ZamComp - MOD Devices

Damien Zammit

A powerful mono compressor strip. Adds real beef to a kick or snare drum with the right settings.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Is there anybody with some experience or more insight on this compressor who can answer me two questions.

What is the slew rating doing exactly ?
How does the sidechain control work ?

I don’t know what “slew” is… but I know sidechain…

When you turn on the sidechain the compressor uses material coming in from the sidechain input for detecting when it should compress. It does not use the audio coming in the regular input. The audio coming into the sidechain input does not go through.
So… Witht he sidechain on, the compressor will just let audio through the unit untouched when nothing is coming into the sidechain input. When audio in the sidechain is loud enough and crosses the threshold level (set by you) then it will compress the audio going through.

You can test this by running a steady tone through the plugin. With the sidechain on you will hear no difference.
Plug in another source like a kick drum sample (you can use the sequencer plugin into a drum plugin and into the sidechain input) and you will hear the steady tone pulse. The sound will duck. (This is assuming you have the threshold set to a level that the kick drum will cross)
You can play with attack and release settings to hear the way those work with the pulsing.

Here are some applications for the sidechain:

  • In the studio a bass guitar may be sidechained with the kick so that the bass will duck when the kick is hit. Allowing the kick (on another channel) to come through better.
  • run the same sound but with the low end filtered into the sidechain. Many times you don’t want low end to trigger the compressor so that low end comes through naturally and the compressor kicks in when the upper frequencies get too loud.
  • de-essers - Like the example above, send the annoying sibilance frequencies into the sidechain and set the threshold to compress when that frequency gets too loud to make a de-esser.
  • EDM - Need I say more?

I am thinking of using it as an effect so that my chords will swell with a beat or a bass signal.

So much you can do with sidechain…

I’ve used side chains before - and yours is a really great explanation (and thank you for your tricks)… but the ZamComp has just one input. So there is no sidechain input. Or is the screenshot of the plugin wrong ?

My question was what the control sidechain from 0 - 1 is doing. Is it the input signal and processing it ?

I’ve looked at the source code and it seems the slew is somehow working with the attack of the compressor (maybe for a more gradual start of the processing). I hope I have some time this weekend to play with the compressor.

1 Like

The screenshot is wrong…
I pulled the plugin into my pedalboard and there is a regular input and a sidechain input. In the settings the Sidechain control is either on or off… that must be the 1 or 0 in the description.

There are some compressors out there that have a sidechain knob. This is usually just a highpass filter feeding into a sidechain internal to the unit. Works just like the second example I gave… so the low end doesn’t trigger the sidechain.

@Skydiver and @brusch the problem regarding the incorrect screenshot of the ZamComp plugins has now been fixed.

1 Like