Kiive Audio released Xtressor NUKE, a freeware compressor effect based on the premium Xtressor ($149) plugin for Windows and macOS.
Xtressor NUKE is based on the Xtressor plugin, which, in turn, emulates the Distressor hardware compressor by Empirical Labs. So, what we’re getting is a free VST plugin version of the legendary Distressor.
If you compare Xtressor NUKE to Xtressor visually, you’ll notice that the GUI is much simpler. In fact, it only features two knobs (Input and Output) and two buttons (Auto Gain and Release).
However, it is based on the same internal algorithms as its premium counterpart. So, if you don’t mind the lack of fine-tuning ability, you’ll get a very capable hardware-inspired compressor free of charge.
I’m one of those users who actually prefer streamlined plugins. If a certain plugin comes in “full” and “light” editions, I’ll typically pick the latter. In my opinion, plugins with fewer controls significantly speed up the mixing process and the music production workflow.
In the case of Xtressor NUKE, the Input knob controls the compression intensity, and the Auto Gain lets you completely forget about gain adjustment as the plugin will handle that automatically. That leaves the Release button, which lets you select one of the three available release time settings (Fast, Normal, and Slow).
What is Xtressor NUKE good for? The hardware Distressor is famously great-sounding on drums, so that should be a safe bet with the plugin version, too.
Kiive Audio states the following on the product page: “Make your drums explode with this gritty compressor, and use its three release modes to add edge and punch to your mix. Plus, the adjustable Sc HPF makes NUKE super versatile- throw it on any mix!”
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