Major Tom is not your ordinary compressor, no sir! It was designed with very specific goals in mind, and blew completely past them. We like Major Tom…can you tell?
Major Tom is intended to be easy to use: there are no attack and release controls…the values vary depending on the level of the signal relative to its threshold. These values are very finely tuned to make it as musical as possible, without requiring a wall full of gold records to hit the right settings.
The attack/release settings are inspired by one of the true “stealth” vintage compressors, the dbx* 160 – you’ve heard it on hit records time and time again. Musicality: That’s the second key. Major Tom WILL pump, but it should do so in a musical, rhythmic manner.
Put it on vocals gently for smoothing…nice. Put it on bass, but don’t go overboard…buttah. Put it on drums and go berserk…SMACKIN’.
If you pull lots of gain reduction, it’s going to turn into a savage, funky, living, breathing, pumping instrument of destruction, but use it gently and it will be nice and transparent, adding a subtle gloss to your tracks.
Those looking for utterly transparent gain reduction need not apply.