It's time to go hardware compressor

My next purchase is going to be a HW compressor.

I want something which sounds a bit better than the digital ones on my Si Impact and DAW. Not really after something completely transparent.

Current thoughts:-

Tegeler VTC or Cremé
Warm Bus Comp.
Elysia Xpressor Qube
Drawmer 1978,

Leaning towards the Qube due to space reasons.

Any feedback on any of these, I do DnB and psytrance usually. I’d like a bit of jack-of-all-trades type compressor rather than a straight bus comp.

The xpressor is amazing. Sounds incredible, very hifi but also has some flavor. It’s super flexible in terms of dynamics control, can be subtle and transparent or pumpy and aggressive, great choice if you only have one outboard compressor.
The Warm has really impressed me from the demos I’ve heard, but it won’t be as flexible as the Elysia.

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Have you heard the Mpressor Qube?

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What about the Succsor by Heritage Audio?

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I’d go with the xpressor qube over the mpressor qube. Better as a bus comp.
You get side chain filtering, and parallel mix at the expense of independent operation of channels.
Pocket the $450 difference.

Hard to beat! Smart of them to come out with these qube chassis. It was hard to find the old discontinued 2 slot Atlas Revolver chassis, and when you did it really drove up the total cost.


Didn’t even know that existed. Cheers

You know that will never happen, right? :slight_smile: If I go with the 500 series I can get an EQ too in a 4 slot rather than just the comp.

OK, another Q.

Anyone used one of the cheaper 500 series racks with Elysia gear? Something like the 6 slot Midas?

I’ve run a Lindell with the Elysia. No complaints here.

I think if you really want to hear the difference between HW and soft, you might need to go past the Xpressor. The HW I’ve heard that made me say ‘oh, that’s something else’ were the Shadowhills Dual Vandegraph, and the Elysia rack Mpressor. Xpressor is very nice but I don’t know that it’s $800 better than say Kush Novatron.

I see. That Shadow Hills costs quite a few beer tokens. Not sure I’m willing to go over £2k and then add the 500 series case.

Once I get in to that price territory I’d go for the IGS 3U Tubecore without hesitation.


I have a Tegeler Creme and have written thoughts about it a few times here.

This is one post: Stam Audio SA4000 (SSL Clone) - #69 by sl1200mk2

The Elysia Xpressor would be IMO the more versatile on the list for just the compressor game since as you stated it’s not just a ‘straight bus comp’ and can do a little more creative work. The Creme is very nice finishing tool with the EQ (though additive only). I’d put the Warm Bus in that category too. I don’t know the Drawmer except in plugin form and honestly that’s not usually the one I reach for and only gets occasional use here.

If you’d like some audio of yours passed through the Creme I can give you a sample/flavor of it. All of these are a bit of a luxury item, but highly recommended if you can do it!


The Successor is also really cool, got one installed in my rack a few weeks ago. It has a ton of character, very vibey compressor action and the makeup gain is a super colored 1073 style amp. I’m mixing an album right now where it lives on the electric guitar bus, but it’s also amazing on drums. Still not as flexible as the Xpressor, and can’t be as neutral tonewise, but a solid contender for bus compression duties.

That’d be fantastic.

Bit of a mess about making funny psytrance noises to drums.

Here you go… I did two versions:

#1: More of what I’d do in a mastering context.

  • EQ: 1dB @ 30Hz / 2dB @20Khz
  • Comp: ~2dB compression, 30ms attack / 0.3 release, 2:1 value

#2: Definitely more ‘pushed’ so you can hear less subtle, but still not fully cooked.

  • EQ: 2dB @ 60Hz / 2dB @10Khz
  • Comp: ~4dB compression, 10ms attack / 0.1 release, 4:1 value

For both, I have sidechain @ 120Hz and COMP into EQ (just my usual preference).

A couple notes…

  1. I’m intentionally not level matching what you gave me. I wanted you to sense what adding gain in the analog domain yields. It’s subtle, but you can decide for yourself what you hear or don’t hear.

  2. Full transparency, there’s another device in my analog chain before the Creme, but it’s bypassed on full relays, so shouldn’t be a factor at all, but it’s ‘there’. Sorry, lazy and didn’t feel like recabling things. Also, I have a limiter at the end in the DAW, but it was just barely catching a few peaks (due to the gain I was adding), but not no real ‘limiting’ or adding level… just handling any overs.

Again, I’d consider the Creme much more of a finishing tool and not so much a creative tool if you want to push/bend things. There’s no overall mix control and the EQ is additive only. It doesn’t have the level of control other compressors would, but that’s not it’s goal or intent either. However, when used as intended it’s a great piece of kit, but one that I’d still consider a luxury item. IMO, it’s a 5-10% improvement over most software. That might mean nothing to you or it might be ‘night and day’ difference – it’s all subjective.


It’s interesting last year when I was shopping for my first compressor and I contacted Elysia support and asked what should my first compressor be? I said « money isn’t a thing. Should I get the mpressor rack or the xpressor? » He told me since I am new to hardware compression I should go with the xpressor first because it’s a daily driver compressor I can track with, drum bus, mix bus, mastering duties. He said once I get better with the xpressor then I can decide if I want to upgrade to the mpressor. He even told me that once I get enough experience with the xpressor I may figure out that I won’t need the mpressor. Definitely gives me a good impression of the Elysia company.


i would not buy a hardware compressor hoping that it will sound better than its digital counterpart.
instead i see it as a commitment, it gels a part of your workflow, ultimately this will help you get better results. and of course it is a pleasure to tweak knobs! :slight_smile:

Had Creme but sold it recently. Nice sounding piece and Bass EQ is killer (especially up to 200hz area). Very expensive tho and sounds somehow wider and smoother than vsts i have but it’s not night/day diference. MJUC is lovely btw.

If i would need to buy one i would go with WA bus comp. Great price and transformers might put this one on top in “warmth” department.

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Before you go hardware, I would recommend, you try the free trial of Unisum.

I’ve got both, the Xpressor 19" and the Drawmer 1978.

Xpressor: a very modern and precise sounding VCA, sometimes with a little silk when the warm-mode is engaged - but just a little - handling is top-notch - you can put it on the master and won’t be disappointed, regardless what kind of Music you put into it makes it better and you could hear and feel it - and because of i’ts fast attack and release you have also a peak-limiter when used with care. With all the options on the comp you can get very creative. In my opinion the Xpressor is made for electronic music.

Drawmer 1978: A colorful sometimes dirty sounding and superfast bus-compressor with a FET-circuit, harmonic-options and a genius sidechain EQ … for example to control the energy of a snare at a certain frequency-domain when used on the drum-bus. I use it for the AR - makes it sound very organic

when you use the 500-series you will lose the sidechain on the Xpressor but you can transport it everywhere

although the Warm is more affordable, you don’t have a mix-parameter for parallel compression and you get this SSL-vibe (the glue)

in sum investing in a hardware compressor is a good idea and i guaranty some surprises soundwise when you compare them to software-comps

anyway, get the Xpressor


It’s always good idea to test various compressor types (vca | fet | varimu) before deciding on one.

I think these services are fantastic:


thanks for taking your time out to do that. What’s like when it’s pushed hard?

I did a level match , compressed my upload in Soundforge with the default 2:1 comp preset. Normalised all 3 and sent them to Cubase.

Every 8 bars I switch to a different version. It’s subtle but you can tell the soundforge compressed version. Order is your 1, then 2, then mine 3.

Xpressor + EQ/Karacter is same ballpark price as Cremé. Hard one.

I don’t work for Elysia but here’s their guide