Best Compressor VST Plugins of 2019 [GUIDE]

Best Compressor VST PluginsNow, before I begin this list, I want to begin by saying your DAW’s built-in plugins, equalizers, saturation and compressors and limiters work the same way as almost every other DAW you might find on the market.

The only difference between your built-in compressors and other compressors are features you won’t find in yours.

For example, the attack range of your compressor can’t reach more than 0.10ms. Other compressors can do that.

Experiment with your DAW plugin’s extent before you buy other plugins online!

Best Compressor Plugins

112dB Big Blue Compressor

112dB Big Blue CompressorTalking about your DAW’s compressors, why should I encourage you to purchase 112dB’s Big Blue compressor?

Using your built-in compressor, have you ever tried to drive your mix to the point of squashing every dynamic to make everything louder?

You’ve probably found yourself annoyed with the results because of digital clipping.

Because of its emulated valve circuit, the 112dB’s look-ahead setting allows you to create a smooth clipping track.

The more you push forward, the more you notice the sound becoming attractive and powerful.

That’s valve distortion, a smooth kind of distortion, for your mix!

Lindell Audio 7X-500 Compressor

Lindell Audio 7X-500 CompressorSometimes, you’ll have to sacrifice the attack/release settings of your compressor for a character of compression that you couldn’t find elsewhere.

When I say character, this is an algorithm or a part of the compressor plug-in that couldn’t be directly controlled but is consistently present.

Lindell Audio’s 7x-500 FET Compressor is based on the 1176 FET compressor that’s been famous in Britain for quite some time.

If you’re a fan of some 80s Brit metal or pop, this compressor is definitely for you.

Audio Damage Rough Rider Pro

Audio Damage Rough Rider ProTo drive down value, sometimes you have to sacrifice a bit of quality.

Audio Damage knows the balance between the two.

Not focused on recreating classic compressors, Audio Damage is a multiband compressor.

Unlike other multibands, it has a Multi and Series mode. Multi splits the three bands and gives it separated processing.

Series combines al signals from the bottom to the top band.

Traditional compressors work in a Series manner.

But if you’re up for experiments, I’d suggest you go multi.

Boz Digital Labs +10dB Bundle

Boz Digital Labs +10dB Bundle

As mentioned, you get a bundle.

But it’s not a separate module in this case.

The Boz Digital +10dB bundle is a combination of audio processing features in a single plug-in.

In other words, it’s a channel strip.

Boz Digital had based its emulation off the Audio And Design Compex, which feature an equalizer, compressor, limiter and expander.

Expanders are the opposite of compressors mind you.

The best thing about the ADC original, which the emulation captures, is the powerful mild to aggressive sound as you dial in a higher ratio in the controls.

Brainworx VSC-2

Brainworx VSC-2Vertigo sound was a German manufacturer who developed some pretty useful compressors and other audio processing units during its time.

The compressor has some limited ratios from 2:1, 4:1,8:1,10:1 and a compression brick, which automatically turns it into a limiter.

But then again, that’s the characteristic of this plug-in.

The best thing about it is you get that German classic 80s sound with the drums if you know how to use this!

Cableguys Kickstart

Cableguys KickstartIn EDM, if your DAW’s default compressor has no sidechain option, you’re going to need to get one to achieve a “ducking” effect that would lower the volume of one part and allow the other to have a more pronounced sound.

Automation helps EDM producers achieve a balanced sound without clipping while attaining a very loud mix.

Teaming up with Nicky Romero, the Cableguys people can make your kick really sound awesome in the PA mix.

But even home and professional studios can benefit from an extra-pronounced kick when needed.

Cakewalk CA-2A T-Type Levelling Amplifier

Cakewalk CA-2A T-Type Levelling AmplifierDon’t be deceived by the ‘amplifier’ tag. Cakewalk, now owned by Sonar, released the CA-2A based from the original Teletronix LA-2A.

The Teletronix LA-2A is a classic opto compressor that uses a tube circuit to provide amplification.

As what we’ve heard with the valve/tube circuits earlier, they have a gentler approach to compressing your sound.

The LA-2A is infamous for its ’emphasis’ circuit located in the R37 control.

While you have two ratio settings that are placed at default, you get the original sound of the Teletronix LA-2A, which can be useful for your production where needed, or if you’re a fan of tube compression.

Cockos Reacomp

Cockos ReacompI’m an avid Reaper fan because the DAW’s price is so low but the quality of design and superiority against more established DAWs are above-industry in my opinion.

I get support for almost anything, including plug-ins. The DAW default compressor I have in this DAW is amazing.

It has the ease of sidechain setups, can create a feedback compression mode, can have variable RMS size, a powerful yet optional make-up gain and uses very low CPU.

It is also very, very transparent, to be honest.

Cytomic The Glue

Cytomic The GlueIt might have a name that would remind you of first grade. But Cytomic’s simple compressor is based from the original SSL Duende DSP system.

The Glue, however, did not base its design entirely on the Duende.

It uses the E and G series bus compression on the original system.

It only has three compression ratios with the exact attack times. But Cytomic introduced a 0.3s release time.

Duende DSP is well-known for adding more spice to drum kits, making them essential as buss compressors.

DMG Audio Compassion

DMG Audio CompassionCompassion takes so much from your CPU you could fry it with 10 instances of the compressor running.

However, in exchange is a wide multitude of dynamics processing including compression, expansion/gates, transient shaping and limiting

The fun thing about high-grade compressors is you get a funky display that shows your waveform and the compression response.

It also has some other modules including emulating some classic compressors from the 70s to 90s.

Fabfilter Pro-C

Fabfilter Pro-CIt has a very friendly design. Easy to read visualizations show you the motion your audio dynamics are going.

You have a 1:1 to infinity settings on your compressor.

The Pro-C is a bit expensive, but not because they added a spectrogram and dynamics measurer.

It also has three styles of compression namely classic that uses analog compression, Opto, which is a soft-knee compressor that often has a slower response time perfect for entire mixes and clean, which has the accuracy of modern compressors.

Fabfilter Pro-MB

Fabfilter Pro-MB

The Pro-MB is a multiband compressor variant opposing the Pro-C.

While useful for single tracks, you could actually use it for mastering, without having to kill your CPU power in the process.

This means the Pro-MB can multiband-compress everything in your setup, including every instrument you have and even the vocals, without having to take a very huge CPU hit.

Flux Pure Compressor V3

Flux Pure Compressor V3

Part of Flux’s ‘Pure Range’, the Pure Compressor uses Flux’s ‘Angel Share and ‘Hysteresis’ controls.

Hysteresis mode allows you to create low level compression settings, which make the Pure Compressor have a very transparent sound.

It’s pretty easy to use. However, you’ll have to squint a bit to see the dynamic range’s curve.

FXpansion DCAM Dynamics

FXpansion DCAM Dynamics

Aside from creating awesome-sounding ROMpler samples for their drums, FXpansion’s team also have some amazing plug-ins. The DCAM Dynamics series emulates some traditional SSL 1176 emulation. Twice.

For the price of one, you get two types of 1176 compressors.

To add to their iteration is a powerful CrossComp option that can do a parallel mix with your dry signal.

It’s a semi-multiband compressor (what?) because it has no full spectrum but can split the high and low mix of your audio.

EnvShaper can help you shape transients for drums with the character of the SSL 1176.

IK Multimedia T-Racks

IK Multimedia T-Racks CompressorsT-Racks from IK Multimedia is so powerful it should have its only set of plug-ins and a dedicated CPU because it can burn down your entire setup.

But speaking transparently, T-Racks can emulates some traditional American and British rack compressors from the Fairchild 670 Tube compressor, Pultec EQP-1A equalizer and an opto compressor that no one could figure out but I believe is probably from Audio and Design in the 70s.

ImageLine Maximus

ImageLine Maximus

Anybody who had used FL probably knows who Maximus is. Aside from being Russell Crowe in Gladiator, Maximus is a powerful dynamics processor from FL Studio.

Originally only included in the FL studio, the multiband compressor has a only a few bands, namely three. From the low, mid and high you could fine tune compression effectively. It doesn’t emulate vintage gear.

Maximus allows you to manipulate your dynamic curve line to how you want it. It can even be an expander once you see the capabilities.

iZotope Dynamics

iZotope DynamicsAhh iZotope. it’s been a while. As part of the iZotope Ozone series, iZotope Dynamics can be part of a chain or a standalone.

The standalone version is awesome as it eats less CPU and can be used as a buss compressor or individual track multiband compression. Very light on the CPU.

The auto-gain function is also effective. Being able to mix in a stereo, mono or mid-sides format, you get what you need from this little stand-alone plug-in.

Joey Sturgis JST Gain Reduction

Joey Sturgis JST Gain Reduction

Joey Sturgis is a guy who makes metal sound metal and his plug-ins come from the need to develop new software gear to make his bands sound the biggest and best in the business.

The JST Gain Reduction Plug-In is a channel strip that has an EQ, compression and vocal distortion based on his works for his bands.

The distortion sounds perfect to add a guttural feel to brutal or harsh vocals typical of rock. But if you’re not a rockstar, you could always use it as a saturation and dynamics processor for your drum buss and other instruments that need a little more character.

KlangHelm DC1A

KlangHelm DC1AThis is a free vst compressor and this compressor is an emulation of a famous opto compressor made by the German Manufacturer FET.

While it has limited controls, it does have some serious emulation accuracy.

KlangHelm DC8C 2

KlangHelm DC8C 2Klanghelm’s DC1A brother the DC8C has a processor capable of introducing different compression from Smooth, Punch, Snap and Crush. That’s just the beginner mode.

On expert mode, you get a frequency tilt and an RMS time knob that helps you achieve an optimum performance compressor or something with another type of character with slower peak detection.

Kush Audio UBK-1

Kush Audio UBK-1The UB-1is based from old-school manufacturer Empirical Labs’ boutique compressor the UBK Fatso.

The UBK-1 has three stages that gives you maximum saturation, compression and density. It can add harmonic distortion and introduce powerful character with your signal.

You also get five compressor models including Splat, Smooth and Brickwall.

McDSP 6030 Ultimate Compressor

McDSP 6030 Ultimate CompressorsThe 6030 compressor do not emulate any vintage equipment but instead boasts McDSP’s optimization of resources to attain a great sound.

You get an analog saturator, a side chain option and 10 compressor styles for the perfect fit in your audio processing.

McDSP Compressor Bank

McDSP Compressor BankThe compressor bank emulates some vintage and modern compression hardware.

While the company has not announced the official source materials, the compressor works flawlessly in some of my projects. It also has very low CPU use and provides three types of compression modes.

MeldaProduction MModernCompressor

MeldaProduction MModernCompressor

I’m not really a Melda Prod fan but after using the MModernCompressor, I knew there was a simpler solution to MDynamics

Two features I loved was the level follower and a safety limiter that prevents unwanted digital distortion into your mix.

Vladg Molot

Vladg MolotIt’s not unusual that people are using classic gear, including military audio equipment to process dynamics.

After all, compressors worked to limit audio signals and increase their volume while protecting easy-to-wreck speakers in the past.

The Molot is a compressor during the 70s that introduced a characteristic sound because of its classic Soviet-era circuitry.

While it won’t fit too many songs in my opinion, it can work in ambient music where a uniquely-voiced instrument is required.

NI Vari Comp

NI Vari CompPart of the premium tube series, the Vari Comp is quite sensitive with just small changes to its settings. With a high-pass detector and dry blend control for parallel compression, this is a must have.

NI Vintage Compressor

NI Vintage CompressorNI’s Vintage Compressor Collection can be run through Kontakt or the original Guitar Rig Player.

Inside, you can make use of compressor emulations ranging from the LA-2A, the Dbx 160 and the 1176, to name a few

NI SuperCharger

NI SuperChargerThey gave it for free once in 2013. I snagged one for myself because I was there on time at the proper timing.

It’s a simple compressor with an input trim knob, a sidechain button, a punch and dirt attack setting and a knob for compression.

Dirt keeps a faster attack, saturating the sound. Meanwhile, Punch gives your drums the power to knock over walls. Wow!

PSP Audioware oldTimer ME

PSP Audioware oldTimer MEPSP Audioware was well-known for the first oldTimerME compressor. The oldTimer focuses on reviving the classic sound of tube/valve based rack effects.

The ME has proper independent attack and release settings compared to the original and a valve saturation control.

Added bonuses are left-right/mid-side processing modules, sidechain high-pass frequency and dry and wet knobs. These are all very useful for parallel compressor.

A high-pass filter allows precision compression triggering, which also means removing the muddying bass frequencies to compressors.

PSP Audioware VintageWarmer2

PSP Audioware VintageWarmer2 Another useful compressor from PSP audioware, the original VintageWarmer didn’t really allow for multiple analoge models and separate saturation controls. But VintageWarmer2 can deliver more control to the original.

Along with those controls are an auto-release section, a brick-wall limiting option and a FAT function, which is a double-sampling process that makes the signal warmer in a way the signal becomes smooth. However, what console it’s based from, we’ve still yet to know.

PSP MasterComp

PSP MasterCompPSP Audioware’s mastering compressor looks as simple as it can be. Despite it’s a little bit skimpy GUI is a high quality stereo compressor and expander. And with that, you could expect lots of CPU power needed for this one.

It runs in 64-bit, that should be a first scary clue. I know I’m selling this a bit over the top.

However, if your processor can run it, then you’ve got a powerful compressor capable of creating some reach compression with a transparency unlike any other.

Slate Digital FG-X

Slate Digital FG-X Despite having no make-up gain option and a big eater of CPU power, the FG-X from Slate Digital maximizes loudness and remains transparent even at very loud levels.

The FG X includes FG Comp, a master bus compressor and FG Level that includes a powerful Intelligent Transient Preservation, which focuses on saturation without character.

I know, it sounds strange. But if saturation it meant the effect of compression, then it means the levels stay upward on certai