Overview

Smooth optical compression for tracks and groups
Mixland’s Vac Attack is an analog-modeled optical limiter plugin that’s intended to control the dynamics of individual tracks and groups. The vacuum tube saturation circuit introduces harmonically-rich warmth and character to vocals, drums, basses, and your stereo bus.

Based on a discontinued hardware unit
Vac Attack is based on a coveted hardware unit that was discontinued in 2020 and has since skyrocketed in value. The plugin was developed by Grammy-award-winning mixer Jesse Ray Ernster and coding ninja Eddie Lucciola.

Focus on changes in character, not changes in loudness
The Gain Link feature provided by Vac Attack links the value of the Reduction knob to the value of the Gain knob. Increasing the amount of gain reduction applied leads to an increase in makeup gain. As a result, you’re able to make level-matched A/B comparisons and focus on the beautiful character provided by this optical limiter plugin.

Non-linear gain reduction that sounds natural
Vac Attack uses an optical design that centers around a digital emulation of a light source and a light-dependent resistor. As the plugin’s input level increases, the light source brightens and causes the resistor to apply compression. Using the plugin's Knee control, you can fine-tune the rate at which the compression ratio is applied, leading to organic non-linear gain reduction.

High and low shelving EQ for easy tone shaping
A two-band push EQ with two modes, J and E, allows you to shape the tone of your tracks after compression has been applied. Whether you're looking to add warmth to your lows or sparkle to your highs, these EQ modes provide the flexibility you need. Toggle the center frequency of the LF push filter between 52 Hz (J) and 230 Hz (E). Additionally, toggle the center frequency of the HF push filter between 4.4 kHz (J) and 10 kHz (E).

Avoid pumping effects with a built-in sidechain EQ
Vac Attack includes a sidechain EQ that filters the signal running through its sidechain circuit. Using a high-pass, bell, and low-pass filter, you can affect the sidechain signal in various ways. By filtering out audio material that would otherwise trigger the limiter plugin at inappropriate times, it’s possible to dial in tight and controlled limiting, free of unwanted pumping effects.

Control tube saturation and harmonic content
Vac Attack's Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) feature adds a layer of harmonic richness to your audio, giving it a fuller sound that’s present within analog hardware. This feature is perfect for adding character to sterile digital recordings. Use it subtly for a touch of saturation, or crank it up for a more aggressive, distorted sound.

Channel linking/unlinking for detailed stereo control
By default, Vac Attack applies equal gain reduction to the left and right channels to maintain a balanced stereo image. If you're working with dual-mono audio or a balanced mix, channel linking can remain engaged for uniform processing. Unlinking the channels helps you avoid pumping effects when processing stereo files with vastly different left and right channel information.

Features

  • Smooth optical compression
  • Vacuum tubes that deliver warmth, grit, and character
  • Organic non-linear gain reduction
  • A Knee that affects attack and release times
  • Automatic makeup gain
  • Two push EQ modes: J and E
  • Three-band sidechain EQ
  • Total harmonic distortion
  • Left-right channel linking/unlinking
  • Up to 16x oversampling
  • Artist and user preset libraries
  • Scalable user interface

Audio Examples

Industry Reviews

  • Gerhard Westphalen

    Gerhard Westphalen

    Grammy-Nominated Mastering Engineer (Burna Boy, Leigh-Anne, Adekunle Gold)

    Vac Attack gives you a level of creaminess and depth you won’t find anywhere else. From subtle to over the top. Jesse has outdone himself with this… Read More

  • Noah “MIXGIANT” Glassman

    Noah “MIXGIANT” Glassman

    Grammy-Nominated Mixer (Amaarae, Burna Boy, Doja Cat)

    Vac Attack helps me get grit and attitude out of stems while mixing. The THD knob helps me dial in the aggression of the plug-in and the EQ sounds great!

  • Jesse Ray Ernster

    Jesse Ray Ernster

    Grammy-winning Mixing Engineer (Doja Cat, UMI, Burna Boy)

    Vac Attack is simply built different. When I push into this thing, it adds strength, juicy analog character, and depth to the sound. It’s is an instant classic.

     

  • Andrew Maury

    Andrew Maury

    Multi-Platinum Mixer/Producer (Shawn Mendes, Lizzo, Post Malone)

    Vac Attack is proof that ITB mixing can sound and feel very expensive.

     

  • Dim Chord

    Dim Chord

    DJ, Producer, Mixing-Mastering Engineer

    Vac Attack gives that magic tube movement to the sound, especially on mixbus & groups! At the same time creates a harmonic rich & sweet balance to the sound especially on the mids! Sidechain… Read More

Customer Reviews

  • Hidden Gem indeed

    ★★★★★
    by spiritvegetable
    Ok, this just replaced most of my bus compressor duties, bringing control, polish and girth. It has pretty much everything I'm looking for in a sculpting tool: grab (reduction/gain), behavior… Read More
  • Vac Attack!

    ★★★★★
    by Mitt
    I have a subscription to PA and I've got a boatload of their products. If used correctly, they are all good for whatever purpose you might be using them for.
    This plugin is exceptional. I used… Read More
  • Instant Favorite Limiter!!

    ★★★★★
    by Chuck
    This one is like no other I've used and is closest to analog that I've ever heard. The reaction to the controls is as smooth as the compression itself. It really feels and sounds like I'm running an… Read More
  • Fat Phat

    ★★★★★
    by Phat Monkey
    If you want to beef up your drums or bass then this will do it, turn the knobs gently, with great power comes great responsibility...
  • Dynamize with warmth...

    ★★★★★
    by Synthitize
    Dynamizes the sound (better than some compressors) and gives it “warmth”: Very good for finalizing a mastering!
    It mainly affects low frequencies... Thanks to it, the synths/basses… Read More

Specifications

Supported Plugin Formats
AAX Native, AU, AAX AudioSuite, VST3

Supported Operating Systems
macOS 14 down to macOS 11
Windows 11 down to Windows 10

Mac
Intel or Apple Silicon architecture

PC
x64-compatible CPU

System Requirements
Display resolution: 1440 × 900px or 1280 × 960px or higher
Memory: 2 GB RAM

 

Downloads

With the Installation Manager you can select, download & install all the Plugin Alliance products. Select any and all formats you need for your system! Mac & PC.

ChangeLog

Vac Attack

Mixland Vac Attack - Changelog

Version 1.0.0 (Sep 25, 2023)
- Initial release