Recording Magazine 05/2011
Paul Vnuk Jr.: "Sonically the alpha is in the ultra clear hi-fi category; it adds control without altering your sound. This thing does ‘subtle’ so well it’s scary. It’s the kind of compressor where you’re not sure what it’s doing until you bypass it... and then you realize it’s doing a lot, beautifully, without being heavy-handed."
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Delamar 05/2011
Mario Lämmerhirt: "I can recommend the alpha compressor to everyone who is looking to spice up their finished mixes or who is in need of an 'inaudible' dynamic toolbox. The alpha is a very good choice for the final tuning in mastering, especially because of its very transparent sound. You get a very versatile tool for influencing the dynamics of a track without changing its sound at all."
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Guitar Lounge 03/2011
Ludvig Nylund: "From all the compressors I’ve tried so far it’s one of the most flexible units without having a overly advanced and complex user interface to deal with. It’s easy to get it good sounding on almost everything, probably because it’s so transparent yet has the option of adding a little color when need with the push of a button."
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Buenasideas 02/2011
Andreas Eberhardt: "I am tossing pretty much all of my other compressor plugins into the trash! With the alpha compressor, elysia has created a plugin that does such a great job at a pretty low CPU load that it is pretty hard to believe. No matter if used for mastering or single tracks: the alpha compressor satisfies. It is astounding that a 'program' can sound this good."
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DV Magazine 02/2011
Daniel Sherratt: "It’s been impossible to find any fault with these plugins as their heritage is arguably one of the finest in the industry. I know we’re spoiled for choice at them moment in terms of software compressors, but they really stand apart from the usual roster of vintage ‘clones’, are so versatile and its very refreshing to see something truly different and groundbreaking come along."
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Recording.de 05/2011
Alexander Mann: "elysia's cooperation with Brainworx has resulted in a good and versatile compressor which cuts a fine figure both in everyday as well as mastering applications. It clearly stands above the crowd of maximizer tools and proves to be a useful and reliable precision instrument. I am giving a clear buying recommendation for it."
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Everythingrecording 12/2010
Bryan Adams: "I don’t even need to summarize this review. The audio files speak for themselves here. Did this plug-in accomplish the task at hand in acting like it’s analog brother? Well in my opinion it definitely did!"
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Test: elysia alpha compressor

by Vera Schuhmacher
Beat (Germany) – March 2011

The audio enthusiasts at elysia have presented a software version of their alpha compressor mastering tool as a follow-up to their mpressor plug-in. Beat took a close look at this virtual class-A compressor.

With its numerous professional functions, the fully discrete alpha compressor is one of the most powerful hardware dynamics processors available without any doubt. Dominik Klaßen who founded the company with Ruben Tilgner in 2005 points out the strengths of this high end compressor: “The alpha is one of the very few compressors which has been designed for explicitly being used in mastering in the first place. Everything has been tailored to suite this very consequently – showing in features like the integrated M/S matrix, onboard parallel compression, filters and limiters as well as in the mastering-friendly compression behavior and a very open and transparent sound.“ We all know that quality without compromise has its price. Therefore we were happy to hear that elysia now offers a much more affordable software version for home and project studios.

Soft Skills
The programmers at Brainworx took care to authentically recreate all features as well as the sound and compression characteristics of the hardware in all the tiny details. Just as with the mpressor plugin, the alpha uses up to four times oversampling for increased accuracy. At the beginning of our review, we find the classic parameters – Threshold, Attack, Release and Ratio. On top of this, the compression style can be set in two ways: While the Feedback mode offers a smooth kind of compression, the Feed Forward mode results in a harder type of compression, makingeven negative ratios possible.

The alpha compressor features a so called Auto Fast function which can be activated for attack and release individually. This proved to be very useful during our test sessions, especially when used on impulsive material like drum tracks. Another efficient mastering tool is the onboard parallel compression feature which lets you compact your audio material with high amounts of compression without loosing transparency and dynamics.

Control Freak
“The alpha compressor is extremely powerful and very flexible“, Dominik Klaßen proudly explains. “Of course, mastering is one of its most obvious strengths. Its many features can be freely combined, and this gives you access to details in sum signals which could hardly be processed otherwise.“ And as a matter of fact, the dynamics processor offers some features that make it one of the most flexible software compressors around. One example is the integrated M/S matrix which makes it possible to process mid and side signals separately. This can help to retain the stereo spectrum while compressing, or it can be used to render the mid more focused, or it can raise the presence of the sides, or it can selectively influence the stereo width.

Another very useful possibility is to monitor the direct and the processed signals of the mid and the side channels independently. The integrated sidechain filter enables frequency-selective compression, letting you decide how a selected frequency area should influence the compression process.

More color, please?
A comprehensive set of sound shaping and coloration features is a valuable addition for any mastering tool. The alpha compressor does not disappoint in this regard: It offers the Warm mode for subtle coloration as well as the Soft Clip limiter for catching fast transients. By rounding the signal peaks, this function behaves similar to a saturated tape machine, as it provides more headroom and loudness for individual instruments as well as complete mixes. On top of this, the Niveau Filter offers a simple yet very musical way of sound shaping by changing the proportions between the high and low frequencies.

Result
elysia have managed to create a premium and very detailed emulation of their hardware flagship. Just like its analog archetype, the virtual compressor provides convincing results in many different applications like mastering, mixing or even as an effective sound design processor. Besides its noteworthy open and clear sound, the plug-in surprises by its great flexibility and versatility as well as its beautiful and easy to operate user interface. A true milestone!

Rating
+ excellent sound quality
+ enormous flexibility
+ versatile compression styles
+ powerful M/S and sidechain features
+ many additional pro functions



Editor's recommendation