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MIXING & MASTERING BLOG

  • Manuel Scaramuzzino

MY FAV COMPRESSOR PLUGINS FOR MIXING


In this article, I'd like to share with you what are my favourite compressors for mixing. I'd like to clarify that out there there are lots of plugins and of course, I didn't have the opportunity to test and work with all of them. Over the years I found what I like the most and today I'd like to share them with you.


compressor plugin
 

1. FOCUSRITE RED 3

I have been using this compressor for many many years, and I love it, especially whenever I need something that sounds natural. I like that little lift at about 4-5K the plugin brings in.

Occasionally I use it on the master bus too mainly for its smooth character and texture.

Another thing that I love about this comp is the design. Focusrite didn't put a detailed scale on each pot, and this forced the user to use the ears rather than looking for numbers.


Focusrite Red 3
Focusrite Red 3

2. WAVES RENAISSANCE COMPRESSORS

In the Renaissance bundle, Waves included three compressors and they are all on my favourite list.

The R-Comp: It just works well on pretty much everything, and it's super easy to use. I like the option to switch from the vintage Opto behaviour to a more modern semiconductor sound. It's a good go-to compressor.

The R-Axx: although I don't use it a lot, it is still one of my faves compressors. It's designed to work better on guitars and high-gain instruments. I like its midrange flavour.

The R-vox: it's another great compressor, super easy to set up, very intuitive and works well on pretty much any vocal.


Waves Renaissance: R-Vox, R-Comp, R-Axx
Waves Renaissance: R-Vox, R-Comp, R-Axx

3. IK MULTIMEDIA BLACK 76 & WHITE 2A

Ok, these are two compressors and probably the most emulated by plug-in manufacturers.

There are many good 1176 emulations out there. I think Ik Multimedia did a great job with this one. It's very close to the original unit although I've never heard two Urei 1176 sound exactly the same.

The White 2A emulates the Teletronix LA2A and what I love about this emulation is that like the original you can push a lot of the gain reduction without incurring any unpleasant side effects.

Both of the compressors can work in Mid-Side or in dual-mono mode. The dual-mono mode is a quite handy feature, especially when using the Black 76 for some parallel compression.


Ik Multimedia: Black 76, White 2A
Ik Multimedia: Black 76, White 2A


4. IK MULTIMEDIA DYNA MU

This is another of my favourite compressors. What do I like about it? The tone, the warmth and the glue. Super easy to set up is my go-to parallel compressor on any background vocals or brass sessions. To me, it works very well.


Ik Multimedia: Dyna-Mu
Ik Multimedia: Dyna-Mu

5. SLATE DIGITAL FG-GREY

I'm not a big fan of master bus compression, while everyone seems to go with about 3-4dB of gain reduction usually I'm in the range where the gain reduction needle barely moves. Both of ways I think there is nothing wrong as long as you can achieve the goal you have in your mind. This emulation of the historical SSL Master Buss compressor to me works fine. I love its character and the way it glues things together.

A little trick: when the release is in auto mode the comp is more transparent when you go for the manual mode the comp can be very aggressive.

I've read someone complaining about this compressor introducing some noise. That's true this emulation introduces some hiss, and unlike other counterparts, there is no way to get rid of it. Honestly, this hiss doesn't bother me at all, and it sounds like it doesn't bother any of my clients either as I've never received any complaints about hiss.


Slate Digital FG Grey
Slate Digital FG Grey

Other compressor plugins I like

Yes, there are other compressor plugins that I use quite often for their character when mixing.

(I'll try to keep the list updated)


IK Multimedia: Vintage Comp Model 670, Opto-Comp

Slate Digital: FG Stress, FG 401, Audified U73B

Acustica Audio: Magenta

Waves: API2500, MV2



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