GetGoodDrums is an impressive new company. Their purpose built Smash and Grab drum compressor brings a surprisingly fresh, intuitive, and musical plug-in to the table in an already extremely crowded market. Releasing a new compressor in 2019 takes guts!
At first, when I saw the name, I thought to myself “oh great - another compressor that’s going to squeeze/squash/crush the drum sound that we will then be told will sound great when dialed up on a parallel drum bus”. That couldn’t be further from what this plug-in does.
They have a fresh take on the interface that hits the right balance between being able to effect important parameters, while not overloading the user with complex inadequately deployed minutiae.
So what is unique about this compressor? To start with, there are preset algorithms named for each drum that you dial in. Each is carefully optimized with the optimal parameter ranges and hundreds of under the hood tweaks. The compressor operates in one of two modes, based on either FET or VCA algorithms. The Smash mode adds weight and size, while the Grab mode adds attack and impact.
In practice, this compressor is very easy to dial in. There is a really sweet sounding pre-compression low-end EQ called “Beef”; optimized for each of the drum types, as well as a high-end post-compression EQ knob called Air. The saturation knob offers a full range of overdrive from subtle warmth to break the signal apart distortion. The auto make up gain, input/output link controls, and mix knob round things out nicely, making it easy to get a great sound with minimal fuss. There is also a nice side chain filter section with additional controls to subtly adjust how the compressor responds to either the low end or the high end.
Rather than slap this across a multitrack drum track with a solid and simple backbeat and kick drum pattern, I wanted to test this plug-in out with something different. It’s easy to smash a drum sound, over compress it, and then dial it in with the mix knob. In this video, you’ll see and hear how it works on more nuanced and complex drum parts; that use grace notes, dynamics, fills, rolls, etc.