Reviewed: BABY Audio I HEART NY Parallel Compressor

Subscribe to Mixdown Magazine

Reviewed: BABY Audio I HEART NY Parallel Compressor

Pardon the pun, but there are very few products out there that can do what this baby can do! You won’t be able to unhear its unique tone and colour – packing a load of punch to whatever sound you send through its doors. BABY Audio’s debut software plugin release is going to fix all of your flat sounding mixes.


If you’re scratching your head pondering the namesake of this plugin, New York-style compression, also known as parallel compression, is a form of compression whereby a duplicate track is created, heavily compressed and mixed back alongside the original unprocessed signal. It can take some time to work your head around, and it’s quite difficult to manually execute well on the fly, making the I HEART NY compressor a nifty little tool for a range of purposes.


It’s a wonder why we haven’t seen more products like this already – the software takes care of everything as it recreates the true workflow of parallel compression without all the hassle. This means there’s no need to worry about latency issues on digital tracks or creating parallel chains and secondary buses, keeping your workflow straightforward and possibly saving you invaluable studio time.



Parallel compression is typically used to really power up low end frequencies in your mix, as such is most commonly used on bass and drum tracks. Having said that, the transient-friendly envelope and integrated EQ within the software will provide any input with a much fuller, rounder sound. Use it for anything from tightening your vocal track to pounding so much beef into your bass you could serve it with chips and salad. I found it to really sharpen up hi hats too – delivering a crisp quality that’s hard to achieve otherwise.


The I HEART NY’s stylish interface is incredibly user-friendly and provides instant, effortless results. To begin, crank the SPANK knob to punch up the duplicate signal, bring up the fader to increase its level and adjust the OUTPUT as desired – the well-crafted algorithm does all of the delicate blending for you!


To get the best sound you will find the knobs usually need to be adjusted until the levels are just starting to hit red. The left meter indicates the input signal and the right shows the combined output. What’s more, by simply clicking the ‘solo’ button, the unprocessed signal will be cancelled out and the plugin can be used as an ordinary compressor, letting you really put the SPANK algorithm to the test. However, to really SPANK the mix, you’ll often have to heavily reduce your output or wildly over-compress your tracks, which will sometimes sacrifice some of the natural sound your track initially had.


If there’s any qualms with the I HEART NY compressor, it’s that for some users it might even be a bit too simple. It’s not a plugin that provides endless creative capabilities – some users may feel a bit slighted by the limited controls of the interface, and in one instance I found myself having to set the parameters in order to suit the track, rather than using the software to sculpt your mix to how you want it to sound. It also lacks the ability to set numerical thresholds, ratios and attack/delay times. This is something you can’t expect in such a specialized entry-level product, but it probably won’t replace your tried-and-true compressor of choice.


Nevertheless, the I HEART NY compressor will significantly improve the production value of your tracks without having to throw hundreds of dollars on high-end plugins, state-of-the-art hardware or an award-winning mixing guru. It is well suited to anyone looking for a cost effective method of compression that greatly exceeds any stock valued product, and will be an excellent addition to your library when you want to add an irreplaceable boldness or a bit more depth to your mix – particularly towards the final stages of production.


There is a free demo version available from BABY Audio’s website right now so there are no excuses for not checking it out – a download link is instantly sent to you via email and installing the software is straightforward for both Mac and Windows operating systems. It is ready to use with all DAWs and comes in VST, VST3, AU and AAX formats. You can also listen to the audio demos while you’re on the website if you’re still not convinced – we are.