Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor

Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor


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The world’s most remarkable and revered audio compressor — available as a UAD plug-in.

The Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor plug-in for UAD hardware and UA Audio 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.

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.

Now You Can:

Mix and master with an 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

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 dynamic range. The Discrete section takes over where the Optical section leaves off, provides precise control over gain, threshold, ratio, attack, and release.

Switchable Output Transformers — Nickel, Iron, and Steel

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).

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

Customer Reviews

Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor

Overall Rating

l. morrish-thomas

October 6, 2019

Amazing master buss comp

Just sounds “pro”. Great versatile compression styles, and the transformer options can totally change the vibe of a mix


September 30, 2019


Being familiar with Shadow Hills hardware, I was amazed by this compressor.
Even if you're now familiar with the plugin which can be confusing at first without a little bit of knowledge about its capabilities, try a few of its presets. There are for example 3 presets for mastering from soft to loud (the middle one is pretty good).
It lifts all the right transients, frequencies, and gives this Shadow Hills' punch without distorting the signal even when you add your favorite limiter at the end of your mastering chain.

This compressor can easily become a game change in your approach of mastering compression. I highly recommend it.

b. sanchez chacon

September 26, 2019


Great compressor

D. Fornes Berenguer

September 4, 2019


Lo meterás en todos los buses y master, el opto da un tono que no has oido hasta que empiezas a estrujar el punch!!

i. sanver

July 28, 2019

Powerful compressor with a unique soundprint.

This one has a unique sound, especially in the low and low mid frequencies. Never used the hardware but used the ssl and vari mu hardware. This for me is some kind of a one trick pony when it comes to tone, when it works it works great. I cant call what it does as transparent at all. When it doesn't work, dont fiddle with it, take it out. Yes, I find the 2-in-1 compressor and the gain staging etc all very intuitive, but that doesnt mean it can be your final and only solution for mix buss processing. However if you're looking for that powerful low mid dark saturated sound, here it is young Hans.

J. von Matt

July 23, 2019

Pure love

I just love this machine. It works in every style and every place. You can do very smooth compressions, and your mix sounds lot better. And if tou want do something hardcompressions it sounds even better, style to style.

Master comp no.1 for me.

D. George

July 12, 2019

BIg and Wide!

Ahhhh.... makes the 2bus feel like a nice warm hug!

V. .

June 25, 2019

Best Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor

Welcome to Universal Audio.
If you need a great compressor on the master channel - this is the compressor.
I am very pleased with the work of this plugin.
Recommend to all.

R. Beehre

June 14, 2019

Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor

Have had this on my wishlist for awhile and now I have it I wish I had it sooner! I guess that's why they call it a wishlist.

B. Molbassin

June 4, 2019

Сәлем Қазақстаннан! Hello from Kazakhstan!

Thery amazing!!! thery cool! thanks for this great plugin

P. Barry

May 22, 2019

Master crafting!

Takes a bit of getting used to, but really does add a classy finish to a mix. Love that steel!

R. Clark

May 16, 2019

Love it!!!!!

I love this compressor!! This is the best one UAD has to offer.

m. clements

May 7, 2019


This mastering compressor is a must have

T. Funklord

May 5, 2019

This is a mighty fine compressor.

If the producers and mastering engineers you know personally use this thing, you should at least check it out. I did. Great on the drum buss or parallel, you can get a nice crunch out of your beats and breaks. It's a beast- don't let "mastering" in the title fool you.

Others may say it's not for smashing stuff, but I suggest giving it a try on a few sounds (soft synths) when experimenting...They're just waveforms. You can't hurt them too much :)

g. jerald

April 9, 2019

Shadow Hills mastering compressor

Shadow Hills mastering compressor is truly a monster. I use it on the master Fater at the end of all of my mixers. You can’t do better than this in a Compressor.

T. Franklyn

April 8, 2019


I tried the demo in my mix chain on a couple different mixes over the trial period. While it's not "bad" sounding, it isn't really amazing, not worth $299. I would pay $75, maybe $100. The UAD emulations are usually amazing, I've compared the Rev A directly to my own real unit and it's very close. The Fairchild is amazing! This is just missing some of that magic character. In several blind on/off shootouts it lost, even if it had the edge on loudness. Just not what I'm looking for.

M. Czyz

March 29, 2019

Solid sound and clear understanding!

I have never used a hardware from Shadow Hills but I think Mastering Compressor does the job perfectly! By having many options when mixing, mastering or simply colouring sound, this compressor is in my top three! When mastering - does the job! I also like the UI - Brainworx - well done! I love the compressor react to subtle changes and when it is pushed very hard! When mastering - Nickel is my favourite! Wicked tool!

J. Auguste

March 25, 2019


The tone and character this plugin puts out is amazing.

b. abdou

February 9, 2019

Shadow Hills compresseur

Excellent produit , très expressive

b. abdou

February 9, 2019

Shadow Hills compresseur

Excellent produit , très expressive