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Customer Reviews 228 Reviews

4.58 out of 5 stars

by B. thompson (5/6/2015):

On everything! on every track Read more

179 Reviews
22 Reviews
12 Reviews
10 Reviews
5 Reviews
Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor Plug-In.
The world’s most remarkable and revered audio compressor — available as a UAD plug-in.

Few pieces of audio hardware are as revered as the Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor. Created by enigmatic mastermind, Peter Reardon, this five-rackspace behemoth tempers dynamics and tames transients like no other compressor in history. With its serial, two-stage dynamics control and switchable output transformer matrix, the

Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor plug-in for UAD-2 and Apollo interfaces provides everything from a velvet touch to an iron fist — making it a go-to on records by Muse, Green Day, Gnarls Barkley, and more. Designed by Brainworx, the Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor plug-in is a thorough emulation of the high-end hardware.

Now You Can:

  • Mix, and master with an exclusive emulation of the legendary Shadow Hills Compressor, endorsed by Peter Reardon
  • Harness Nickel, Iron, and Steel transformer types for a wide range of distortion characteristics and transient limiting
  • Use separate Optical and Discrete (VCA) dynamics sections for two-stage serial dynamics control
  • Employ 90 Hz sidechain filtering for musical compression of low-frequency program material

Three Majestic Compressors in One

The genius of the Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor plug-in is its ability to control dynamics in two stages — an Optical and Discrete (VCA). Both sections can be bypassed, effectively providing three compression sounds (Optical, Discrete, and combined) in a single unit.

The Optical section is highly program dependent, with basic Threshold and Gain settings, and a two-stage release time akin to the classic LA-2A — perfect for gently taming your dynamic range, and bringing up the overall level. The Discrete section takes over where the Optical section leaves off, and provides a more aggressive sound with precise control over gain, threshold, ratio, attack, and release.

Read full features & specs
Switchable Output Transformers —
Nickel, Iron, and Steel

The Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor plug-in’s tonal palette is enhanced by a unique matrix which allows selection between three output transformers — Nickel, Iron, and Steel. By switching the selected transformer type in and out of the signal path, you can hear the different frequency response, distortion characteristics, and transient limiting of each transformer — going from “clean” (Nickel), to “colored” (Iron), to “dirty” (Steel).




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  • Joe Chiccarelli

    (The White Stripes, My Morning Jacket, The Killers

    "The [UAD] Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor plug-in is the ultimate last-stop in a mixing chain. It’s punchy and hi-fi and has lots of options."

    Rich Tozzoli

    (Pro Audio Review)

    “The Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor is one of those toys I must have….It’s not just a one-trick pony and many cool sounds can be discovered by experimenting with the different thresholds, gains, ratio, attack and recover settings.”

    Dave Eringa

    (Manic Street Preachers, Kylie Minogue)

    "The UAD Shadow Hills Mastering compressor just kills it on vocals.”

    Adam Hawkins

    (50 Cent, Maroon 5)

    "The [UAD] Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor plug-in has character and punch that no other plug-in has ever been able to achieve!"

    Frank Filipetti

    (James Taylor, Rod Stewart)

    “What a beauty! The variations in sonic signatures from the [UAD] Shadow Hills Compressor plug-in are astonishing.”

  • Eric Persing


    "The new [UAD] Shadow Hills Compressor plug-in is the most hi-fi sounding stereo buss compressor I've ever used. [It has] amazing clarity and low-end punch.”

    Jeff Balding

    (LeAnn Rimes, Faith Hill)

    "Versatility and character for days! You can't make it [UAD Shadow Hills compressor] sound bad, no matter how you set it.”

    Jay Messina

    (Aerosmith, John and Yoko Lennon, Cheap Trick)

    “The [UAD] Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor plug-in has the warmth and musicality of an analogue piece of gear. For a device with so many sonic possibilities, it is very user friendly.”

    Dean Coleman

    “The [UAD] Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor plug-in sounds incredibly accurate and gives me the tone I need, especially on my drum buss!”

    David Miles Huber

    “HOLY #%^@! The new [UAD] Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor adds warmth and richness to a mix…even without any added compression. Seriously, I think my mastering chain just changed.”

  • Paul David Hager

    (The Goo Goo Dolls, Avril Lavigne)

    “Whatever you put the [UAD] Shadow Hills compressor plug-in on it just makes it sound better. Great way to warm up and fatten any mix.”

    Jose Cancela

    (HBO Sports, NFL, UFC)

    "The UAD Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor will work wonders on your mastering buss, group channels, as well as your individual tracks. A true game-changer.”

    Mark Needham

    (The Killers, Neon Trees, P!nk)

    “The [UAD] Shadow Hills plug-in is replacing my 670 on the stereo buss. The two sides allow me to accomplish what I was using multiple compressors to achieve.”

User Ratings

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Average Rating (228 Reviews)
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    I use it
    by B. thompson(Wednesday 6 May, 2015)

    On everything! on every track Read More

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    Absolute Special!
    by M. Altieri(Wednesday 6 May, 2015)

    excellent machine but is set well, once you find the right balance between opto and vca have the sound you are looking for. I do not exaggerate with the compression try the "glue" of the sound, and trying find it!It has its own sound to me or you love him or hate him. I personally… Read More

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    Great Mastering Compressor
    by T. Subpleng(Monday 13 April, 2015)

    I choose Shadow Hill in First Custom Bundle set 299$ . Easy to use 2 compressor in 1 and 3 output transformer . It use little bit dsp. I can many plugin in Group bus . Very good Plugin . Read More

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    Smooth, loud, beautiful, a bit complex
    by . (Monday 6 April, 2015)

    I demo'ed this, and when (if?) this goes on sale it will be mine. The price is steep for me. The sound is great though. It does take a bit to figure out how to use it though. I absolutely LOVED this on mixbuss. Read More

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    • 5 Star
    Subtle Mix Bus Glue
    by M. Fudge(Friday 3 April, 2015)

    This is not a tool for squashing and smashing stuff. Although I'm sure it can do that (I've never tried yet) what it really shines at is mix bus processing with 1-2dB of gain reduction on each side. The transformer switching is nice but it is subtle (like the real thing) and you're going to… Read More


  • Charlie Andrew

    As the artful studio helmsman behind British folk-hop sensations Alt- J — and their 2012 Mercury Prize-winning album, An Awesome Wave — producer Charlie Andrew found himself the recipient of Britain’s Breakthrough Producer of the Year Award for 2013. Read More

    Tom Salta

    Renowned video game composer Tom Salta details how he uses UAD plug-ins to craft award-winning scores. Read More

    Joe Zook Mixes OneRepublic and Serena Ryder

    WIth multiple platinum-selling records under his belt, Zook is one of the industry's most sought-after mix engineers. Read More


Features & Specs
Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor Plug-In.
Key Features
  • Meticulous emulation of the Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor, licensed and endorsed by Peter Reardon
  • Created by Brainworx, developed exclusively for the UAD Powered Plug-Ins platform
  • Separate Optical and Discrete (VCA) dynamics sections for two-stage serial dynamics control
  • Separate Threshold and makeup Gain for each dynamics section
  • Fixed Ratio, Attack and Recover settings within the Discrete section
  • Transformer matrix switches between Nickel, Iron, and Steel output transformers — like selecting between 3 distinct vintage console outputs
  • 90 Hz sidechain filtering for musical compression of low-frequency program material
  • Large, accurate VU meters provide Optical, Discrete, or Output gain views
  • Custom presets created by Shadow Hills founder and designer Peter Reardon
  • Requires UAD-2 DSP Accelerator Card or Apollo Interface, available from authorized dealers worldwide

See the UAD Instance Chart here

Optical Section
  • Optical Threshold: 1-24 clockwise rotation increases the amount of Optical gain reduction
  • Optical Gain: 1-24 clockwise rotation increases the amount makeup Gain and overall level
  • Optical Bypass: In/Out
Discrete Section
  • Discrete Threshold: 1-24 clockwise rotation increases the amount of Discrete gain reduction
  • Discrete Gain: 1-24 clockwise rotation increases the amount makeup Gain and overall level
  • Discrete Ratio: 1.2:1, 2:1, 3:1, 4:1, 6:1, Flood (past infinite), are the orders of magnitude that the gain of the Discrete compressor is reduced as the threshold is increased
  • Discrete Attack (ms): 0.1, 0.5, 1, 5, 10 correspond to the amount of time in milliseconds it takes for the Discrete cell to react to the incoming signal at the level of the threshold or above.
  • Discrete Recover (sec): 0.1, 0.25, 0.5, 0.8, 1.2 and Dual (imitates the two-stage release characteristics of the Optical cell)
  • Discrete Bypass: In/Out
Transformer Switching Matrix
  • Nickel: The cleanest position with the least distortion. This position has a subtle accentuation of ultra-high frequencies
  • Iron: This position has an additional Class-A amplifier section adding even-ordered harmonic distortion, resulting in a very musical upper low frequency boost
  • Steel: The most distorted of the selections, with an extremely tight boost in the low frequencies
  • Sidechain Filter: Flat/90 Hz 6 dB per octave filter removes frequencies below 90 Hz from entering the dynamic sidechain
  • Meter select: Optical gain reduction, Discrete gain reduction or Output
  • Dual Mono/Stereo: Selects between Dual Mono or Stereo linked operation
  • Hardwire Bypass: Disables/enables all DSP processing

Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor Manual

Apollo Software Manual (Thunderbolt)

Apollo Software Manual (FireWire)

UAD Plug-Ins Manual

UAD System Manual

UA Product Catalog