Hey there internet! Today I will be reviewing the Fabfilter Pro-C 2. What is C2? It’s Fabfilter’s newest version of their popular Pro-C compressor line. Now, I still consider Pro-C among the best compressors on the market even today, so I was very curious to find they had made a new and improved version.
I will start off by listing some of the new things Pro-C2 has over the old version and what I thought of them in my time using them. For those of you who have never heard of Fabfilter’s Pro-C series before, I will have a more general review of the compressor at the end of the review.
So probably the biggest new feature is the addition of 5 new compressor styles to the 3 that were present in the previous version. These new styles are Vocal, Punch, Pumping, Bus, and Mastering. I used all of these styles in my last few mixes and found them all to generally react the way you would expect by their names. The “Vocal” style was nice and smooth with its compression and didn’t make “essing” more apparent like most compressors tend to do. The “Punch” style I found great on drums. It’s very good at bringing the transients down without adding any unwanted clickiness to the drum tracks. Pro-C2’s Auto Gain worked quite well at making sure the balance was just right, seemingly taking in to account other things going on in the compressor other than the actual level.
The “Pumping” style I generally don’t use much when I mix. There is a lot of reasons for this, but one of the main reasons is that I just don’t like actual sound of something pumping in a mix unless I’m working on something like EDM. I did check it out though and it is probably the most useable pumping I have gotten from a compressor to date.
The biggest factor with Punch and Pumping styles to consider is making use of Pro-C2’s side chain EQ. This might actually be my personal favorite feature on Pro-C2. Being able to side chain and EQ the signal being processed by the compressor is ingenious and I’m surprised it’s not a lot more common. I have seen compressors have roll offs before but not straight up EQ’ing and man, does it make a difference in a mix. For example, I compressed the overheads of my drum track. I wanted to bring out the cymbals a lot more but didn’t want to affect the other lower parts of the drums. Using side chain EQing I was able to control what frequencies got effected by the compressor and how much. You can kind of think of it as a form of multi-band compression. And of course, you can do this with any of the compressor styles. I found it useful in many different aspects like mastering and bus compression.
The last 2 styles are Bus and Mastering, and they are pretty much what you would expect. The Mastering style is great for gluing a mix together and the Bus style is great at dealing with different tracks being fed into it. Bus was another place I found side chain EQing really handy.
The update includes many improvements to features found on the old version, such as retina resolution interface, x4 oversampling, wet/dry settings, range, and hold settings to name a few.
But, what do I think of it overall as a compressor? At the end of the day it depends on what you are looking for in a compressor. In a time where people seem to be clamoring over plugins that model vintage gear, Fabfilter’s Pro-C2 stands on the other end of the spectrum. Instead of trying to create faithful digital representations of vintage compressors, they decided to innovate. To try and make something vintage compressors or even modern day compressors can only dream of doing. To top it all off, Fabfilter consistently have the best user interfaces across their entire line of plugins. No plugin looks better and is as easy to understand like Fabfilter plugins are. That is one hell of a feat considering how much depth a plugin like Pro-C2 has.
Ok, this review has gone long enough. Should you get it?
If you are more into classic style compressors and vintage sounds, Pro-C2 has styles that mimic vintage compressors but its really not what you should be using something like this for. It’s not gonna saturate the way an 1176 does when you run it too hot or have the little bit of warmness a Fairchild might add to the sound. If these are important features to you, then maybe look elsewhere.
If the features of Pro-C2 that I mentioned above sound like things you would really love and appreciate in a compressor then it my very well be the one for you. It’s a compressor that can pretty much do it all, and be among the best in the process.