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BussCat – Stereo Mixbus Compressor

(19 customer reviews)

£470.00£560.00

The Nekotronics BussCat recreates the classic sound of vintage SSL mixing desks in the the 500 series format.

If out of stock, back orders are allowed. Please expect 5-10 working days for backorders to ship

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Introducing the Buss Cat

The latest compressor from Nekotronics and the first 500 series module released.

The Buss Cat takes the original rack version of the popular Nekotronics SL4000 MK2 mixbus compressor and squeezes it down into 500 series. This differs from the rack version in a few ways but retains some of the best features. All of this comes in at an unbeatable price, by far the cheapest 500 series SSL style buss compressor available. The Nekotronics BussCat recreates the classic sound of vintage SSL mixing desk compressors in the the 500 series format.

Taking up 2 500 series slots, the BussCat mixbus compressor operates in stereo and offers classic VCA based compression that is famously suited to the mixbus but just as useful on drums, guitars or anything else you want to squish.

The infamous snap and glue from the SSL original mixing desks are present, giving you the ability to add that finishing touch of class to your mixes. Plenty of control is available with 6 ratio settings, variable attack and release, alongside auto release. The high pass filter takes care of the bass, allowing more bass heavy music to benefit from VCA compression. It allows the bass to move through the sidechain without causing pumping effects. Get your 808 kicks out! Boom!

Short history of mixbus compressors

Engineers & producers have long pondered & traded secrets of mixbus processing. Going back as far as the 1960’s, the legendary Fairchild 660 valve compressor was used on the mixbus (known as 2buss back then) & mastering of hit records.

Everything changed in the mid to late 1970’s’s when SSL (solid state logic) introduced the first SSL4000 mixing console. The console featured many forward thinking features but one we’re focusing on here is the “quad compressor”, also known as the G series compressor or affectionally named “the glue”

This compressor sat in central master section of the console & offered clean VCA compression on the mixbus. This gave engineers & producers immediate control over the dynamics of their mixes before ever reaching the mastering stage.

The SL4000 series console went on to be a huge success & became the industry standard throughout the 1980’s & into the 1990’s. Far too many hit records across so many genres have been made on SSL consoles. A big part of that sound is the compressor and it became known for adding the finishing touches to a mix, adding a glue type quality but remaining snappy, punchy & dynamic.

At the heart of the compressor is the VCA’s. This is the core sound of mixbus compression & is present in other famous compressors such as the DBX 160’s & API 2500. VCA compression just seems to work so well on the mixbus!

6 ratio settings

Sporting the classic 2, 4 and 10 to 1 ratio settings but adding 6 and 8 to 1 for more flexibility. 1.5.1 ratio is available for mastering purposes

High pass filter

4 high pass filter (HPF) settings to sculpt the compression reaction to bass. A key feature for modern music

Auto release

Let the compressor do the work with auto release. This discrete circuit automatically switches between fats and slow attack in response to the musical peaks

Backlit meter

VU meters are sexy but backlit ones are even sexier. Buss Cat’s meter shows how much compression is happening. Endlessly entertaining to watch

Mixbuss glue

Classic VCA compression adding glue and punch to your mixes. The finishing touch to many great mixes.

Variable attack and release

Featuring variable attack and release controls to really dial in the punch the hold of the compressor to your music.

More than just a clone… adding new features

The Nekotronics BussCat could have taken the easy route & just cloned the hardware. Instead we took what we thought was great about classic VCA mixbus compression & came up with solutions to the problems, bringing the design into the future to meet the needs of the modern day producers.

Many of the features are requested from producers & engineers from years of feedback building the SL4000 compressor.

Keeping the sound authentic

First up & most importantly is the sound! We Use THAT VCA’s, designed by THAT corp (formed by DBX employees) as a replacement to the DBX “gold can” & “black can” 202 VCA’s, which have become unobtainable since discontinuation many years ago.

These VCA’s sound fantastic & are very reliable. This was DBX’s own solution to the problem of extinct parts. We’ve tested them against “gold cans” & found no real world indistinguishable differences. It’s worth noting that the THAT corp VCA’s were also quieter & had much better tolerances, meaning better stereo compression.

Turbo mod (stereo sidechain)

The BussCat has a stereo sidechain, also known as the turbo mod in the rack version. This allows a superb stereo image and smooth compression with wide mixes. This is more expensive to implement but offers a more authentic sound. We also calibrate the feed of each sidechain to ensure the stereo image is perfect.

Additional ratio’s

The BussCat has the classic 2:1, 4:1 & 10:1 ratio settings but we’ve added more at the request of customers. Theres now 6 ratio settings 1.5:1, 2:1, 4:1 6:1, 8:1 & 10:1. This makes the compressor more flexible, particularly with 1.5:1 being useful for mastering. We also calibrate our ratios, tuning up each BussCat for action.

High pass filter

One of the major set backs with VCA’s compression & a lot of early G Bus clones was the problem of bass. The original design could cause pumping effects in response to bass. As modern music is more bassey in general something must be done!

The BussCat takes care of this problem with the addition of a High pass filter in the sidechain. This offers 5 settings off, 60Hz, 90Hz, 130 Hz & 200 Hz. These frequencies were chosen by feedback from producers. 808 kick drum ready!!!

Continuous Attack & release controls

One of the interesting features of the BussCat is the changing of the attack & release controls from stepped setting switches to pots. This gives you full control across the spectrum from the attack & release controls.

Whilst stepped switches are nice, the timings were set decades ago and modern music can benefit form more flexibility when taming new rhythms emerging in new music styles.

Super fast attack & release

A side benefit to the change of continuous attack & release is you get super fast attack & release timings. This can introduce more harmonics & even some over drive with right audio material.

Smashing drums with this settings is very fun & almost 1176 character territory.

Customise your cat

Customise your knobs

Knobs are available in a rainbow of colours, appealing to all tastes and styles.

Customise your buttons

Buttons are available in 4 different colours, white, grey, red and black.

Hand built with high quality components

Each compressor is fully hand built from start to finish and tested in the UK. We use high quality components such as Wima poly caps, Panasonic FC “gold” elec caps, 1% tolerance resistors, THAT VCA’s, Alpha pots and lorlin switches. Everything is chosen for the best audio quality possible and durability.

Nekotornics hardware uses through hole components, which are easier to repair. We want these pieces of gear to last the test of time. We are passionate about building high quality gear & use the same circuits & processes as our higher end rack compressor, the SL4000 MK2. A lot of attention to detail is applied & we think it pays off.

Before shipping every compressor has a 24 hour monitored burn in to ensure all parts are working and stress tested.

Weight 1.1 kg
Colour way

Red, Black

Knob cap colour

Blue, Red, Orange, Black, White, Grey, Green, Yellow, Purple, Pink / Lupin

Button colour

White, Gray, Black, Red

19 reviews for BussCat – Stereo Mixbus Compressor

  1. Steven (verified owner)

    It is flexible with the different ratios and high pass so you can leave bass and not get the pumping.
    Very pleased with it so far, I am enjoying using it on the mixbus. It adds a nice heft or solidness and brings everything together so its dancing as one.
    I go fairly subtle, but then when bypassed that is when you miss it! I am now finding excuses to run more stuff through this with more extreme settings before we get to the mixbus. It is such a lot of fun, and it feels very solid. Very good quality pots, and the movement of the VU meter is great. For the money this is a bargain for the quality and features.

  2. Mike Lawetto

    By far one of my most favourite analog compressors I’ve tried. The glue that this thing adds regardless of how much GR you’re hitting is amazing. When I shot out 10 VCA SSL styled compressors there were three that caught my ears. Two of them were priced above 2k. The other was the BussCat. I use the BussCat on everything I do. It’s currently sitting on my two bus chain where it gets used 99% of the time. You can hear its gooeyness on the soundtrack for BBCs The Split Season 3. Excited for what Nekotronics does next

  3. Nath Chinn (verified owner)

    Lives on my mixbuss, really underrated for the money

  4. Leon del Muerte (verified owner)

    Put this on the drum bus and BOOM! magic. It did take a tiny bit of fiddling to get it to sit right in the rack, but once it was in there, I can’t imagine ever taking it out.

  5. TomJ

    Absolutely love it. Very high quality for the price & sounds amazing!

  6. Eduardo Lopez (verified owner)

    It’s a must on my mix bus, I prefer it to most plugins, The 1.5 ratio sounds creamy on acoustic mixes and I feel it slightly widens the mix in a very pleasant way, I love the HPF options and the auto release, I find it very flexible. Can’t beat the price.
    PD: You have a cat watching over you over the VU meter.

  7. Tony

    Loving it so far, surprised me how it enhances the stereo field which the plugin does not. Does the glue sound very well. Ordered black colour, which was out of stock but delivered very quickly.

  8. SH

    very good compressor on the 2 buss. Quick delivery & Gray helpful over email. Thumbs up from me.

  9. Mke J

    Love it 🙂

  10. Jean-Philippe ROGER (verified owner)

    I love it. My mix are better with this compressor

  11. Don Lawski

    Love my new compressor. Early Christmas present to myself and its already paying off on my mixes / masters. Luv the cat logo too. Thumbs up.

  12. S luben

    It purrrssss nicely 😁

  13. Chrissy KP

    I first found Nekotronics a few years back & had Gray make me one of his rack compressors. I find myself back again after needing a 500 series compressor. The busscat does not disappoint & is very similar in sound quality to the rack model. They both sound excellent. One star deducted only due to not having transformers in the busscat vs the rack model.

  14. Maximilian Dreyer

    Working well on my mix buss combined with Rupert Neve 532 tape sim. Gives great punch but clean compression. Very happy

  15. Addie J

    Loving it so far. Far better than a plugin & i’ve tried a few.

  16. Matúš Enver

    Sounds fantastic. Clean compression but with a bit of good character, not bad compression artefacts. Paired with SSL Ultraviolet EQ in a Midas L-10 chassis with no issue.

  17. Tom Chesterton

    Great sounding compressor. Made my mix come alive with bit more life vs plugins. Arrived quickly to the US.

  18. Stan M

    Solid compressor from Nekotronics. Have tested a few TK audio, SSL, Stam. All great…

    This ones staying for good. Would like a white one 🙂

  19. Stephen (verified owner)

    Very nice compressor. Great value for money.

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