Shadow Hills “Mastering Compressor” Studio Marvel for Audio Maestros
Step into the world of audio mastery with the awe-inspiring Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor, a five-rackspace studio behemoth that has become the stuff of legends. Crafted by the enigmatic mastermind Peter Reardon at Shadow Hills Industries, this remarkable piece of audio hardware is revered for its unparalleled ability to temper dynamics and tame transients like no other mastering compressor in history. From a velvet touch to an iron fist, the SHMC’s capabilities have made it the go-to compressor for iconic artists such as Muse, Green Day, Gnarls Barkley, Coldplay, John Mayer, and Regina Spektor. UAD, now in partnership with Brainworx, Shadow Hills Industries proudly introduces the Mastering Compressor as an exclusive UAD Powered Plug-In, bringing its majestic and flexible dynamics control to audio maestros everywhere.
At its core, the Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor boasts a world-class signal path with stereo or dual mono operation. However, its true genius lies in its two-stage dynamics control system, featuring an Optical section followed by a Discrete (VCA) section. Both sections can be bypassed independently, effectively offering three distinct compression sounds (Optical, Discrete, and combined) in one single unit. The Optical section is program-dependent, offering Threshold and Gain settings with a two-stage release time reminiscent of the classic LA-2A compressor. It gently tames dynamic range and elevates overall levels, providing a velvet touch to your music.
On the other hand, the Discrete section takes charge with a more aggressive sound, granting precise control over gain, threshold, ratio, attack, and release. By blending these two sections together, the Mastering Compressor unleashes a wide range of tones, from subtle beauty to powerful intensity, making it a versatile tool for recording, tracking, mixing, and mastering.
What sets the SHMC even further apart is its switchable Output Transformer Matrix, featuring three distinct options: Nickel, Iron, and Steel. Each transformer type offers a unique frequency response, distortion characteristics, and transient limiting. You can switch between “clean” (Nickel), “colored” (Iron), and “dirty” (Steel) outputs, effectively allowing you to audition the output sections of three vintage analog consoles at your fingertips. Notably, transformer selection is independent from the dynamics sections, providing even more tonal possibilities. Audio transformers are the key components that impart tone to audio signals.
In practice, the Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor’s capabilities shine across a variety of applications. From sultry female vocals treated with gentle Optical compression, sidechain filter out, and Nickel transformer selection, to adding massive character and punch to drum sounds with the Discrete VCA section and Steel transformer, the SHMC brings creativity and character to any audio project.
“Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor" Extended Video Review by Pro Tools Expert | YouTube Video
Published in November 2012: Pro Tools Expert “Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor Extended Video Review ”, by Pro Tools Expert. Russ takes a look at the UAD Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor, giving extended review and feedback on the UAD SHMC Plugin.
For mastering engineers, the SHMC offers subtlety and finesse. Dial in 1dB of Optical gain reduction and 2dB of Discrete gain reduction, set a ratio of 1.2:1, an attack time of 30 milliseconds, and a recover time of 0.1 seconds. Engage the 90 Hz sidechain filter and select the transformer matrix to your taste. Alternatively, you can bypass the Optical and Discrete sections, and let the signal pass through the transformer matrix only, just for the rich color it imparts.
In conclusion, the Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor is a studio marvel that elevates audio engineering to an art form. With its unrivaled dynamics control, flexible tonal options, and legendary sound, this masterpiece from Shadow Hills Industries opens up a realm of creative possibilities for audio enthusiasts, producers, and mastering engineers alike. Prepare to be inspired and enchanted by the magic of the Mastering Compressor, a true gem in the world of audio craftsmanship.