The Top 8 Mixing Compressor Plugins

The compressor is arguably the processing type that is most important to the audio engineer after equalization. Music engineers eventually realized that compression could be used to other situations. Compression was first utilized in the broadcast sector to minimize the over-modulation of radio waves. Signals’ dynamic range can be evened out using compressors, which makes it simpler to balance them against one another. They can also change transients to alter how strong the attack of the kick or snare drum is. Additionally, engineers took use of the fact that many early hardware compressor units were tube (valve) based since they had a rich tonality, making them excellent for adding harmonic content to recordings.

As technology developed over time, compressor capabilities also increased. They have a lot more features now than they did in the beginning. Similar to equalizers, it’s unlikely that a big music release from the previous 60 years has been produced without using compression at some time, whether it be during recording, mixing, or mastering.

The top compressor VST plugins are listed below and may be downloaded for free. For tackling varied tasks, from mixing entire songs to mixing and mastering vocals, we included a variety of compressor plugins.

Deluxe Devil-Loc from Soundtoys

This compressor plugin is an interpretation of the Shure Level-Loc from the 1960s, which was first intended to be used for public address systems. This carries on Soundtoys’ history of simulating cool antique gear while incorporating a few useful modern twists. Three controls were all that the original Level Loc had: a bypass switch, a distance selector, and an input level knob. Fortunately, Soundtoys improved the Level Loc’s capabilities, and the Devil-Loc Deluxe now has a mix knob, crunch (a cumbersome saturation effect), crush (a compression level), slow or fast release settings, darkness (for tone shaping), and slow or fast release settings.

Universal Audio Empirical Labs Distressor

UAD partnered with Dave Derr of Empirical Labs when meticulously designing this end-to-end emulation of the legendary EL8 Distressor. Made commercially available in 1993, the Distressor gained popularity among engineers for its lightning-fast attack, ability to aggressively shape transients and its harmonic characteristics. Derr strongly endorsed Universal Audio’s take on his beloved hardware compressor, stating “It’s the best Distressor emulation in the world and will stand the test of time as the definitive Distressor emulation.”

Kotelnikov TDR

Tokyo Dawn Labs’ TDR Kotelnikov (FREE Compressor VST Plugin)

The finest free compressor plugin for audio mastering is TDR Kotelnikov.

This plugin, created by Tokyo Dawn Labs’ DSP specialists, offers transparent dynamic range compression appropriate for use on the master bus. Compressor VST plugin TDR Kotelnikov is essential for your mixing and mastering toolkit. It is a top choice in our post on free music producing software.

The plugin has a rapid yet transparent compression character and an oversampled signal path. The tone and natural “punch” of the incoming audio stream can still be preserved although the dynamic range can be drastically reduced.

DC1A by Klanghelm

My preferred freeware compressor plugin for use on individual tracks is DC1A by Klanghelm. It is exactly what the developer refers to as a “effortless character comp,” and that description is accurate. The DC1A features a smooth, analog-like compression signature and is simple to operate.

The DC8C compressor effect from Klanghelm, which has a more complicated compression technique, is used in the plugin. The “Punch” compression mode from its larger brother is used by DC1A, who implements it in a more efficient dual-control form factor.

DC1A is the ideal compressor VST plugin for beginning music producers because it just has two control settings (input gain and output volume) to consider. However, the plugin’s lightning-quick workflow and superb compression abilities can also be utilized by experienced mixing engineers.

The amount of dynamic compression will be applied depends on how much the input knob enhances the gain of the entering audio source. The volume of the compressed audio signal is adjusted using the output knob.

The toolbar at the bottom of the user interface offers further options including dual-mono processing and parallel compression.

Softube Tube-Tech CL 1B

The plugin version of the CL 1B, which is based on the acclaimed optical compressor developed by Tube-Tech and its founder John G. Peterson, is a good, mellower substitute for the many overt dynamics processors previously mentioned. I frequently turn to the CL 1B when I’m searching for a warm, rather understated, and musical compressor. The thing I find most encouraging about this plugin is how quickly I can typically get the precise sound I want. I can adjust a transparent and forgiving compression sound by turning the chunky, black (graphical) threshold, attack, release, and ratio knobs quickly.

iZotope Neutron 3 Compressor

This adaptable compressor from iZotope is capable of doing almost anything. If you want to give your signal some color and personality, it also has a “vintage mode” that may be used to make it surgical and transparent. Given that it is packed with cutting-edge features, it is impossible to adequately convey the depth of this compressor in a few phrases. As a result, there is a slight learning curve involved in using the Neutron 3 Compressor to its full potential, but it is worthwhile.

ThrillseekerLA mkII by Variety of Sound

Modern freeware compressor ThrillseekerLA mkII is produced by Variety of Sound. The fundamental compression action has been completely redesigned in the mkII model, which was released ten years after the initial ThrillseekerLA release.

The enhanced saturation algorithm, most crucially, creates lovely harmonics without being overpowering or distorted. Additionally, you may turn off the saturation for a more transparent sound if you’d like.

While the LA2A limiting amplifier is reminiscent of the legendary ThrillseekerLA, it also has some significant variations. The Attack and Release knobs offer more precise timing and compression control.

TDR Molotok

No, you are not intoxicated, and you are not seeing double vision. Molot is the name of two free compressor plugins. The second one, which is the updated version of the first Molot, is officially known as TDR Molotok.

We had to include both the original Molot and its younger version because they are both so excellent. The new TDR Molotok offers a vastly improved user interface and significant productivity improvements. It has a bypass switch, a resizable GUI, a preset manager, and more.

However, it is deficient in some aspects of the original Molot. For instance, the mid-color parts were deleted, and there is no limiter. The premium TDR Molot GE plugin by Tokyo Dawn Records has all of these functions in addition to many others.

As you can see, there are only two considerations when deciding between Molot and TDR Molotok. Which interface you favor and whether you require the sophisticated functionality from the first release will depend on your preferences.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *