RoughRider3 Compressor VST Plugin by Audio Damage: A Comprehensive Review

May 20, 2023

The world of digital audio production is teeming with a myriad of tools to help artists and producers create, modify, and perfect their sonic creations. Among the most vital of these tools are plugins – software add-ons that can greatly enhance the capabilities of audio editing software. One such plugin that has garnered significant attention and praise in the music production realm is the RoughRider3 Compressor VST plugin by Audio Damage.

What is RoughRider3?

The RoughRider3 is the latest iteration of the RoughRider compressor series that has been a favorite among producers worldwide. With over half a million downloads over its decade-plus lifespan, the RoughRider series has carved out a substantial reputation in the digital audio workstation (DAW) landscape.

In its third iteration, RoughRider3 extends its capabilities beyond its predecessors, offering an external sidechain input, the ability to turn off the built-in "warming" filter, and much more accurate metering. These updates make it a more versatile tool for producers while maintaining the signature characteristics that have made it popular.

Features and Usage

RoughRider3 stands out as a dynamic range compressor designed specifically for heavy-duty compression. It isn't a subtle, clean compressor – it brings a unique character to the audio it processes. The plugin warms up the audio signal, crushes its dynamic range while simultaneously adding punch and weight to it. Consequently, it shines when used on percussive material like acoustic drums and electronic beats, where it can give a distinct depth and punchiness. Yet, it's versatile enough to provide interesting results on guitars, basslines, and even vocals.

The new features in RoughRider3 make it an even more potent tool for producers. One major update is the addition of side-chain compression. This allows RoughRider3 to be triggered by an external audio signal – a technique often used in music production to create a rhythmic "pumping" effect. The addition of a high-pass filter in the side-chain signal path helps clean up the side-chain trigger signal, preventing erratic compression behavior caused by excessively loud bass frequencies.

Another notable update in RoughRider3 is the "full bandwidth" mode. This feature allows users to switch off the internal low-pass filters used for warming up the sound, making RoughRider3 sound more transparent. This option was not available in the older versions of the plugin, making it a significant improvement in terms of versatility.

RoughRider3 also introduces new input and output gain controls and gain reduction metering. It also offers input and output volume metering and volume graphs. All these enhancements make RoughRider3 a more versatile and user-friendly compressor without compromising its signature sound.

RoughRider3 is available as a VST, VST3, AU, and AAX plugin for all major operating systems, but keep in mind that only 64-bit digital audio workstations are supported.

User Experience

The RoughRider3 is applauded for its simplicity and ease of use, especially for beginners. It features only essential controls – Ratio, Attack, Release, Sensitivity and Makeup, as well as a Mix control for parallel compression, allowing users to adjust the dynamics of their tracks efficiently and quickly.

Additionally, it carries a bit of a vintage vibe and a unique warm sound that can come in handy in specific situations. With its limited features, RoughRider3 lets you focus more on the sound rather than getting lost in endlessoptions and controls. This simplicity speeds up the workflow, making the overall production process more enjoyable and efficient.


In a digital audio production world filled with an array of plugins, the RoughRider3 Compressor VST plugin by Audio Damage manages to stand out. Its simplicity, unique character, and versatility make it a valuable tool for both beginners and seasoned producers.

The new features introduced in the RoughRider3, such as side-chain compression, full bandwidth mode, and accurate metering, bring more versatility to the table without compromising its signature sound. Whether you're working on drums, guitars, basslines, or vocals, the RoughRider3 offers a quick, efficient, and distinctive way to shape the dynamics of your tracks.

Its user-friendly interface, combined with its unique warm sound and quick workflow, makes it a favorite among many producers. And with its wide compatibility across major operating systems and DAWs, the RoughRider3 is a tool worth considering for any digital audio production toolkit.

In conclusion, if you're looking for a compressor that offers simplicity, versatility, and character, the RoughRider3 Compressor VST plugin by Audio Damage is well worth exploring.