Best Compressor Plugin. Most affordable, most versatile compressor with multiband, analog emulations & more.
Dragon Fire is a versatile multiband compressor plugin, offering 4 compression styles in one unit. With Dragon Fire you can emulate the styles of OPTO & VCA compressors, as well as alter the compression from RMS to peak detection. This means you can get similar sounds to the LA-2A, SSL compression, Tube-based compression and DBX-style all in one unit. On top of this, you can also choose to use Dragon Fire for clean, digital precise compression, but it fairs best when you want to completely smash a signal to pieces. This is due to the awesome drive and clipping features that are included. The idea of Dragon Fire was to have an all-in-one channel strip capable of a huge range of compression styles, so you don't have to load up multiple plugins in a chain. A clever “push/pull” feature has additionally been included, which acts as an EQ for precise multiband compression – either pulling it back in or pushing it out.
Best Clean Digital Compressor. Incredibly accurate, precise, transparent compression that's great for mixing engineers.
FabFilter Pro-C2 is the mixing engineer's dream. It's a clean, precise, digital compressor that is entirely transparent and includes 8 different compression styles. Although it's a higher price than the other top picks, it houses everything you'd ever need for clean compression. One thing to note is that the GUI of FabFilter Pro-C2 (and other FabFilter plugins) make them so pleasurable to use. The gain reduction metering and knee displays allow you to dial in accurate compression settings and give full transparency over what you're doing to your signal. Other compression plugins offer these meters, but they are nowhere near the level of FabFilter's. FabFilter is especially good for dialling in fast compression settings, because it reacts instantly, unlike compressors that model analog circuits. Use it on anything to thicken up your sound, without applying any warmth or character to the sound. It's not the most wow-factor compressor, but it compresses audio extremely accurately.
Best SSL Channel Strip Compressor. Licensed by SSL, cheap, great sounding analog compression.
Waves SSL EV2 is an emulation of the SSL 4000E channel strip. This means you're not only getting compression, but 2 analog modelled EQs, with a fantastic, driven mic pre-amp that crunches audio like no one's business, stereo control and even an expansion unit. It isn't the type of compressor you'll use for transparency, because it adds so much colour and charisma to your sound. Using the compression alongside the EQ and mic pre-amps – the SSL EV2 injects beautifully warm, crunchy tones to your audio. This makes it a fantastic tool for parallel processing and extreme compression settings. You would use something clean like FabFilter Pro-C2 to thicken your signal, and even out the bumps, then add colour using the SSL EV2. It's commonly on sale for $29.99, making it one of the cheapest compression options on this list. However, we wouldn't use it as a standalone compressor plugin. It's best when paired with a more accurate, precise compressor like Pro-C2.
Compression is one of the most valuable tools in your VST plugin arsenal.
It has a variety of applications in music production and can be utilized to level out vocal performances, thicken drums, improve guitar tone, make bass sound tighter, and add considerable impact to sounds.
Alongside EQ, every producer should learn how to use compression.
Using just a combination of these two effects alone, can make an incredible difference to your sound – creating louder, punchier, cleaner and more in-your-face mixes, as well as adding subtle glueing & cohesion to your music's different elements.
It's particularly useful on tracks like Kick & Bass, which can make them sound like one element rather than two separate ones. This aids in the creation of a more coherent and blended production.
With so many different compressors on the market, all each with their own pros and cons, finding and choosing the best compressor VSTs in 2022 is a pretty difficult task. That's why Whipped Cream Sounds spent hours devising a list of the 11 best compressor plugins available in 2022, so you don't have to scour the internet for them.
Of course you don't need every compressor on this list, in fact you only really need a few you know inside and out. This article serves as a reference to discover which compression plugins are better suited to your style. All of them have free trials, so you can test them all out and see which is best suited to your workflow.
And on top of all that, we spent a lot of time to include different price points, and different uses, so there should be a compressor plugin for everyone on this list.
What is A Compressor VST Plugin
A compressor VST controls the dynamic range of an audio signal. Compression VSTs work by squashing the highest and lowest amplitude points of your audio signal closer together, reducing the gain and dynamic range.
This makes an audio signal more coherent, and levelled out.
For instance, if you have a vocal take that has high changes in volume, a compressor can be used to make the performance sound more consistent – gluing the high and low points together.
Compression has many uses in mixing, and is one of the most used tools for engineers.
You can use compression to thicken up drums, make vocals more consistent, glue entire mixes together, add punch to recordings, drive, colour, warmth, and in general… give your music character. There are many ways to use compression, and you'll be using it a lot if you are working with any kind of audio.
It's an essential tool to have in your music production arsenal, and is also essential to understand. So make sure you know what compression is, and how to use it before investing in compressor plugins.
Which Compressor Should I Use in My Mix?
Different kinds of compression will have different effects on your audio. Some will provide transparency, and thickness – others will give warmth, drive, and colour. It's important to understand which compressor you should use in your mix in detail, but we'll briefly cover it here.
There are 5 kinds of compression, and they have different qualities:
- VCA Compression – fast, transparent, clean compression, with minimal distortion. Use for transient heavy signals to smooth out, and add punch. Use VCA on anything its versatile.
- FET Compression – fast, colourful, aggressive compression. Use for adding aggression, warmth, colour and drive to any signal. Great for parallel compression.
- Tube Compression – slow, warm, smooth compression. Perfect for vocals, or anything that needs thickness, warmth or drive. Do not use for transient control as the response time is too slow.
- Optical Compression – fast, smooth, transparent compression. Applies a glossy sound. Use to add warmth, & thicken up sounds cleanly. Great for vocals especially. Not for transient control.
- Digital Compression – precise, clean, transparent compression. Use for anything you want to add thickness to, without applying any colour.
A quick thing to note about digital compression is that you will only have a clean sound if the compressor is fully digital (like FabFilter Pro C2). A lot of digital compressor plugins will model old analog compressors. These will apply colour, warmth etc.
If you're using digital compression and want clean, precise compression – make sure you're using a fully digital compressor plugin.
Is Hardware Compression Better Than Digital?
Plugins and hardware both have their uses, and neither is better than the other. When talking about vintage sound, hardware is better. However plugins provide convenience and portability, while providing an analog sound that is almost identical to hardware.
As plugins continue to improve, and software that re-create analog circuitry get more advanced, plugins sound more and more like the original piece of hardware.
The sound of hardware reproduced digitally by plugins like Waves emulations and even the popular analog synth Diva, is almost identical to the original thing, but is not as rich, and doesn't give the truly authentic hardware sound.
The difference is negligible, and unless you're an incredible mixing & mastering engineer, you're going to have a hard time really telling the difference.
This means that your average listener on Spotify won't really be able to tell the difference between whether you used a Waves emulation, or the real thing.
I wouldn't worry too much if you're on a budget. If you have the money to invest in studio equipment, you can't beat the sound of hardware, and having hardware is a bonus when trying to get clients.
Do I Really Need To Buy Compressor Plugins, or Will My Stock Plugins Do?
Yes, in time, you will need to buy compressor plugins. Stock plugins will get you by to begin with, and we encourage you to learn them, before investing in paid gear. But, you can't beat the sound of virtual analogue emulations, or hardware.
You don't need to purchase compressor plugins right away, and we don't recommend anyone buy compression plugins until they know a compressor inside and out.
Compression can be confusing for a lot of music producers starting out, and it's really something that comes with time and development of your ears – you can't rush intuitively knowing when something needs a bit extra thickness, punch, glue or drive.
Learn on your stock compressor before you buy a plugin. Know it inside and out, and then consider purchasing some of the plugins on this list.
What is The Best Compressor Plugin?
Here is the complete list of the best compressor plugins available (2022)
- Denise Audio Dragon Fire
- Fabfilter Pro-C 2
- Waves SSL EV2
- Xfer OTT (free pick)
- Waves SSL 4000 G Bus Compressor
- Softube FET Compressor
- Arturia Tube STA
- Caelum Audio Schlap
- Tube-Tech by Softube
- UAD LA-2A
- Sonible smart:comp
- Summit TLA-100A
Denise Audio Dragon Fire (best compressor plugin 2022)
Denise Audio's Dragon Fire has stolen the spot of best compressor plugin in 2022, from FabFilter Pro-C2, and rightly so.
It's a 3 in 1 compressor that has a compression module and 2 EQ modules – one for before compression, and one for after.
Dragon Fire is an absolute, powerhouse when it comes to clean or dirty compression.
You can use it for clean, clinical mixing, but also for creative mixing, injecting warm, analog style SSL compression settings, LA-2A settings and a number of analog style compressors.
Alongside all that, the Dragon Fire is a multiband compressor, that uses clever push pull technology.
- Push – is an EQ style graph, that pushes more of the selected frequency band into the compressor. You can also use it to tame certain parts of the frequency spectrum.
- Pull – is a percentage slider that adds an inverse EQ to your push settings, which tames the added gain and makes your compression sound natural.
The multiband section of Dragon Fire can also be used for its other modes.
So you can add individual saturation to frequency ranges, using the Drive option, or you can change the Curve setting, to change the compressor curve response between Opto or VCA (DBX – LA-2A)
RMS also allows you to change the behaviour of your compressor from SSL like reaction, to Tube-based compression. Giving it either more transparent or punchy compression or somewhere in-between.
Great for mastering, vocals, drums or adding cohesion – you won't be disappointed with Dragon Fire.
How Does Denise Audio Dragon Fire Sound?
Dragon Fire sounds amazing on all kinds of audio signals. The drive setting adds so much punch and grit to drums, bass guitar and more. And the different compressor types make this compressor the most versatile plugin we've used.
You can get an analog or digital sound out Dragon Fire, and it actually models old hardware compressors that are sought after.
Here are some sound examples of Denise Audio's Dragon Fire compressor:
FabFilter Pro-C 2 is one of the best compressor VST plugins of 2022 due to its sheer popularity, sound quality and vast features.
The original Pro-C (its predecessor) was one of the most popular, highly acclaimed compression plugins at the time. With the new addition, the FabFilter has continued to dominate the compression plugin market, with the C 2.
Like with most FabFilter plugins, the C 2 is a multifaceted compression plugin that's extremely precise and clean. And, with so many compressor plugins on the market adding colour to sound, it's difficult to find a digital compressor as precise and clean as the Pro-C.
It has little to no sonic characteristics, and is one of the most versatile compressors for mixing & tweaking sounds. You can use the Pro C on absolutely anything!
We've used it for mastering, vocals, bass, glue compression, drums, acoustic guitar, piano and a whole lot more.
Fabfilter's Pro C 2 gives astounding results every time, and the flexibility, accuracy and sound of this compressor plugin is beyond anything we've seen on the market.
The Fabfilter Pro-C 2 features a wide array of options including:
- 8 different compression styles for all your mixing needs.
- An incredible UI that has animated level & knee displays, with exceptionally accurate peak & loudness metering.
- Side-chain EQ, with high pass & low pass filters – allowing you to dial the sound of your sidechain even further.
- Intelligent auto gain
- Exceptionally accurate auto release
- Smooth lookahead of up to 20ms.
- Gain reduction knob
Considering the sheer amount of possibilities you gain with this plugin, the Pro-C is the best value for money compressor plugin available. It will do almost everything you need it to & is a must have for any music production or audio finatic.
How Does FabFilter Pro C2 Sound?
FabFilter Pro C2 works best for a clean, digital mixing and mastering tool. It's fantastic when you want to thicken up a sound, but don't want to add any colour to it. It sounds extremely transparent, and does the job it's supposed to do – precise, clean compression that sounds incredible.
Here are some sound examples of FabFilter Pro C2:
Waves SSL EV2 is a phenomenal channel strip plugin that models the classic SSL 4000E.
It includes a compressor, mic pre-amp, EQ, filtering, and stereo control.
The SSL EV2 is absolutely incredible for getting crunchy, driven signals with punch, and is one of our favourite compressors to use on drums.
It's exceptionally good for parallel processing, and the pre-amp, linked with great compression settings can make any kit smack through a mix.
On top of the the SSL EV2 gives you access to all the rich, warm, analog colour of the original SSL 4000E, and models the two EQ types that original units were shipped with.
Solid State Logic originally made two different channel strips, one containing a brown knob, and the other a black knob. The circuitry of these EQ's have been modelled with pinpoint precision, and are fantastic to use to add different flavours to your compression.
You also get all the analog charm of the original compressor unit, having been fully licensed by SSL themselves! It's more of a dynamics processor though, offering compression, expansion, limiting and gating.
How Does SSL EV2 Sound?
The SSL EV2 is for you if you're looking for crunchy, driven compression that will add thickness, and vintage colour to your sound. It sounds fantastic especially on drums, and can breathe life into dull, flat signals.
Here are some sound examples of the SSL EV2:
Xfer OTT (best free compressor plugin)
So what if you don't have enough to splash out on a new, shiny compressor that will take your mixes to the next level?
Say hello to OTT…
Xfer OTT is the staple of EDM, but it's not the only thing it can be used for. It's an extremely versatile multi-band compressor that can be used to spice up your music production sessions.
The OTT stands for: “over the top” compression, and that's exactly what this little beast does.
It's best suited to be used on sounds that you want to bring out in a mix. We like to call it the caffeine of music production – if you drink too much, you've ruined it, and now you're jittering all over the place & it feels like the walls are breathing
BUT, if you use a small amount it gives you that perfect edge & lift you need to stay alert.
We like to use the OTT as a tone-shaping tool. It's incredible for bringing out the mid – high range frequencies of a sound
You don't want to miss out on this valuable tool for mixing by Xfer records. After all… it's free! What is there to lose?
- Low, Mid & High compression bands, with individual gain controls.
- Upwards & Downwards compression modes.
- Depth knob for dialling in the perfect amount of compressor action.
- In & out gain control.
How Does OTT Sound?
OTT provides an over-compressed sound, that can either be squashed or expanded, making things incredibly exciting and loud in the process. Our favourite thing to do with OTT is apply it after reverb at around a mix of 30%. It makes atmospheres sound out of this world.
Here are some sound examples of OTT in action:
Smart:comp, by Sonible is an AI assisted audio tool for compression.
It's a unique digital compressor that uses spectral compression technology to analyse the input of your audio in real time. With over 2000 frequency bands to do so, smart:comp is the best spectro-dynamic compressor on the market.
But what does all that wizard talk mean?
To put it simply, smart:comp only applies compression where it is really needed. This means, that when putting it to use on a mix or master, you're not going to experience horribly squashed or un-dynamic tracks.
It ensures a consistent tonal and dynamic balance throughout.
And, that's not just where smart:comp shines. It also has the speed and precision that's missing from many of the other AI assisted compressor plugins available in 2020.
None of them come close to the smart:comp's ability to get a good compression setting that sounds great.
The smart:comp features:
- AI assisted compression that gets it right
- Over 2000 frequency bands for accuracy
- Frequency dependent ducking side chain mode
- All the usual compression controls you'd expect (attack and release etc)
- Spectral ducking
If you're looking for a compressor that saves you time & is perfect for mixing & mastering, then the smart:comp is a great choice.
How Does smart:comp Sound?
Sonible's smart:comp is scarily good at compression, and suggesting the right settings for your sound source. The AI compression engine is extremely accurate, and the compressor adds a lot of character to sounds. It adds a really nice tone to things, without altering the EQ.
Here are some smart:comp sound examples:
Waves SSL 4000 G Mastering Compressor (best mastering compressor plugin)
Waves are the best for analog emulations of original, vintage compression units, at a cheap price. They're not 100% accurate, but they're damn near the mark.
The SSL 4000 G Bus compressor is the ultimate glue compressors for your mix or master bus. And, like with anything Waves, it has been re-modelled with stunning accuracy.
As you can probably already tell, this is a re-model of the legendary Solid State Logic bus compressor, which was used widely by audio engineers and mixing & mastering professionals everywhere.
The re-creation brings you all the charm, charisma & warmth of the original, but with some added extras, and they are an exceptionally welcome addition to the original unit.
Wave's SSL bus compressor comes with the addition of side chain, filtering, mixing & headroom controls.
It's known for its power, cohesion and drive & we think you'll adore the sound of the SLL 4000 G bus compressor.
Just take a listen to how it works!
The Waves SSL 4000 G Bus Compressor features:
- All the charm & charisma of the original unit
- Warm compression that can give drive to any audio source
- State of the art bus compression
- Side chain abilities, filtering, mix & headroom controls
- A simple, navigable interface that looks gorgeous
- Dry wet knob for parallel processing
- Threshold & ratio controls
- Attack and release knobs, featuring an incredible auto release option
- Make-up gain
If you're looking for the best digital emulations of analog gear, for a low price, then you should invest in Waves… simple as.
How Does Waves SSL 4000G Sound?
Waves SSL mastering compressor is fantastic for providing a little bit of glue to your final mixes, masters and works really well for adding thickness, punch & warmth to groups/busses. It provides a beautiful warm, analog sound, and adds a nice character.
Here's some sound examples of the SSL 4000G:
The Softube FET Compressor is the software giant's answer to the digital version of an absolute, world renowned classic – the Universal Audio 1176.
Originally released in 1968 as a hardware unit, the 1176 became an instant favourite of producers and mix & master engineers.
The distinctive lightning fast attack and release times & wide range of compression options from light to completely smashed, made it one of the best compressors of all time.
And this bad boy only used to be available as an expensive hardware unit, until Softube changed that with their above par 1176 emulation.
The Softube FET Compressor not only sounds just like the original hardware, but adds on it, offering more features to play around with.
One of the best things to use the Softube FET compressor on, is drums. Due to the rapid attack and release & the aggressive, tasty distortion obtained using this compressor, drums sound every bit of gnarly, gritty & punchy.
You can also choose to absolutely smash the signal (great for parallel processing drums) or use light, transparent compression that retains the beautiful dynamics of your mix.
But drums aren't just where the FET compressor shines…
The Softube FET is an incredibly versatile compression plugin and we've used the 1176 emulation on Bass, Acoustic Guitars, Pianos & more to bring out bite & edge, or to round off unwanted transients in our music production sessions.
It's also great at nipping fast transients in the bud, and can also be used on vocal compression to catch large dynamic changes quickly.
The Softube FET Compressor features:
- Beautiful input and output stage distortion
- Rapidly quick attack and release times (like the original)
- The classic all buttons in compression mode, which enables all ratios for compression.
- Ratio from 1:1 – 20:1 and an ‘All' mode which smashes sounds so explosively.
- Sidechain options with low pass and high pass filters.
- A separate parallel compression knob.
- Lookahead in case the original attack time isn't enough.
- Gain reduction.
How Does Softube FET Compressor Sound?
We already featured this Arturia beast in our 50 best vst plugins of 2022 list, but we thought it deserved another mention here, because it is simply extraordinary.
If you don't know who Arturia are already, they are among the best software (and hardware) companies for creating emulations of legendary hardware units. And, with the Tube-STA, they pulled out all the stops.
The Arturia Tube-STA is a stunning recreation of the Stalwart, valve-driven classic hardware compressor that was used in early broadcast & recording studios.
(which also has similarities to the well respected classic fairchild 670 compressor)
It's a vacuum tube compressor that has been used widely on vocals and bass since 1950, which Arturia have bought into the digital world.
The Arturia Tube-STA is a versatile, well rounded audio compression plugin, but where it operates best is vocals & bass. It's classic sound is well know for its intimacy, air and subtle saturation that can warm up any signal.
It has the ability to transform weak sub range frequencies into phat, harmonically rich bass tones. And, it's incredibly simple to use, with a clean UI and a couple knobs to turn, it's easy to get the right sound using the Tube-STA.
(it's also extremely quick)
A great thing about the Tube-STA is the value for money. Digital emulations of hardware units that get it right (like Arturia have done), usually cost an arm and a leg.
But, Arturia have made access to this compressor in the digital environment pretty cheap! It's a lower-ranged price compressor that pulls out all the stops.
If you're looking for a compressor that can give your mix & masters that magic vintage feel & warmth that you just can't get from anything else, then the Tube-STA is for you.
The Tube-STA Features:
- Original tube electronic path of the hardware unit
- Original Single, Double & Triple modes
- Original recovery parameter
- External sidechain source
- 5 creative detection modes, including mid side processing
- Dry/wet mix knob used for parallel compression
- Gain reduction & input
- A/B comparison setting
- A comprehensive list of presets
How Does Tube-STA Sound?
Arturia Tube STA compressor is a warm-sounding, vintage tube compressor. It's fantastic for boomy vocals, and adding thickness + punch to vocals. The original was used for radio broadcast, and it gives a very similar, boomy, clear sound to what you'd hear on Radio One for instance.
Caelum Audio Schlap
Schlap is a fantastic analog-sounding compressor for those of you on a budget.
It's one of the best value for money virtual analogue compressors that you'll find, and has an incredible aggressive quality.
It's a compressor modelled on the dbx160 VCA compressor/limiter, and packs a punch.
Based on RMS values instead of peak, it stands out from the rest of the plugins on this list, because it provides a slow response compression, that allows transients to cut through the compression.
This makes it a great choice for drums, bass, guitar, and anything you want to, well… “Schlap”.
Great as a parallel aggressor, and for adding punch, thickness. Also fantastic on vocals that aren't too peak-y. Smoothes them out, and pushes them front and centre of a mix.
How Does Schlap Sound?
Tube Tech Collection (CL 1B)
Softube Tube Tech collection is a virtual emulation of the modern classic compressor – the Tube-Tech CL 1B (which is worth £4000 btw). The collection includes both the original CL 1B and the MkII version.
The CL 1B is an all tube optical mono compressor that delivers an excessively smooth & musical compression. It's an incredible emulation that preserves the clarity of your audio source, even at the highest settings (which most compressors don't do).
Primarily it's a vocal compressor, that does absolute wonders to any vocal recording. However, with it's smooth, warm opto gain reduction it is a surprisingly flexible compressor.
If you're looking for more opto compression options, check this guide on opto compressors.
Due to this, it has become widely used across a number of genres as the go to compressor. It's been used of rock, pop and all the way to EDM. You can use the CL 1B on almost anything.
The Softube Tube Tech compressor is incredible at clear & smooth, musical compression which preserves the quality of your audio at the highest settings. This means it's great for dialling in on a mix or master, without causing any unwanted muddiness or distortion.
One of the best things about the Tube Tech, is the ease of use. When putting settings on compressors, it can often be difficult to hear what the compression does. With the CL 1B emulation you don't have this problem.
Designed so you can hear the action immediately, you won't sit there wondering whether the change you made has added anything or not – it's clear and audible.
The CL 1B is most popular among big Hip Hop & Rap stars and is how many of them get their vocal performances to sound so great.
The Softube Tube Tech features:
- A ground-breaking emulation of a modern classic, which side by side would be difficult to tell apart.
- Improved sound; a total remodel from the ground up
- New features including: sidechain, low-cut filters & parallel processing
- Spectacular UI & high resolution graphics
- Easy to use interface that will get your desired sound
- Characterful, but flexible compression
If you're looking for a compressor with clarity & precision for anything from vocals to an EDM master, the the CL B is an incredible pick up.
How Does The Tube Tech Collection Sound?
The Tube Tech CL 1B sounds extremely punchy, and warm. It will add an almost transient shaping effect, bringing out the peaks of your audio. It's also a tube compressor, so it's great on vocals, and adds a lot of warm, in-your-face character to them.
Here are some sound examples of the CL 1B compressor:
UAD LA-2A (best high end compressor plugin)
UAD are the absolute kings of software compressor plugins that model their hardware counterparts. They continually produce some of the best audio compression plugins on the market &, in 2020, that statement still holds true.
If there were enough UAD compressor plugins to put on this list, then we'd list them all. But unfortunately, with UAD comes a huge price tag. Not only do you have to buy the plugin, but you also have to invest in UAD audio hardware to run it.
Using UAD plugins without hardware is difficult. There aren't many options available to do so, but if you're willing to invest, these units are well worth their money.
To use UAD plugins, you need to invest in one of their audio interfaces, and the Apollo is a cheap starting point to do so.
UAD hardware units & plugins have been used commercially in recording studios everywhere since their birth & rise in popularity.
(they've been around since 1958)
The UAD LA-2A is a complete re-model of the highly acclaimed Teletronix la 2a.
It's an optical compressor with a tube amplifier that sounds great.
Having been created in 2001, the digital compressor of this hardware classic has set the standard in analog emulation.
The LA-2A has been consistently improved on throughout the years, so that means you're getting 19 years worth of improvements when investing in this plugin.
One of the best things about owning the digital version of this compressor, is that you don't just get access to a single plugin, but you are actually able to track & mix with the three historic compressor plugins of the Teletronix LA-2A.
Each version has the distinctive sonic attributes of the real thing & adds all the colour and warmth you'd expect to hear.
The UAD LA-2A features:
- Smooth, warm optical compression you'd expect to hear in real vintage units.
- Three historic versions of the revamped LA-2A, with distinctive sonic attributes.
- An option to record in real time along with the Apollo interfaces.
- Presets from the likes of Ross Hogarth, Darrell Thorp & Vance Powell.
- A simple, clear, easy-to-use interface that gets incredible audio compression results, fast.
- All the classic features from the hardware unit.
If you're looking for that vintage sound, UAD offer some of the best compressor plugins around. Although the price is high, if you're serious about audio, then you'll know the investment is worth it.
How Does The UAD LA-2A Sound?
The LA-2A sounds like the original hardware unit (or as close as you can get digitally).
It's surprisingly close to the original, and has 3 different options, and each compression setting has its own characteristics:
- The original LA 2 – provides a more dynamic sound, with gentle compression that adds a bit of colour to your sound.
- The Silver LA 2A – provides a punchy, thick, and transient heavy sound that cuts through a mix. The silver has a much faster attack time, giving it the ability to work with transients better.
- The Grey LA 2A – provides a thick, squashed sound, that dials back on the transients. The grey has a slower attack time and is better for slower compression
Here are some sound examples of the LA-2A:
Drums, Vocals, Guitar
Summit Audio TLA-100A is another incredible replication of the classic LA-2A, and is the next best thing when comparing it to UAD's beautiful, analog emulation.
If you're looking for a vintage replication that you don't need to spend a tonne on to get it to work, then Summit Audio have got your back.
The classic compressor offers gentle, natural sounding compression, that won't destroy your transients. It preserves the clarity & presence of your orginal audio source, offering transparent gain reduction.
Summit Audio have done an impeccable job of not only getting it to sound like the original, but adding some much needed, welcome additions to the compressor such as the parallel inject control.
Using the parallel inject control, you have the ability to set compression levels higher than what you'd be able to achieve with the original unit. Allowing you to squash and drive sounds more heavily through it.
This will give your sound a certain thickness & when mixed in properly will retain dynamic range, while giving the sound extra clarity & bite.
The TLA-100A is also tremendously easy to use, with it's beautiful, simple UI. It's one of those plugins, that no matter how much you mess around with it, it's almost impossible to return a bad sound from it.
It has that warm, analog feel &, when driven, gives an incredible distortive sound, which can be perfectly blended using the saturation knob – a new addition from the original hardware compressor.
- Fast & slow, attack and release settings.
- Low cut filter control.
- Metering controls.
- Saturation & parallel inject for beautifully warm sounds.
- Gain & gain reduction control.
How Does Summit TLA-100A Sound?
The TLA-100A adds a brilliant presence to vocals, and provides awesome vintage character, giving upfront transients, and an in-your-face sound. It also works fantastically on drums, beefing them up, giving punch and thickness.
Here are some sound examples of the TLA-100A:
Drums, Vocals, Guitar
To round up here is our list of the 11 best audio compressor plugins available in 2022: