Korvpressor review – Klevgränd Produktion add a compressor/limiter to their iOS music app line-up

Download from iTunes App Storekorvpressor logoI’ve reviewed Vandelay, SquashitSvep, Roverb and Enkl from Klevgränd Produktion previously on the blog and, in each case, was hugely impressed with the creative possibilities that these apps provide. They are also very very competitively priced and any of these would be worth including within your iOS audio app collection.

Klevgränd Produktion have launched a new iOS audio effects app today; Korvpressor. Given the main title, there are no prizes for guessing what the app is intended to do…. yes, Korvpressor is a dynamics app, offering a sort of ‘maximiser/limiter/compressor thing’ (well, those were the words used by developer Johan Sundhage when he supplied me with a pre-release version of the app a few days ago). However, the full title of the app is ‘Korvpressor – smart dynamic hotdog device’…  so (a) this is not going to be your standard (and maybe slightly dull) compressor in software and (b) it’s obvious Klevgränd Produktion have some fun around the office :-)

Make some squash

Klevgränd Produktion seem to specialise in rather minimalist – but rather elegant – user interfaces and Korvpressor hits that particular characteristic pretty much head on. As such, what you get here is a single main screen with six controls and two buttons; if you have always found traditional compressors (hardware or virtual) to be a bit confusing, then Korvpressor might be just the app for you.

Korvpressor - an easy-to-use dynamics processor for iOS.

Korvpressor – an easy-to-use dynamics processor for iOS.

Indeed, with an initial launch price of UK£3.99, and with support for iOS7.0 and later, and at only a 2MB download, Korvpressor might be an app for almost any iOS musician who happens to own an iPad. And with Audiobus and IAA support from the off, it should also be very easy to slot straight into your usual music production workflows.

Let’s deal with the simple controls first. You get a 3-band EQ section via three rotary knobs so you can tweak the tone of the resulting audio output. This is useful to have and, while it is not as flexible as some iOS EQ options, it gets the job done in a simple fashion.

In terms of the two buttons, these provide a Bypass toggle (useful so you can check exactly what the processor is doing to your audio) and the Lookahead option. I’m not sure exactly what is going on here aside from the obvious; when engaged, Korvpressor might add a little delay to the output it generates so that it can ‘see’ the dynamic range of the incoming audio a little bit in advance and accommodate the processing that might be required. I’m not sure how long this delay might be but it is probably very short (measured in a few ms) as it really didn’t feel terribly noticeable in use. However, I suspect the processing is a little smoother with Lookahead enabled.

The button with the three sliders on it opens up the save/load options where you can store presets…. otherwise, the only other controls are the three elements of the dynamics processor itself; Input, Squeeze and Output. At the time of writing, I don’t have access to any documentation about Korvpressor but my suspicion is that these three controls are actually manipulating more under the hood than their simple labels might suggest. Equally, the settings of the three controls seem to interact with each other….

If you push the Squeeze control harder then you can really get things pumping!

If you push the Squeeze control harder then you can really get things pumping!

What this all means is that, while the Input control does, indeed, feed a louder signal into the compression process, it wouldn’t surprise me if it actually does something more than that. The same applies to the Output control….

What I’m less clear about is how the Squeeze control contents those two other controls together…. Yes, if you apply a little more Squeeze then, in effect, you are setting a higher compression ratio but, again, I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a little more to it than that (maybe Johan will drop by and let us all know?) and this might include some adjustment of the compression release time? To repeat, there is something a bit different about the approach to compression/dynamics control within the design of Korvpressor…

You could, of course, get a bit picky about this craving a little extra control or, alternatively, you could just embrace the simple control set, and enjoy what the app does to your audio. I opted for the latter route and, in about 10 seconds flat from first launch, Korvpressor was doings its thing to my audio very nicely thank you.

Korvpressor includes both Audiobus and IAA support.

Korvpressor includes both Audiobus and IAA support.

That ‘thing’ can be quite gentle providing you don’t get too extreme with the Squeeze setting. And, if you raise the Input and Output levels a little, you seem to be able to generate a rather nice level boost without too many obvious audio artefacts. Applied to a vocal or even a stereo mix, the results can be very pleasing in an instant ‘louder’ or ‘more in my face’ sort of a way.

However, if you push the Squeeze control further… and then ramp up the Output level, you can really get things pumping quite well. Applied to some electronic drums, this can create some real punch… just be careful not to go too far with the Squeeze control or you can really flatten things out (although that’s a nice special effect for occasional use).

Give someone else a squeeze

Given that Klevgränd Produktion are now pretty much old hands when it comes to iOS audio effects apps, it will come as no real surprise that Korvpressor behaved itself very well when used within both Audiobus and via IAA.

I did most of my own testing via the latter using Cubasis as my IAA host. The app sounded great when used as an insert type effect of almost anything – drums, guitar, vocals, for example – and while it is perhaps not an app for surgical control of dynamics, for an pretty much instant dose of loud-and-proud or to get something to really stand out in a mix, Korvpressor is a pretty good tool to have around.

Used to process individual audio sources such as vocals (as here), guitars or drums, Korvpressor can add some nice punch.

Used to process individual audio sources such as vocals (as here), guitars or drums, Korvpressor can add some nice punch.

Used as a ‘master’ effect placed upon the main stereo output of Cubasis, the app also does a decent turn at pumping up your final mix. Again, I perhaps wouldn’t choose it for processing a delicate guitar/vocal singer/songwriter project but for something for the dance floor, it can certainly give your mix a bit of a lift. Indeed, the sound is a bit addictive so do use that Bypass button to keep checking just how hard you are pushing the app.

In this latter role, Korvpressor is kind of acting as a maximiser and, yes, it really can add some level and a sense of ‘louder’ to a mix. This is, of course, also what the mastering process is all about and, if you want more sophisticated control over this stage (and the learning curve that goes with it), then apps such as Final Touch and Audio Mastering are always available as a more specialised and comprehensive solution. For a quick fix, however, Korvpressor is just the thing.

Korvpressor can also do a turn placed across your stereo output buss.

Korvpressor can also do a turn placed across your stereo output buss.

What else?

I’m not sure if Korvpressor really needs anything else over and above its mimimalist current feature set. It strikes me that the design ethos is very much about keeping things simple for the user and, to that end, Klevgränd Produktion have hit the nail on the head. You can do ‘subtle’ if you want – just don’t apply too much Squeeze – but, actually, I think the character that Korvpressor brings when you push things a little harder is when it is at its best. This is a dynamics processor that is not only easy to use but also has a bit of personality to its sound.

I could perhaps cope if there were a couple of extra control options…. maybe even with some numbers to deal with that allow me to set the various parameters more precisely. It might also be nice if you could re-set the EQ dials to their neutral 12-o’clock position by double tapping. Otherwise, I think it’s just best to take Korvpressor for exactly what it is intended to be; a simple, but characterful, dynamics processor.

In summary

There is not much else to say about Korvpressor. It is very easy to use and experiment with and, providing you don’t push things too far (OK, you can do this if you are going for something closer to a special effect treatment), then the results can be very good indeed. As a dynamics processor it perhaps sits in the more ‘characterful’ category rather than the wholly ‘transparent’ category but that’s no bad thing if you want to get an element of your mix to really stand out.

Klevgränd Produktion specialise in simple, elegant, minimalist iOS music apps and Korvpressor is exactly that. Not the most comprehensive of feature sets you will find in a software dynamics processor by any stretch of the imagination but that’s not the intention. However, Korpressor is full of character and, with a launch price close to the price of a high street hot beverage, is well worth any iOS music app addict adding to their app collection. However, that launch price is only going to be available for a short while so do grab your copy of this ‘smart dynamic hotdog device’ sooner rather than later :-)

Korvpressor



Korvpressor – smart dynamic hotdog device from Klevgränd produktion on Vimeo.

 

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    Comments

    1. I never had any issues with IOS 8 in terms of audio latency on my then iPad 4 16gb but then I never went crazy and set my music apps to ultra low latency. Normal setting was fine. Now I’m using iPad air 2 but I still keep the latency setting on normal. Apogee jam guitar interface, iRig midi and blue mikey.

    2. Note: “Korv” is the Swedish word for sausage… :-) (cf. the hotdog reference)

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