The Compressors That Almost Made The Cut

When the JST team started brainstorming ideas for the Bus Glue collection, we knew we wanted to make bus compressors that could be applied to specific instruments with controls optimized for those instruments.

At the same time, we needed to limit the options to a manageable collection, which meant picking the ones we thought the audio community could get the most use out of. We ended up narrowing it down to 6 core compressors:

· BG-Drums
· BG-Vocals
· BG-Guitars
· BG-Keys
· BG-Bass
· BG-Mix

Some of these were a given – when you think of bus compression, most people immediately think of the glue on their master fader or some punchy, parallel compressed drums. Others had a lot of growth potential, especially when it came to adding different modes for each one.

Then there were the rejects.

A subset of Bus Glue compressors never passed from our brainstorming sessions to the development phase. Here are some of our top runner-ups:


I don’t think this one would’ve been too far outside of the realm of possibility, if not for the fact that each variant listed has so many different musical attributes it would make your head spin.

Classical & Orchestral music usually consist of full bands in their own right, even though they’re treated as a group in most modern music production. You’ve got woodwinds, brass, strings, percussion – the list goes on and on.

Even within the subset of Strings, you’ve got staccato and legato bowed sounds, plucked sounds & more. These different techniques each come with very unique dynamic characteristics. At the end of the day, we’d be limiting plugin users by creating a single “BG-Strings” compressor.

Recommendation: If you’re looking for something to treat orchestral instrumentation, consider bussing your orchestra to an aux track and using BG-Mix on that track. This gives you the flexibility of applying full mix-style compression to the group separately from the rest of your instrumentation.

For things like violins, both BG-Guitars and BG-Keys have some extra controls that work well with stringed instruments. I would use BG-Guitars for something a bit grittier, and BG-Keys for something subtle but gooey.


BG-Leads was almost a contender as a more aggressive type of compression than BG-Vocals that could handle lead vocals and lead instruments. Conceptually, it was something that could be applied to anything to add a bit of bite and some harmonic distortion. Sound familiar?

It should, because we already built it.

Gain Reduction Deluxe has been doing exactly what I look for in a lead vocal compressor for years already. For vocals that don’t need to be as in your face (or as a supplement to Gain Reduction), BG-Vocals inherited pretty much all of the features that would’ve gone into a BG-Leads plugin.


If you haven’t seen or heard of the Otamatone, you might be living under a rock. Here’s a picture of the shrill, squeaky instrument that’s somewhere between a gag gift and legitimate instrument:

With something so unique, why wouldn’t it deserve its own Bus Glue plugin?

Frankly, I couldn’t handle the hours of testing that would be required to build that plugin. Listening to Otamatone music for the entire development process? No thanks. There’s just one problem… Fluff is still hooked on the idea.

He hasn’t stopped listening to Otamatone music since we started the discussion. He’s been making due with BG-Keys as you can see in the video, but the thirst for BG-Otamatone is still there.

Where Do You Stand on the Issue?

What do you guys think? Do we give in to his demands for more Otamatone-focused dynamic control with a new Bus Glue plugin, or should we make him continue using BG-Keys if he insists on mixing Otamatones?

Come choose your side in the Joey Sturgis Forum.