Kush Audio is the hardware and software enthusiasts who freely bend the physical laws. With unique plugs such as UBK-1 and Clariphonic DSP in the luggage, the company has warmed the hearts of many sound carpenters in recent years and now it’s time again: Pusher, the dream tool for you who dare to push the creative boundaries. A slightly crazy creation that mixes distortion and compression in a whole new way.
At first glance, Pusher may seem a little confusing with its futuristic and detailed look. But despite its abstract exterior, the design under the shell itself is anything but random. On Kush Audio’s website, there is also an easy-to-understand overview for those who want to know exactly how the signal is processed (https://thehouseofkush.com/pages/manual-pusher). Furthermore, there is a so-called “Cheat mode” which means that each part of the plug is explained directly in the interface. The very heart of Pusher is the “magnetic equalizer” – Four nameless knobs (metal cores) that are mixed to the desired effect: Nickel, Iron, Cobalt and Steel. These are in turn controlled by the “Flux drive” (the large round steering wheel on the far left) which determines how much staining / distortion is given. The entire signal is then forwarded to the limiter / compressor for further processing. According to the plug manufacturer himself, each of the four cores has its very own character, but mainly comes into its own when mixed. And this is exactly the strength of Pusher: Everything affects everything, mix, test and experiment. The more you dare to screw, the more fun it will be.
First, think about what you want to get out of the plug. Is it distortion, overcompression, or maybe a total sound distortion?
Then place the Pusher on any mono or stereo channel and start with “Flux drive” in neutral mode. Then continue screwing on one or more of the four eq knobs: The bottom two have a slightly more earthy and woody sound, while the top two are more aggressive, modern and “in your face”.
Then turn on the Bias (the small knob with the flash) and listen for the desired distortion and clarity. Then go back and fine-tune the whole with Flux-drive.
Turn on the limiter (the horizontal slider at the far right) and set attack and release with the two (at the bottom) of the three small knobs next to the vu meter. Three modes are available: slow, medium and fast. Then continue to set the threshold (the top of the three) and look at the vu meter: Aim for the meter to peak around 0db (red). Here you can really shape the sound, from very transparent to total compressor crusher.
Finally, adjust the output (the large dial on the far right) to the appropriate level and compare with the unprocessed signal by pressing the bypass button. Clear!
Pusher is a fun and different tool. Maybe nothing for the absolute beginner or for the person with steering wheel phobia. But for you who have come a little further in your music creation and are not afraid to experiment with sound. Personally, I think Pusher is great for getting a bass track to stand out a little extra in the mix, or why not shit down a boring song or synth shot? Drums are also noticeably cockier. For whole mixes, however, there are much more suitable alternatives for compaction and dyeing (for example UBK-1 or Soundtoys Decapitator). This is not to say that Pusher does not work on the master, it’s entirely up to you. A fully functional 10-day demo can be downloaded from Kush Audio’s website and is available in most formats for Mac and PC.