The Vacuum - Poison Noises

Sep 02 2022
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poison noises the vacuum

The Vacuum by Poison Noises is an optical compressor that can subtly even out your dynamics or squash your signal for that funky feel.

All parameters that studio grade compressors have are on board here: ratio, attack, threshold, release and extra controls for volume and a high cut filter (tone).

I really like the range on the knobs of the Vacuum. Playing around with them, you can really hear what their job is. Here's a little explanation from my very limited point of view:

  • Threshold: How loud do you have to play until your signal gets compressed? Turning Collapse clockwise (CW) seems to lower the threshold, i.e. more compression.
  • Ratio: How much do you want to clamp down the signal once it's over the threshold? A high ratio (turn Magnitude CW) yields more compression. Maximum ratio clamps everything down to threshold level.
  • Attack: How fast should the compressor engage when you start playing? The faster your compressor engages, the more it will compress your initial attack. Turning Velocity CW results in a longer attack time, meaning you will hear "more" attack when picking or strumming. Turning it counter-clockwise (CCW) yields in a faster attack time, which squashes your attack and creates that squishy sound that is often used as an audible effect rather than a subtle sound adjustment
  • Release: How long do want your notes to ring out? When you play a note and let it ring, your signal level will go below the threshold at some point. The release time determines how fast the compressor will let go of your signal and let it die off. A long release time means more sustain. Turning the Drift knob CCW seems to increase release time and therefore increase sustain.

If you want to get into compressors, the Vacuum is a good starting point.

Recording Notes




Just the squashed signal from the main guitar track into the Catalinbread Soft Focus Reverb, fully wet.


  • A super simple drum pattern I programmed with the stock Roland CR-78 software drum machine in GarageBand
  • Kick and snare have some EQ, drive, compression and reverb (all stock from the plugin)
  • A percussion element was on a extra track with added delay and reverb, panned slightly to the right

The whole mix was "mastered" with exciter, limiter and very mild compression in the DAW.


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