Massey Plugins have recently released the new CT5 compressor plugin, which is very much based on the earlier CT4 but with a few tweaks and added features. As with all of Massey’s plugins the CT5 is very clean sounding, simple to use and inexpensive.
If you are already familiar with the CT4 then you’ll notice straight away that there are a couple of new additions to the front of the CT5. The red limit button on the left toggles the plugin between two different knee and ratio settings. With the limit mode off the compression curve has a very soft-knee and a ‘normal’ range of compression ratios, whereas switching the limiter on has a much higher compression ratio and a harder knee. Behind the scenes, Massey have also tinkered with the innards of the CT5 to give you higher compression ratios than you could get on the CT4, even without the limiter in.
The blend dial on the right is the other obvious change to the CT5, and is an excellent idea. Being able to dial in some of the uncompressed signal from within the plugin makes parallel compression incredibly easy and instantly accessible.
What you can’t see from the picture is that you can now assign a side chain input to the plugin, which combined with the limiting option makes it a much more versatile plugin than the CT4.
The CT5 sounds just the same as the CT4 in its basic compression mode, and it’s still just as easy to set up thanks to the all in one compression dial which controls both the threshold and ratio. With the limiter off the CT5 works nicely on vocals and guitars, staying clean and unobtrusive, and playing around with the limiter and attack settings will give really punchy results on bass and drums etc.
If you want to be able to have precise and individual control over the knee, ratio and threshold then the CT5 probably isn’t the right choice, but if you want a compressor that you can just plug in and have working and sounding good straight away, then it’s pretty much perfect.
As with all Massey plugins, the CT5 is free to demo for as long as you like. Upgrading to the full version at $75 will enable extra features like automation, session settings recall and linked-stereo amongst other things (and includes the CT4 for free!). If you already own the CT4, you can upgrade for just $3 – which of course you should immediately!