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Rough Rider is a modern compressor with a bit of "vintage"-style bite and a uniquely warm sound. Perfect for adding compression effects to your drum buss, it also sounds great with synth bass, clean guitar, and backing vocals. Definitely not an all-purpose compressor, Rough Rider is at its best when used to add pump to rhythmic tracks. Of course, you can use it however you'd like. The Compressor Police aren't gonna come to your house and give you a citation. Slap it on a track and crank some knobs.
The front panel layout is done the same as many hardware compressors, so it will be immediately obvious how to use it. A brief overview of the controls:
- Ratio: The ratio knob is logarithmic in operation. Completely anti-clockwise is 1:1, and completely clockwise is 1:1000. The 12 o'clock position is 1:10, so everything to the left of center is single digits, and everything to the right is "atom bomb squish," essentially.
- Attack and Release: Audio Damage left off the actual time values, so you're gonna have to use your ears, like the he-men did it in times of myth.
- Meter: That honking big dial in the middle of the UI is the gain reduction meter. It basically shows how much compression is occurring.
- Sensitivity: usually called "threshold" now, but Audio Damage think "sensitivity" always made more sense. Turn to the right, you get more compression, essentially. Turn it all the way to the right, and you've got a distortion box, the sound of which is tuned by Ratio, Attack, and Release.
- Makeup: 30 dB of gain to compensate for the attenuation caused by the compressor.
- Active: From the front panel, this is simply an off/on switch, but if you automate it, strange things happen...
- MIDI Learn: Like all Audio Damage products, the VST version has MIDI Learn. Download any manual from the current product line for an explanation of how this works as it is common among all Audio Damage VST products.
Reviewed By rosko12
April 14, 2014
Rough Rider is miles away from being a "clean" compressor that you want to use on every project. It's more like an "experimental" compressor suitable for "mashing shit up".
So here's some stuff you were dying to know:
* It has a really sexy GUI. Seriously, this is one of the best-looking GUI's I've ever seen on a compressor. I wish this was something I wanted to use a lot because it sure is hot.
* Not sure if it's on purpose but the plug rolls off frequencies above 10hz. Even when it's not compressing at all. If you were even remotely thinking about using this in any "normal" way you may as well stop now.
* I would prefer numbers. Does that mean I'm not hardcore? Ratio is 1 to 1000 logarithmic. Attack sounds like it goes right down to microseconds. Release seems to have a pretty standard range (1ms-1s?) Sensitivity aka threshold goes down to -60db. Of course you don't really need to know what anything does at all. Just turn the knobs. Audio gets mashed.
* The GR gauge isn't the best ever but it strikes me as fairly accurate. The range is 30db so each one of those thin lines is 1db.
* There's a hardclip on the output at 0db. Generally not something you want in a compressor. But it helps to create some crunchy effects.
* The "active" switch is actually a wet/dry variable that you can alter within your daw. This is one of the most useful parameters. Why can't I change it on the GUI? Seems like a bad decision to hide it behind a switch.
*The dry signal bypasses the makeup and the hardclip. I find this a good arrangement. Unfortunately the gauge measures the gain reduction across the wet/dry. I find this counterintuitive and atypical for compressors.
In conclusion: It would be a big mistake to try and use Rough Rider all over your tracks like a "normal" compressor. In fact I'm not sure it belongs in the compressor category at all. It might sit more comfortably alongside distortion plugs. Also I don't think Rough Rider is really a great example of what Audio Damage do. If you don't like this plug you should check out some of their others regardless.Read more