It’s pretty much a compression Swiss army knife—versatile and fits any source seamlessly
The Tube-Tech compressors have been receiving a lot of love lately. Warm Audio have just made their WA-1B clone of the CL-1B and now Softube has gone ahead and released their recreation of the Tube-Tech SMC-2B. Who knows where the battle started, but without a doubt we’re all here for it.
Tube-Tech gear is made by Lydkraft (Danish for Sound Power), a small 6 person company founded in Denmark in the 70s. The Tube-Tech SMC-2B, released in 2000, was the world’s first tube multiband compressor.
The Softube Tube-Tech SMC-2B presents us with 3 bands, each with the same functions, threshold, ratio, attack, release and gain. The bands are defined by emulations of two valve driven crossover filter knobs on the left side of the unit which define the width of the high band and the low band, and as a result, the mid band.
The low crossover can also be increased using a multiplier to extend the range of the low band. The two stereo channels can be linked or unlinked, and/or made to work as mid/side.
The band mute switches sitting across the bottom panel are extremely useful. These aren’t on the original unit but they’re such a welcome addition for nailing down exactly what each band is doing and really honing in on the compression acting on your source.
I also loved the gain knob on each band, gaining up the high band is super helpful for adding some high end shine to a vocal.
I don’t love using this term but this thing is a bit of a swiss army knife for your compression needs. You can whack this on pretty much any kind of source. It’ll manage individual sources, buses or you can use it to give your whole master bus some squish. You can even just set all your bands equally and use it like a CL-1B.
I typically avoid multiband compression in my mixing unless I feel like it’s an absolute must to tame a pretty wild source. But I could definitely imagine reaching for the SMC-2B on a whole bunch of my tracks.
I think this is largely due to the simple three band layout. I don’t feel like I’m somewhere halfway between an EQ and a compressor with the SMC-2B, it still feels like a hardware compressor, just with the ability to get a bit more nitty gritty.
You can pick up the Softube Tube-Tech SMC 2B at the moment for 209 USD on an introductory offer. It’s also available as a part of the Tube-Tech Complete Collection also on intro offer for 419 USD. If you wanna learn more about the SMC 2B check it out on their website.