The FG-116 Blue Series offer a wide variety of analog modeled dynamic processing flavors in the form of two Virtual Mix Rack Modules.
FG-116 Blue Vintage recreates the sound of two “rev A” FET compressors. Both compressors sound rich, colorful, and musical.
Circuit 1 has the classic ‘mid forward’ character that has made the blue striped FET compressors so famous. It adds a wonderful coloration to the upper mids especially, and adds a warm presence to vocals, bass, drums, and guitars. Compared to the Black 116, it will have a softer top and bottom end, and more articulate transients due to the harmonic distortion in the midrange.
Circuit 2 is modeled after a “rev A” unit that had been updated and refurbished, and had a very unique and musical sound. Compared to Circuit 1, this model has much bigger lows and smoother mids and highs, making it sound quite stunning on drum room mics as well as vocals that need to have more bigness and don’t require the midrange push of Circuit 1.
Both Circuits have a Hi Pass Detective Filter that prevents low frequency content from triggering compression, which can sound really musical on a drum buss. Finally, the Mix/Knob allows you to parallel compress right inside the module, which is an ideal way to use this type of compression.
NOTES: Remember, the magic sound of this compressor really lies in the release. Many top mixers keep the release all the way to the right (fastest) which makes everything that goes through the limiter much more forward, aggressive and exciting. The attack time on this compressor is very fast even on it’s slowest setting which means it’s always going to attenuate some of the source transient, but you’ll be able to tailor the attack time depending on the desired effect. The attack fully to the right (fastest) will obliterate the transient completely. I would recommend starting out with the slowest attack and fastest release and then tweaking from there. Don’t be afraid to overcompress and dial back the mix knob!
FG-116 Blue Modern is a custom revision of the classic FET compressor that offers two unique circuits that blend the old school tone with new school topology. The output transformers have been cleaned up so that it will have no output saturation, and the attack has been decoupled from the release so that it can be set much slower than the hardware for more transient articulation. Both circuits of the Blue Modern sound hifi, punchy, musical, and yet, they still can achieve the classic aggressive tone that makes the FET compressors so famous.
Circuit 1 is somewhat similar to the Vintage in that it will have a bit of a forward sounding character, but it is much cleaner and more pristine. The attack is slow enough that this compressor can sound amazing on close drum mics with the slowest attack and fastest release. Try it on a snare to bring out the punch while extending the decay. The mix knob works great in this situation where you can slightly overcompress and dial it back. On bass you can get a very edgy sound on this same setting. By backing down the release you’ll start to tighten up the sound which can be great on kick drum.
Circuit 2 will have a more breathable and punchy low end and overall smoother response on the top end. It sounds amazing on drum buss with the Hi Pass filter engaged, and even full mixes can really benefit from this musical compressor! Yes, with the Blue Modern, with the attack on the slowest and release on fastest, then with the HP filter on, you can use it on full mix and compress about 10db, then back off the mix knob to about 25% for a seriously incredible energy and excitement.. Even in combination with another mix buss compressor like FG-Grey or FG-Red. This setting will be really great on a lot of mix material in all genres.. Try it on electronic drum beats too to make them pound out of the speakers.
Overall, there is a lot to explore with these two processors. I hope you enjoy the many musical flavors that they will give your mixes!
- Steven Slate