Review – Waves H Comp Hybrid Compressor

Waves Hcomp Hybrid Compressor

In the last couple of months I’ve noticed that the Waves H Comp Hybrid Compressor has become one of the first compressors I choose when I need to shape the dynamics of a sound, and give it some character.

Character is what this plugin is all about: H Comp Hybrid Compressor is a dynamics processor that combines the modeled behavior of transformers, tubes, and transistors. I wouldn’t call it a compressor with a sheer focus on sounding ‘vintage’ though. Making this compressor sound vintage is optional. In addition to the usual controls you’d expect from a decent compressor, it has some very welcome controls that make it very ‘2011’. I’ll focus on these controls in this review.

The Controls That Make It a Hybrid

  • Punch Control : Should you lose any transient information, because of an Attack value that’s too small, you can use the Punch control to bring the transients back. But why not just increase the Attack a little? Good question! I suspect the Punch Control is more than just an Attack override. Increasing the Punch control either sounds like blending in a noise-gated version of the untreated signal, or a version of the untreated signal where peaks in volume are accentuated. So you can actually have both transients that are too small and the original transients, mixed together. Having that choice is a good thing.
  • Dry/Wet Mix: For Parallel Compression. Compression is easily overdone. Quickly blend some of the untreated stuff back in with this control. Not a unique feature (Logic Pro’s Compressor has this too) but it’s nice to have it on the main panel.
  • Analog Switch: Choose between 4 Analog Modes which correspond to sound qualities which are associated with analog hardware. Exactly what analog hardware Waves is referring to, is unclear. It’s got an Off mode too, in case you prefer the no vintage characteristics whatsoever.
  • BPM Sync Mode: The compressor’s Release time can be synced to the tempo of your DAW which in many cases will save you time finding the right Release time. When BPM Sync Mode is enabled, the Release control’s scale changes to note length (from 1/64 all the way up to 2 bars). A very handy feature. Switch back to manual (BPM) or MS mode though if you need to have it sound early or late.

H-Comp has automatic-makeup gain, so the same approximate level for the both the uncompressed and compressed signals are maintained. It also offers an Output Limiter and supports external sidechaining.


waves hcomp presets

Don’t forget to run through the preset menu of this plugin, especially if you’re still a confused about compression in general, and Punch control, Parallel Compression make your confusion worse. Fire up a couple of these presets, look at the settings and everything eventually will fall into place.

Waves Hcomp Hybrid Compressor is avaiable in the Wavestore.

iLok authorization is required.

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