Spectacular, almost maniacal build quality and attention to detail — elysia• was born out of the desire to create audio products without compromise. The founders have spent a good part of their lifetime developing quality audio products but had always longed to build one product, with zero compromise to quality. The alpha compressor founded the reputation of the company, and it has remained its flagship product ever since. The result is a compressor which not only provides an unprecedented level of control, but the most transparent sound in the industry even when extreme settings are used.
The elysia• alpha compressor gives you a set of advanced features that can be combined freely to address common mastering needs. The elysia• alpha compressor plug-in devotedly emulates all of these features, including the integrated M/S matrix, Niveau filters, Auto attack/release, soft clip limiter, parallel compression, and more.
The alpha compressor plug-in collection includes both a "Master" and "Mix" version. The "Master" version is best suited for multi-channel mastering, while the "Mix" plug-in is available for stereo or mono processing and has a reduced feature set, ideal for getting a great compression sound quickly. The "Mix" version is very useful for applying compression as needed in a mix, or as a tracking compressor while recording.
The hardware version of the alpha compressor has an additional transformer which can be switched in or out of the circuit by the user. The effect on the audio however, is extremely subtle, in fact many alpha compressor owners have said they have a hard time detecting the sonic differences at all. As the purpose of this function was to give the user the ability to add some color and saturation, Brainworx, working closely with elysia•, decided to emulate the "Warm" mode found on elysia•’s museq EQ which many users have found both pleasing and useful.
While the elysia• alpha compressor is best known as a mastering tool, it is also very useful on other sources and groups (drums, vocal and guitar buses, and more). The alpha compressor was designed so that even when extreme settings are used, the sound characteristics stay clean and powerful. Whether used for mastering, mixing, or both, the alpha compressor achieves excellent processing results for all different styles of music.
You might want to start with the simpler "Mix" version of the alpha compressor first. You will create good results in no time at all, and familiarize yourself with the basic design of the compressor section.
Once you proceed with the full-featured "Master" version, make sure to not use all of its functions straight away, but one after the other. Once you know what each of the controls do, you can flexibly combine this "semi-modular" set of features according to your needs.
Familiarize yourself with the signal matrix represented by the "Direct" and "Compressed" buttons. There are four combinations of these in total, and each combination provides a different function (soloing channels, muting channels, comparing direct and processed signals, and so on).
If you are not familiar with M/S (Mid/Side) processing, take some time to learn more about it and try it on some of your material. Once you know how and when to utilize M/S, you will be able to address other mastering needs that are significantly more difficult or impossible to address with conventional stereo processing.
It's important to use the Soft Clip Limiter with care. If the corresponding LED lights up very slightly from time to time, it is just perfect. Only then will you benefit from a few dB of additional headroom without actually hearing distortion.