THE Guitar FET Compressor For Nebula Pro

    Library Creator: Michael Angel,

    Manual Index

    The Programs
    About THE Guitar FET Compressor For Nebula Pro
    About The Hardware


    For PC Users:

    Use the included installer to select your NebulaTempRepository Folder to install
    the collection there. Or, you can simply copy all "n2p" files to your
    Nebula "Programs" folder and copy all "n2v" files to your "Vectors" folder.

    For Mac Users:

    Copy all "n2p" files to your Nebula "Programs" folder and copy all "n2v" files to your "Vectors" folder.

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    The Programs

    “THE Guitar FET Compressor For Nebula Pro” is a huge collection of over 500 programs, all sampled at 96kHz and tested to retain accuracy at 44.1kHz and 48kHz sample rates with the latest version of Nebula3 Pro. You will enjoy the unique character of this collection based upon a flexible, custom-voiced FET Compressor, along with specialized EQ settings designed to give you polished acoustic and electric guitar tracks. The EQ’s are custom settings based upon my experience in mixing and mastering, and are not a built-in feature of the analog compressor used.

    You must be using an updated version of Nebula Pro Commercial for this collection.

    It is designed to be used with the “Reverb” instance of Neb Pro.


    Program Description:

    “THE Guitar FET Compressor For Nebula Pro” is installed to the “GCP” main category. Under this category, there is the sub-category “FET” for this particular collection. Due to the size of the Guitar Compressor collections, each one is given its own compressor-type category. Under the “FET” category are the individual sub-category types as follows:

    AC1 – Acoustic Guitar EQ Setting 1
    A1P – Acoustic Guitar EQ Setting 1 Parallel Compression
    Clean – All programs without any harmonic distortion
    A1S – Acoustic Guitar EQ Setting 1 Side Chain EQ
    AC2 – Acoustic Guitar EQ Setting 2
    A2P – Acoustic Guitar EQ Setting 2 Parallel Compression
    A2S – Acoustic Guitar EQ Setting 2 Side Chain EQ
    AC3 – Acoustic Guitar EQ Setting 3
    A3P – Acoustic Guitar EQ Setting 3 Parallel Compression
    A3S – Acoustic Guitar EQ Setting 3 Side Chain
    EG1 – Electric Guitar EQ Setting 1
    E1P – Electric Guitar EQ Setting 1 Parallel Compression
    E1S – Electric Guitar EQ Setting 1 Side Chain
    ACF – Acoustic Guitar Flat EQ Setting
    ACP – Acoustic Guitar Flat EQ Setting Parallel Compression
    ACS – Acoustic Guitar Flat EQ Setting Side Chain
    EGF – Electric Guitar Flat EQ Setting
    EGP – Electric Guitar Flat EQ Setting Parallel Compression
    EGS – Electric Guitar Flat EQ Setting Side Chain

    In your main Nebula program window, when a program is loaded, you will see the title of the program in large letters.

    Beneath this, you will see “DSC” which is the program’s description. This description will tell you the attack and release times for each program. This information is also in the program name that appears in the program selection list. You will see the number designated for attack first, followed by the number for release, both in ms.

    For the FET Compressor specifically, there are 3 alternate acoustic guitar eq settings and 1 eq setting for electric guitar in addition to the “Flat” traditional settings. These are all custom settings that interact with the eq designed to make the compressor work together with the character of your guitar tracks.

    All programs in this collection are designed to give you the best response when used on tracks that have a moderate to wide dynamic range and a maximum peak of -3dB. Average and peak levels can be higher or lower, but the target edit levels are based on actual audio with these characteristics. You will get the most predictible and accurate results using a single instance for each mono or dual-mono track. These programs will work well with stereo tracks of the same instrument, but response becomes more complex based on more audio details. For instance, with a single track, there is one source, location, and average and peak reaction, so response to peak attacks and release times will be based on the actual musical response of the track being played. If you add two tracks to the same compressor, it will compress both processes, but the timing of one will affect the other, and usually this means that there is less control over the initial timing and less response to deep dynamic levels. I highly recommend assigning a single guitar performance to each instance or pre-render instances based on favorite settings.

    For tracks that have already been processed, or have an extremely even and non-dynamic response, the levels will most likely have a higher output and may create fast initial peaks. They can still be effective with the special effect of clamping down on the timing response of compression and also the added harmonic content can give a great deal of subtle texture.

    All programs have been custom edited at the input, output, threshold, and ratio settings that interact with a target response of the individual attack and release times. The “Flat” programs have been edited to give a relatively flat spectral response and maintain the original character of the hardware even at deep compression levels, where the spectrum can adjust based on deep changes to equalization. The EQ programs are custom-designed based on my favorite sounds for acoustic and electric guitars.

    The Acoustic Guitar Programs have been created with specific musical response on actual audio tracks. They are designed to give the best targeted results with a track that has a fairly wide dynamic range, a maximum peak of -3dB, and a consistent strumming pattern typical of the average ballad acoustic guitar rhythm track. The EQ’s and program settings are designed to be at home on acoustic electric, piezo pickups and microphones, 12 string acoustics, and clean electric guitars.

    The Electric Guitar Programs have been edited using the most challenging program examples, with heavily distorted rhythm tracks, fast attack strums with crunch and redundant patterns. You will get the best results with using a single instance of the compressor for each individual electric guitar track, whether a mono track or dual-mono. It can be used for stereo rhythm guitar tracks as well, but the more complex the stereo information, the more it will vary the attack and release times. This is usually represented with a a more prominent attack response to the track that makes sound first, and a deeper average rms response to the track that makes sound second. With a single track, the entire response of the compressor will be based on the rhythm of the music played and has the desired results.

    Each Program type has a regular response edited for the best reaction to specific guitar performance. Some programs have variations, including a “B”, “C”, or even more instances. These are the same as the Program named the same in that series, edited with some variation of new input, output, drive, threshold, ratio, and other settings in the Nebula Pro engine. Each unique program will interact with your performance in a unique manner.

    Flat and EQ’d Programs contain “P” and “S” variations, which stand for Parallel Compression and EQ Side Chain Compression.

    Parallel compression allows a combination of a ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ signal to be blended together. Compression settings are edited uniquely to provide a different response from other programs that combine compression with the original signal. In some instances this is used to give an even smoother response than regular compression. In other instances it provides the opportunity to blend a more extreme compression setting with the original signal, giving the impression of an audible compression effect that is well-controlled.

    EQ Side Chain is a function that is used for many purposes. Some Compressors use Side Chain filtering as a high pass filter that removes a range of frequencies from the compressed signal. The audio passes through the device, but only audio above a set frequency are compressed. The reason for this type of Side Chain is to provide a smoother compression response. Since low frequencies are larger cycles, contain more sound pressure, and contain longer waveforms, they also require more demanding operation from a Compressor, which leads to more audible side effects. These results can be described as pumping, breathing, and other sounds that can be positive. With this type of Side Chain, the same compression setting can sound smoother and more defined. Other Side Chains are used to link a compression response to a separate audio path. Some examples include a process called ‘ducking’ and others can be used to open and close a gated signal to the compressor to use the rhythm of one source to the compression and gating of another source.

    In the case of this collection, the Nebula Pro engine employs an extremely flexible Side Chain engine starting as low as 0Hz, or no change, to as high as 5000Hz which is virtually unheard of in most devices. This allows an incredible range of possibilities in Side Chain personality. The frequency choice in the Nebula Pro engine defines where the high pass frequency is designated. Anything below the chosen frequency is not passed through the compression process but the original audio is passed through unaffected. Specifically with this FET Compressor, as used on guitars, this allows me to fine-tune programs for unique responses that would otherwise never exist. For guitar tracks that have a scooped distorted signal, one Side Chain may allow a higher volume of low frequencies to push through while compressing mid range and high frequencies with more effort, where other settings allow for more compression in prominent mid range frequencies. These traits are extremely unique specifically for guitar and they serve the purpose in my approach to audio processing. You will find that you have the ability to get unique results that have never been achieved with other hardware or software.

    All of the regular compressor Programs use a full 10 Kernels of Harmonic Distortion, which adds an incredible amount of detail to your tracks. Harmonics are influential on the complex overtones that interact with every resonating guitar string and combined chord and melody. The “Clean” Programs provide the exact same collection of settings with the Harmonic Distortion removed, so you can compress without adding any harmonic content.

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    About “THE Guitar FET Compressor For Nebula Pro”

    “THE Guitar FET Compressor For Nebula Pro” is our answer to the need for real, analog hardware compression. It requires the lastest version of NebulaPro and is optimized to run in the “Reverb” version of NebulaPro. It has been sampled at 96kHz and will convert to any rate directly within the NebulaPro engine. When used at 96kHz, it uses the maximum sample size and length, and because it is sampled at this rate, loads very quickly and takes the largest amount of computer resources (unless using a higher rate than 96kHz). If used at 48kHz or 44.1kHz, the programs will take a little longer to load, but once loaded, use a smaller amount of computer resources. In fact, at lower rates the programs use the same resources as they would if sampled directly at the same lower rates. All programs have been tested for these three rates and remain extremely accurate.

    “THE Guitar FET Compressor For Nebula Pro” consists of a giant collection of over 500 programs: all sampled at 96kHz and tested to retain accuracy at 44.1kHz and 48kHz sample rates with the latest version of Nebula3 Pro.

    This collection focuses on the strengths of FET Compression blended together with high end equalization and programming of the Nebula Pro sound engine, using everything from variable timing algorithms, side chaining, wet/dry blending, and specific sampling techniques. The result is an incredible range of settings specifically tailored to your guitar track needs. Programs are edited to allow you a “set it and forget it” process. Simply choose the Program that sounds right for your track. You can make subtle changes to input, threshold, or ratio where desired. The result is enhanced, polished, and equalized compression specific to your guitatr track needs.

    All of the programs in this collection are edited to get the maximum amount of compression character at -3dB. You can use them at any volume that is lower than -1dB. The lower your file’s peak level is set, the less compression will occur.
    With a traditional compressor, the threshold determines the volume at which compression begins. In Nebula, this value is actually partially determined by the actual amount of compressing that happens, so it is partly combined with the ratio factor as well.
    So, for the sake of this collection, you should consider the amount of compression based on the loudest peak level. If you are familiar with how you set your rms levels then you will be familiar with your average peaks or peak hold as well. I have also provided the free “LEVEL” utility set for loading level dB adjustment for long signal chains.

    The attack and release time of the programs are contained in the program description. Disregard the fader label “attack/Release” labels. The “attack” and “release” faders do not adjust anything. This is set up in each individual program.

    All programs have been edited for the specific sonic character the program represents. These have been tested extensively with a range of different guitars so that you can load them until you choose the sound desired. But, if you wish to change parameters, you can edit whatever you wish for any program! Every program has a targeted attack and release, but allows for changes to be made to threshold depth, ratio, make-up gain, and harmonic distortion drive. You may find that only small changes to presets are best.

    Over the past couple of years, Acustica Audio has developed a more robust sound engine to support more comprehensive technology for compression. We have been honored to be a part of initial and ongoing beta testing of the program dependent character of the engine, along with the envelope follower, and other processes that exist under the hood. The result of today’s VVKT Nebula Pro engine is an excellent sounding program for compression, still with some limitations, but with a wonderful feature-set.

    The Nebula Pro Plug-In is one of the most significant audio technologies of our time. Nebula Pro’s strong points easily outperform some of the most impressive audio software available. It emulates the natural big sound of analog eq, tape machines, tubes, consoles, and other complex analog hardware with amazing accuracy. It also has been capable of producing excellent results with compression for many years. There have been some limitations, though.

    After many months of additional rigorous testing, we found that there are specific strengths of the engine to focus on and others to avoid. Since Nebula Pro is capable of such an absolute, accurate emulation of high end complex analog eq’s and other devices, our goal with any new release, especially one of a new format, is to ensure that it is held to the same high standard.

    We present you with compression based upon specific function and for specific instruments. Due to the number of Programs and EQ and function options, the Guitar Compressor collections are divided into four Compression types, this one being FET Compression.

    The emphasis of this collection is to deliver our representation of true analog processes as we perceive them, ideal to guitar processing, giving the user the sound of actual FET circuitry. All programs in this collection are created from real analog hardware, edited with deep, extensive processing within the Nebula engine. Every individual program is the result of hundreds of samples, each one tuned, tested, and sampled over and over again, until the perfect characteristics of each setting were reached.

    We believe that this collection crosses the barrier for truly amazing analog compression.

    A few words about compression

    Compression describes the audio process of reducing the overall level of audio by controlling the range of peaks and average program volume. By reducing the dynamic range of program material, the compressor allows the track to gain a better average level. In the analog days, this was not only useful but vital for many purposes. With the traditional 70’s-80’s analog studio, tracking to tape meant hitting levels hot enough to be loud enough above the noise floor, but stray peaks could overload the tape gain and lead to unwanted distortion only at bursts of loud signals. The compressor could be used to control these peaks and reduce them to a designated volume, thus allowing the average level of the track to hit the tape harder without going into distortion. In broadcast then and now, compression was used to maintain a consistent level of program signal, as lower levels could be hard to hear on small replay devices and the signal could sound weak if not consistent.

    As the type of compressors made become more diversified, more specific purposes were found. While the use was sometimes still meant to be hidden and utilitarian, the compressor had the tendancy to sound different depending on the material used on. So, this became more and more a part of a signature trademark sound of different engineers and producers. In the ‘digital age’, we have so much technical control over any level we desire, a well-trained engineer should be able to use a decent mic preamp and mic and never have to use a compressor to maintain dynamic control. But, we find that the character of compression has become a sonic signature that we don’t want to part with. The different circuitry used gives such a character and richness to the signal path, we don’t want to do without it!

    Technically, the usual compressor has a set group of controls:
    Threshold- the depth of volume that compression takes place. The Threshold is the actual dB’s where the compressor starts to activate. A shallow Threshold allows compression to only affect the peaks or loudest steady volume of a signal, where a deep Threshold allows the compressor to affect loud and quiet signals respectively. Even though this is the defined character of Threshold, there is usually a determining relationship between Threshold and Ratio, and one can affect the other, meaning that the Threshold can alter the actual Ratio and vice versa.
    Ratio- what percentage of the signal will be processed with compression. A very low ratio adds only a very small amount of compression to whatever dynamic range of the program material is designated by the threshold. A high ratio will compress very heavily but still only the selected threshold depth of dynamic range.

    Attack- the attack defines the speed at which the compressor responds to the first audio to enter the signal path.

    Release- the release designates how long the circuit will wait to let go of the compression character defined.

    This combination of basic controls makes up the complex interaction of a compressor. A basic software algorithm can put together these variables and make for a very basic sounding reference device. But, it is small subtle variables in the real world interaction of these events that really makes compression unique.

    This becomes even more true when translating this interaction int the Nebula engine. There is an interaction between the actual threshold measured and the ratio, and the interaction between attack and release times can have a dramatic effect on all settings in between.

    All compressor hardware designs approach this similar process using different techniques. It is this unique interaction of systematic circuit design that leads to such unique character.


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    About The Hardware

    About “THE Guitar FET Compressor For Nebula Pro” Hardware Devices. “THE Guitar FET Compressor For Nebula Pro” collection is centered around a hardware Compressor and Equalizers specially voiced and tuned for use with guitars. Because of the technology used, the deep editing process, and the elimination of certain character artifacts that differ from certain hardware settings, we are happy to share information about the types of devices and the character of these different amazing hardware devices, but we will not discuss anything about any specific pieces of hardware in this collection. This collection represents our original sonic character, using a combination of the definite sound of certain hardware, combined with editing that makes it possible to fine-tune these traits into the ultimate, more usable, analog-sounding giant that is “THE Guitar FET Compressor For Nebula Pro” !!! 🙂

    The FET-Based Compressor was a challenge to represent in all its glory, but we believe that you will be very pleased with what you can do with your guitars! These tend to be fast, snappy, and responsive. I have added the finest equalization to the programs to combine the best attributes of guitar processing into a single function. I have worked hard to get the best results from this type of compression, which can have a very smooth and vibrant sound without being edgy and hazy as some FET’s may be. I think you will be pleased with the results.

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    I truly hope that this collection adds to your enjoyment of Nebula Pro.

    Thanks and God Bless You.
    Michael Angel