Ultimate Drumbus Compression Shoot-out!


Apr 5, 2002
Melbourne, Australia
Hey guys,

Today marked the first day I tried out one of my two new Overstayer compressors. Since these guys are virtually built for the drum bus, I figured why not make a day of it and do another sneap-tastic shoot-out for everyone to judge for themselves.

I tried to match the settings as much as possible between the compressors, but due to their differing envelopes and controls, it's never entirely possible, so please take these results with a grain of salt, because your own mileage with these tools may vary.

Only catch is... it's 3am and I was on cans the entire time. This shoot-out isn't intended to be entirely scientific by any means, but at least a vague approximation of how you might find the characteristics of these compressors to interact on the drum-bus.

Here are the contenders:

Drumbus Clean
Drumbus elysia mPressor plug-in
Drumbus Waves 2500
Drumbus GSSL
Drumbus Overstayer
Drumbus Waves SSL

2 are hardware, 3 aren't. The Overstayer went through inferior conversion to the GSSL. I tried to make the effect somewhat pronounced/pumpy so you could really hear the envelopes.

Hope you enjoy and learn something!
Hey Ermz, regarding the GSSL...Does it narrow your stereo image? I feel as sound as a turn it on, BOOM, the stereo image isnt as wide. How do you deal with it ?
Hey guys,

I noticed that the Overstayer wasn't putting out as much GR as it should have been. It's an astoundingly hard compressor to dial in order to match others because there is no labeling on any of the knobs, so I have no idea what the approximate values are. It's all done by ear, and its rather unique envelope doesn't help either.

I've uploaded a new version of the clip on the same link, so if you already listened before reading this... do so again.

Also a note about the 2500. It's the one that retains the most peaks, so even at a similar RMS value as the others it may sound louder and punchier. Keep that in mind as you listen.

EDIT: Arg! Even the new Overstayer clip sounds under-compressed or too clean or something. Its settings are so alien to me! I'll try it again on the Opals in the afternoon.
I like the HW comps they grap the drums better!, ads a little dimension, were the software sound more flat to me!.
Wish I could afford one of those overstayer comps! :dopey:
Get a different compressor that un-links the sides.

Can you explain this? Having unlinked sides in a compressor screws with the stereo image. It would shift the image around as it turns down the loud side but not the less loud side, etc.

Think about it - one of the aspects that influences stereo image is relative volume of a channel. If you lessen the volume difference between the channels, you're actually making the stereo image narrower. However, you'd be shifting the image around from narrow to full wide based on the gain reduction, so even though it's technically screwy and shifting around, it might give the impression of sounding wider than a compressed, true, static width signal.
I have hard time to differenciate EVERY track from the others. I can definitely tell the GSSL is a bit warmer, but I guess I have to train my ear a little more. At the moment, I wouldn't even have the utility to have such a nice unit cause I wouldn't be able to gain something using it instead of my ssl comp plugin.
the GSSL has a really cool affect on the attack of the drums...my fave next to the 2500, which I STILL can't quite get along with, haha.

the editing bothers me a little bit though... in the first section when the kicks are running... probably sounds fine in context
The GSSL is easily the best IMO. It's not used in the same way that I would use a drumbus comp on an actual mix, but I hit it a bit harder to show what it does with transients. It grabs and pumps them crazily. You can hear that sort of shit all over Randy's records. I'd take another 4 GSSL units if my guy could be arsed making them, haha. Would even see if mono variations were possible to use on individual drum tracks.

The 2500 plug-in sounds turd IMO. Absolutely nothing like the real thing. The real deal kicks ass.

I gave up on the Overstayer btw. After seriously like 3 hours of tweaking I couldn't get something I liked... Opals or no. I think i"m gonna use them on synths, backing vox and guitars.
Very interesting to hear the difference in the clips. What kind of attack release combo are you using on the compressors? Tempo based or not?