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Kush AR-1: Fat, Old, Gritty Tube Compression… No iLok Dongle!

Tuesday June 25, 2019. 11:14 PM , from Gearslutz
Kush’s Newest Secret Weapon is…

Very, Very Old

from Lisson Grove Digital by Kush

Get the thick, fiery tone heard on Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and countless other classics.

$99, No Ilok Dongle Required, at The House of Kush

Note: Abbey Road in no way endorses this plugin, its creators, or the use of Kush (while mixing or otherwise…)

The History:
AR-1 is a variable-mµ tube compressor whose roots are in the raucous 50’s, yet it enjoys a posh, tea-sipping British image thanks to its use at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in the late 60’s, on the later Beatles and earlier Pink Floyd records.

At its core, the AR-1 is a modified EMI RS124 and, in fact, was originally named ‘R-124’ until Abbey Road’s legal team crashed the party. Ironically, the EMI RS124 was itself simply a modified version of another company’s product, the venerable Altec 436 compressor. Make of that what you will!

The Facts:
The AR-1 plugin enhances the functionality of the hardware as only a plugin can. For starters, you can see the actual values of the controls. The release is fully variable as opposed to stepped, although you can click directly on Releases #1-4 to emulate the legendary “Beatles” timings of the original analog.

Both the attack and release also have the ability to go much faster than the hardware. Having the full range of modern release times eliminated the need for the ‘Infinite Hold’ feature of the original, and made the plugin much simpler to use when going for heavily compressed sounds.

The Tone knob has been reinvented to allow the plugin to fix common digital sonic issues (too much bite and not enough beef) rather than common analog ones (too much beef and not enough bite).

There’s a 60Hz sidechain switch added to reduce unwanted pumping, and an IO Gain link to mitigate the dramatic volume swings that happen when driving the Input.

Finally, the Threshold knob can fully disable the compression while retaining the input and output circuitry, which can then be driven into some of the loveliest distortion this side of the pond.

The Hype:
A common gripe about plugin compressors, and digital sounds in general, is that they’re “too fast.” Even when a plugin’s attack time measures identical to the hardware, it generally sounds markedly different and is both too aggressive and not ‘firm’ enough, with excessive high frequency energy and a lack of low end muscle.

AR-1 solves that problem and represents a significant step forward for Kush’s modeling of analog compressors, featuring a new and (as far as we know,) industry-first method for calculating and applying not just the speed of the attack and the release, but their taper as well.

This new algorithm affects not just the compressor’s ‘action’, it also has a profound effect on the psychoacoustic perception of the tone of the compression. Warm and smooth, arguably the most overused marketing terms in the audio world, really do apply in this case.

AR-1 is a gentle beast that’s still capable of cooking a sound to a deliciously charred crisp, so be adventurous and see where she’ll take you!

Gregory Scott - ubk

$99, no iLok dongle required!

Find out more at The House of Kush
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