Manuel's here from masteryourtrack.com
Today I'm going to talk a bit more about compressors. In this article, I'd like to tell you what are my favourite compressors for mixing and why they are my favourites. 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. By the years I found what I like the most and today I'd like to share them with you.
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 force the user to use the ears rather than looking for numbers.
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 comp.
The R-Axx: although I don't use it a lot, it 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 comp, super easy to set up, very intuitive and works well on pretty much any vocal.
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 emulation 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 the gain reduction without incurring in 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.
4. IK MULTIMEDIA DYNA MU
This is another of my favourites 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.
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 the way 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 introduce 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 complain about hiss.
Other compressors I like
Yes, there are other 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