BRA SC-5 VCA Compressor Review BRA SC-5 VCA Compressor Review
Black Rooster Audio’s SC-5 VCA compressor pays homage to the 70’s version of Ashly’s SC-50 Blueface compressor which has long been coveted by engineers... BRA SC-5 VCA Compressor Review
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History Lesson

Black Rooster Audio’s SC-5 VCA compressor pays homage to the 70’s version of Ashly’s SC-50 Blueface compressor. This early Blueface version of the VCA circuit was coveted amongst engineers – even over the later 80’s Blackface model, mainly for its versatility and unique musicality; think the Shure SM7 vs SM7B. The combination of its modest price

and all around usefulness led this compressor to wind up in many professional and project studio’s of the day. Although this unit could clean up like many VCA’s out there, it had a saucier flavor than most when driven. The BRA SC-5 faithfully reproduces this circuit and adds some modern features the original never actually had.

In Use

The unique character of this compressor is particularly noticeable on electric guitars. Using the plug-in’s Auto Gain Compensation feature (right clicking the input gain), allows you to boost the input gain whilst automatically adjusting and compensating the output gain. This provides a way to crank up the compressor’s saturation without overloading the output. The result gives a nice woolly top end and mid presence to your electric guitar tone. This is useful in accentuating fuzz tones in particular. As wonderful as the SC-5 works on electric guitar, this feature also works quite well on bass guitar, snares and kick drums – in conjunction with a smooth release time.

Because it’s a VCA compressor you can dial in exceptionally fast attack times, grabbing the early transients in a drum kit or auxiliary percussion including shakers and congas. Moreover, to my ears this circuit works best using subtle compression, providing a more suitable variety of uses in that lane. As mentioned previously, when mildly driven the plug-in retains a nice musical presence that’s never overly harsh and imparts a tone that I found particularly pleasing. It however would not be my first choice for modern transparent sounds or for use as a hard or brick wall style limiter.

Audio Examples

CONCLUSION

Though the SC-5 can be used to “crush” using parallel compression on a drum buss, I found it works even better at tightening up and taming dynamic material, while adding a nice color. This gives the SC-5 a unique place in the overly saturated (pun intended) pool of compressor plug-ins out there. It’s price, for what it offers is also a no brainer. As the SC-5 finds it’s way into my sonic arsenal, I plan on using this compressor a great deal going forward and it may wind up on some previous mixes as well!

“…this gives the SC-5 a unique place in the overly saturated (pun intended) pool of compressor plug-ins out there.”

Price and Availability

The Black Rooster Audio SC-5 VCA Blueface weighs in at $79USD/75€ but is on special right now for $49USD/46€ and you can download a 14-day trial here or purchase directly here.

The Black Rooster Audio SC-5 VCA Blackface weighs in at $79USD/75€ but is on special right now for $49USD/46€ and you can download a 14-day trial here or purchase directly here.

Check out our news story about The Black Rooster Audio SC-5 VCA Blackface here!

Compatibility

Compatible on Mac:

Mac OSX 10.7 (Lion) or newer

VST, AU or AAX compatible host

(Display resolution of 1280×1024 pixels or more)

Compatible on Windows:

Windows 7 or newer

VST or AAX compatible host

(Display resolution of 1280×1024 pixels or more)

Sweet character compressor that has it's own unique sound. If you like colouration in different flavors then this one is for you.
  • Versatile VCA Compressor, excellent for transient material
  • Auto Gain Compensation adds unique saturation to sources
  • The Price
  • Does not shine as well in the role of a limiter
  • No 80’s blackface option
  • Auto Gain Compensation tricky with mouse

4 of 5

4 of 5

5 of 5

4 of 5

4 of 5

Brilliant competition to win Black Rooster Audio's SC-5 Blueface!

Winning yourself SC-5 VCA Blueface couldn’t be easier. We have One license for the best comment on this article (down below) and One license for the most shares on social media. Get busy!

Joel Gragg

Joel is a songwriter, guitarist and producer in Nashville, TN. His music interests range from Folk/Americana to Electronic and Electroacoustic Composition. Formerly an Audio Consultant for Sweetwater Sound and Technical Support agent for Yamaha/Steinberg he currently teaches Music Technology at Trevecca Nazarene University and is a freelance engineer and producer.  Joel has engineered sessions with members of John Mellencamp’s band and The Fray. You can follow his music on Soundcloud or Facebook.

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