Review: Tri-Comp Multiband Compressor from Minimal System


Last week we reviewed the Dreamscape Space Generator, also from Minimal System. We came to the conclusion that the Dreamscape was one of the best reverb plugins in its price range, and as would be expected – the Tri-Comp also lives up to this standard!

The Tri-Comp is a simple and effective mixing and mastering tool. The problem with having a bad mastering plugin is that it affects your whole mix! If you’re using a nasty reverb on a single instrument, it’s still going to sound bad, but at least it’s not over your whole mix.

This is why using quality plugins can really pay off, and the Tri-Comp is a great choice.

Features – Why Should I Buy This?

I’ll be honest, I haven’t used 100’s of multiband compressors in my life, but I have used enough to know when something’s good and isn’t.

The first thing I noticed is how simple the design is. Ironically; Minimal System live up to their name by making their plugin’s design ‘Minimal.’

I learnt how to use multiband compression with Izotope Ozone, and it was incredibly daunting and confusing – I had no idea where to start! Fortunately the Tri-Comp has a logical and straight forward design, and if you know how to use standard compression then you’ll find this a blast.

VU Meters


Yes, there are other multiband compressors that have VU meters, but a lot are well above the standard bedroom producer’s price range.

Because the Tri-Comp is based off an analogue compressor (1176), it would be heresy to not include VU meters. Whether there is a benefit to them or not is debatable, but it certainly helps to have some sort of display.

The Tri-Comp allows you to switch between two ‘VU Modes’, which is always helpful when visually monitoring your compression.

Analogue Modelling

It’s always nice to have a few analogue emulations in your plugin collection. Two reasons:

  • They normally sound great, add a nice color and tone
  • You feel awesome using them

Like I said above, the Tri-Comp is based off the 1176 compressor (well, three of them combined). If you’re not sure of the 1176, then I suggest doing some Googling – you won’t be able to resist buying this afterwards!

Low CPU Usage

Let’s be honest, there are many mastering plugins out there that completely eat up CPU. Multiband compressors are a huge culprit of this.

Minimal System Instruments pride themselves on the fact that their plugins have incredibly low CPU usage. Normally I’m skeptical when companies advertise this, because often it’s not the case (and it’s something that can be explained away quite easily).

I didn’t run into any problems while using this. I even ran it on top of a finished track of mine which wasn’t rendered out, had 50+ tracks, and the whole thing ran absolutely smoothly!

Band Selection

Band Selection

It’s always nice to have a visual, spectrum-like band selection. It’s not hard to turn knobs and look at numbers, but there’s just something about visually being able to see where each frequency band is cut off.

Again, this plugin shoots for simplicity. You won’t see any filter options, or resonance settings on the band selector (though it’s probably better off that you don’t on a multiband compressor, unless you really know what you’re doing.) To set the bands, you can either drag each point to the desired place, or scroll up on the High Band and Low Band settings.

Ease of Use

This really does come under the ‘Features’ section, because it’s the biggest selling point for me.

This thing is incredibly easy to use, I mean, there’s no point in even having a manual for it.

Everything is labelled very clearly, and it’s obvious what each parameter does.

The only thing that took a while for me to get was the ‘threshold’, or setting the point where the compressor starts acting. After a couple of minutes I worked out how to do it. In this aspect it’s a little different from most compressors that have a single threshold knob.

Despite this, some may find it a lot easier to use input and output settings.

Sound Quality

Okay, let me say this.

This plugin is £39.99 ($62.50US) at its regular price, at the moment of writing it’s £19.99 ($31US). For this price, the sound quality is fricken great.

Being modelled on an analogue compressor, it will probably color your sound a bit. So if you’re not after a sexy, warm sound then this might not be the plugin for you (but you should still get it anyway, because it has VU meters and stuff).

If you’re still not convinced, why not download the demo and find out for yourself?

Who’s it For?

I’d recommend this plugin to anyone who’s competent in using multiband compression, and also those who are learning it.

I wish I’d had a plugin like this when I was learning, it would have made the process a lot easier. It has the essentials, and that’s it. No extra unnecessary fluff causing confusion, just the basics.

If you’re looking for a quick to use, easy to understand, and very well-priced bus/master compressor, then this is for you.

Purchase the Tri-Comp Multiband Compressor

The Tri-Comp Multiband Compressor is currently on sale for $66.99, and can be purchased here.

Note: Purchasing this plugin will give you MSI reward points which can be used to purchase other products.

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