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Best compressor plugins - full review

Best compressor plugins

Audio compression is a crucial tool for every music producer or sound engineer who wants their work to sound polished and professional. Whether you’re trying to even out the levels of a vocal track, add sustain to a guitar riff, or glue a mix together, a good compressor can make all the difference. However, with so many available compressor plugins, it can be difficult to select the best one for your requirements.

 In this article, we’ll analyse and evaluate the most useful compressor plugins currently available. From classic analog emulations to cutting-edge digital processors, we will cover a range of options to help you find the perfect compressor plugin for your next project.

What is a compressor plugin?

A compressor plugin is a digital audio processing tool that reduces the dynamic range of a sound signal. It automatically lowers the loudest sections of the signal while raising the quietest parts, creating a more constant level. This is a crucial tool for music producers and sound engineers since it may enhance a mix’s clarity, punch, and balance. This can help to improve the clarity, punch, and balance of a mix, making it a vital tool for music producers and sound engineers.

If you want to read more about whats it compressor check in this article

Review of 7 Best Compressor Plugins

Antares Compressor​

best compressor plugins

Apogee Modecomp

vst compressor

U73b Compressor​

BlackAsh SC-5

vca compressor

Blue Cat Dynamics

best vst

+10dB Bundle

Antares Auto-Tune Vocal Compressor

best compressor plugins

Antares Auto-Tune Vocal Compressor is a powerful plugin designed specifically for vocal processing. Here are some of its key features:

  • Choose between two different compressor modes to best suit your needs.
  • Offers four different compression styles to help you achieve the sound you’re looking for.
  • A unique feature that uses machine learning to analyze your vocal track and provide suggestions for optimal compression settings.
  • Includes a modern side-chain feature that works seamlessly with the Auto-Tune pitch filter.
  • The WARM function adds a unique warmth and color to the sound, tailored to each of the four compressor styles.
  • Comes with presets designed by industry professionals to give you a starting point for your vocal processing.
  • Provides detailed tutorials to help you get the most out of the plugin.
  • Compatible with all major DAWs, making it easy to integrate into your workflow.
  • Optimized for use on Apple’s M1 chip, providing efficient performance on the latest hardware.

Customer reviews:

Customers have praised the plugin’s ability to create a polished, radio-ready sound with minimal effort. However, some users have noted that the interface can be overwhelming, and that it may take some time to learn how to use the plugin effectively.

Pricing:

Antares Auto-Tune Vocal Compressor is priced at $179. It is available for both Windows and macOS, and is compatible with most major DAWs, including Pro Tools, Logic Pro X, and Ableton Live.

Apogee Modecomp

vst compressor

Apogee FX Rack Bundle is a collection of high-quality audio plugins designed for use with Apogee’s Symphony Desktop and Element series audio interfaces. These plugins offer a range of processing options to help users achieve a professional, polished sound. Here are some of the key features of the Apogee FX Rack Bundle:

  • Includes EQP-1A, Opto-3A, ModEQ 6, ModComp, and Pultec EQP-1A plugins
  • Classic analog emulations with modern digital processing
  • High-quality sound and low latency performance
  • Intuitive interface with easy-to-use controls
  • Compatible with macOS and Windows operating systems

Customer Review:

Customers have given the Apogee FX Rack Bundle positive reviews, citing its high-quality sound, user-friendly interface, and compatibility with Apogee audio interfaces. Some have noted that the bundle is expensive, but feel that it’s worth the investment for the quality of the plugins.

Pricing:

The Apogee FX Rack Bundle is priced at $499 and can be purchased from Apogee’s official website or authorized dealers.

Audified U73b Compressor

Audified U73b Compressor is a plugin emulation of the classic German broadcast compressor U73b. It is designed to add warmth, richness, and character to your tracks and mixes.

Here are some of the major features of Audified U73b Compressor:

  • Emulation of the original U73b compressor with added features
  • Three switchable modes: German, Soviet, and British
  • Continuously variable attack and release times
  • Sidechain high-pass filter
  • Input and output gain controls
  • Mid-Side processing mode
  • Mix knob for parallel compression

Customer reviews:

Overall, customers praise the Audified U73b Compressor for its ability to add warmth and depth to their tracks, particularly on vocals and acoustic instruments. They also appreciate the flexibility of the plugin, with the option to switch between different modes and adjust attack and release times. Some users note that the plugin can be a bit CPU-intensive, but most find that the sound quality makes it well worth the investment.

Pricing:

The Audified U73b Compressor is available for purchase on the Audified website and from pluginfox website for $149.

Black Rooster Audio BlackAsh SC-5

vca compressor

The Black Rooster Audio BlackAsh SC-5 is a compressor plugin modeled after the legendary VCA-based compressor from the 80s. It features an easy-to-use interface with a classic look, and a range of versatile controls that allow for precise shaping of the sound. Here are some of its key features:

  • Modeled after the classic VCA-based compressor from the 80s
  • Features a sleek, vintage-style interface with intuitive controls
  • Includes adjustable attack, release, ratio, and threshold controls for precise shaping of the sound
  • Offers switchable sidechain filters and a mix knob for parallel compression
  • Includes an additional “Hi Pass” knob for further frequency shaping
  • Supports AAX, VST, VST3, and AU formats, and is compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems

Customer Reviews:

Overall, customers have given the Black Rooster Audio BlackAsh SC-5 high marks for its faithful emulation of the classic hardware compressor and its ease of use. Many have praised its ability to add warmth and punch to a mix, as well as its versatility in handling a wide range of sources.

Pricing:

The BlackAsh SC-5 is priced at $99, which is on the higher end of the spectrum for compressor plugins, but many users find it to be worth the investment for its exceptional sound quality and ease of use.

Blue Cat Audio Dynamics

best vst

Blue Cat Audio Dynamics is a comprehensive dynamics processing plugin that includes a compressor, gate, limiter, and expander. It is designed to help you achieve professional-quality dynamics processing for your audio tracks, and is suitable for use on a wide range of instruments and sources. 

Here are some of the key features of Blue Cat Audio Dynamics:

  • Four different processing modules: compressor, gate, limiter, and expander, each with their own set of controls and parameters.
  • Sidechain input for external control of the dynamics processing.
  • Advanced stereo features, including mid-side processing and stereo link controls.
  • A comprehensive user interface with real-time visual feedback and flexible routing options.
  • Wide range of presets for different types of instruments and processing scenarios.
  • Supports most common plugin formats, including VST, AU, and AAX.

Customer reviews:

Customer reviews of Blue Cat Audio Dynamics are very positive, with many users praising its flexibility, ease of use, and excellent sound quality. Some users have noted that the interface can be a bit overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, it is a powerful and versatile tool.

Pricing:

Pricing for Blue Cat Audio Dynamics starts at $129 for the standard version, with additional options available for more advanced users. Overall, if you are looking for a comprehensive and flexible dynamics processing plugin, Blue Cat Audio Dynamics is definitely worth considering.

+10dB Bundle

The +10dB Bundle is a popular compressor plugin that offers a unique approach to dynamic processing. Rather than simply reducing dynamic range, it adds 10 decibels of gain to the signal, effectively boosting the quietest parts of the audio without clipping the loudest parts. 

Here are some of the key features of this plugin:

  • Dual-stage compression with a unique gain addition feature
  • 3 different compression modes (Clean, Mean, and Peak) for versatile processing options
  • Simple, intuitive interface with real-time visual feedback
  • Sidechain input for advanced processing options
  • High-pass filter and mix knob for added control
  • Low CPU usage, making it ideal for use on multiple tracks

Customer reviews:

Customer reviews of the Boz Digital Labs +10dB Bundle are generally positive, with many users praising its unique approach to compression and its ability to add character to their mixes. The plugin is often described as easy to use and versatile, with the ability to add warmth, presence, and energy to any track.

Pricing:

The pricing for the Boz Digital Labs +10dB Bundle is $149, which includes both the +10dB Compressor and the +10dB Equalizer plugins. While this may be a bit pricey for some users, the high-quality sound and unique features make it a worthwhile investment for those who are serious about audio production. Additionally, Boz Digital Labs often offers sales and discounts, so keep an eye out for deals if you are interested in purchasing this plugin.

Things to consider when choosing a compressor plugin

When choosing a compressor plugin, several factors must be considered to ensure that you select the right one for your needs. Here are some key things to keep in mind:

  1. Compression type: Different types of compression, such as optical, VCA, FET, and tube, can produce different results. Consider which type of compression best suits your needs and the sound you are going for.
  2. User interface: A plugin with a clear and user-friendly interface can make all the difference in your workflow. Look for plugins with intuitive controls and visual feedback.
  3. Sidechain capabilities: If you plan to use sidechain compression, ensure the plugin you choose has this feature.
  4. CPU usage: Plugins that use a lot of CPU can slow down your system and cause mixing issues. Look for plugins with low CPU usage, or consider using external hardware compression.
  5. Compatibility: Ensure your chosen plugin is compatible with your DAW and operating system.
  6. Price: Compressor plugins can range from free to several hundred dollars. Consider your budget and the value you will get from the plugin before purchasing.
  7. Sound quality: Ultimately, the most important factor to consider is the sound quality of the plugin. Look for plugins with a transparent sound that doesn’t add unwanted colouration to your audio or ones that can add a desirable character or warmth to your sound if that’s what you’re after.

Wrapping Up

Take the time to consider your audio production needs and use the above factors to choose the compressor plugin that’s right for you. With the right plugin, you can achieve a polished, professional sound and take your mixes to the next level.

FAQs

Q: What is a compressor plugin, and why do I need one for my music productions?
A:
A compressor plugin is used in music production to control the dynamic range of audio signals, resulting in a more polished and professional sound.

Q: Can I use a compressor plugin on any instrument or sound source in my mix?
A:
Yes, a compressor can be used on any instrument or sound source in a mix, from vocals to drums to guitars. However, using the appropriate compressor settings for each source is essential to achieve the desired effect.

Q: What is the difference between an analog emulation compressor and a digital processor compressor?
A:
An analog emulation compressor is designed to replicate the sound and behavior of classic analog compressors. A digital processor compressor is a more modern and versatile tool that offers a broader range of features and controls. Both types of compressors have their unique strengths and applications.

 

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