Year/Date of Issue: 12.2020
Developer: Kush Audio
Developer website: thehouseofkush
Format: VST, VST3, AAX
Bit depth: 64bit
System requirements: Host with support for VST, AAX format plugins
Description : Kush Audio Silika: A digital compressor that sounds as good as analog.
Kush Audio uses a few big words to advertise Silika, their new compressor plugin. They state that they have “completely closed the gap between analog and digital” and that Silika is “acoustically identical” to the types of equipment they are modeled upon. Has Kush Audio achieved the unattainable?
Kush Audio is not an emulation of any particular hardware compressor. Instead, he tries to recreate the sound of “one particular flavor of vintage compressors that clip nicely” in a plugin. The developer claims that it sounds “just as good” as if you were using analog hardware.
Silika is a combination of a diode saturation/distortion stage and a compressor. The signal first goes to a diode stage which is based on a 1973 Compex ADR input and output transformer emulation and a 1969 Neve 2254 diode-bridge gain reduction circuit. For diodes, you can choose a zener diode or germanium. Under the hood, according to Kush Audio, is an “extremely complex harmonic distortion generator.” The large input knob controls the diodes, allowing you to achieve anything from subtle saturation to coarse organic distortion. There is also a blend knob for mixing dry and rich signals.
The compressor offers four selectable ratios (2:1, 4:1, 12:1, 20:1), attack and release. As with some vintage compressors, you can use the input knob to control the compressor and set the desired compression ratio, as well as to control the diode motor. But there is also a threshold knob that allows you to control the compression independently. The compressor also offers mixing control, but it should be noted that instead of mixing the compressed and dry signals, it mixes the compressed signal with what comes out of the mix knob in the diode section.
For the internal sidechain, Silika offers a high-pass filter and boost function, which is a bell EQ (equalizer) that boosts the sidechain signal up to 9dB at the selected frequency. The plugin also supports external sidechain signals, but the HPF and Boost functions are disabled in this case.
If you’re looking for an even more aggressive sound, the fury button “literally multiplies everything by 10,” according to Kush Audio. In Fury Mode, Silika produces even more complex distortions and even faster attack and release times than in Standard Mode.
The level meter is an adaptation of the tri-meter display from the hardware company Tweaker. It displays input and output levels, gain reduction, or all three at the same time.
Kush Audio makes some pretty bold claims about Silika that are perhaps a little exaggerated. But from what I’ve heard so far, the plugin does sound really good! It’s definitely worth checking out.