypass switching; linked-stereo support (great for bus work); and several other save, automation, and recall features.
($69 direct; www.masseyplugins.com)
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