New Toys: Black Rooster KH-COMP1

The KH-COMP1 is the very first of several plug-ins in the Koen Heldens Signature Series, offered by Germany-based Black Rooster. Heldens is a notable, award-winning mixing engineer who has collaborated on KH-COMP1, a compressor that uses a unique envelope follower circuit to develop its side-chain control signal.

There are four detector modes available starting with RMS, a common method to develop a side-chain control signal. I like RMS for compressing bass guitars to keep the level constant without loss of the deep bass. Next mode is Vintage and it worked great for a stereo-recorded Rickenbacker 12-string electric guitar. I used a 10:1 ratio and kept fingerpicking arpeggios upfront and dynamically still!

The third detector mode is called Peak and by using a 2:1 ratio, hard knee, 19-ms attack, 140-ms release, and the side-chain filters set to 45Hz and 3.1kHz, I was able to get a realistic and natural snare drum. The fourth detector mode is the called Hilbert Transform that creates an envelope follower with near zero-latency and super-fast, accurate detection. The Hilbert detector mode works great on everything and especially on a (real) 9-foot Steinway grand piano.

Other noteworthy features include: variable stereo link control that varies from dual mono or no linkage at all to full stereo linkage and the variable compressor knee control that ranges from Soft to Hard. I don’t know how they do it but the KH-COMP1 is a zero-latency compressor and I checked in my Pro Tools at 96kHz by putting in 100 stereo instances none of them read any delay compensation!

The Black Rooster KH-COMP1 is available for $139 downloadable. Once I understood its technology, I found it a remarkable compressor, perfect for any use because of its versatility.