The Top 5 Best [Superb] Compressor [VST/AAX/AU] Plugins [2020]

Last Updated on: August 29, 2020

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Compression is an effect that is used to balance the loudest and the quietest part of an audio signal. to put it in another perspective, It is an audio processing tool that is used to control the overall Dynamics of an audio signal or an audio portion.

To clear confusion, view the dynamic as the low (or the softest sound) and the high (or the loudest part) in an audio sample and view compression as the processing boss controlling the dynamic range of a given signal to achieve a consistent sound.

In this guide, I would be recommending the best 5 compressor vst/au/aax plugins to use in your audio or music production, this way you’ll be able to control the dynamic of your audio signal and also achieve greater control of your mix.

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(1.) The King

The King Compressor Plugin

Current Price: $149.00 | 21.4Gb of Bonus Contents

The first compressor tool on our list is The King which is a dynamic enhanced multiband compressor plugin.

I guess you know a multiband compressor means processing an audio signal in two or more frequency bands. With that out of the way, let’s see some features of the king:

Compressor Bands: The King multiband compressor went a bit further by incorporating 5 EQ controls that allow you to alter the Low, Low Mid, Mid, Mid High, and the High, this way, you can customize an audio signal to soothe your need.

I should also mention you can adjust the threshold plus the makeup gain for each and every individual band.

Tip: Note that the threshold determines when to start compressing, so, I will generally steer clear of setting an individual threshold of every knob, most times, the master threshold of The King would suffice.

The Mix Knob: This is more of like soloing the effect being used, this way, you can compare it to the dry mix. Another great thing about the mix knob is that it can be used as a parallel compressor.

A handy Limiter: This would help to prevent clipping or prevent the audio material from going above the 0db mark.

Magic EQ: The magic equalization help in automatically cleansing a track, it features three different shapes & curves, the first one is for cleaning muddy-frequency, the second & third is for the master bus; this is useful if you want to clean up disorganized frequencies.

Upward and Downward Compression: These knobs are either reducing loud sounds over a certain threshold (Downward) or increasing the loudness of an audio signal over a certain threshold (Upward).

Input and Output Gain: The Input gain helps in setting the level going into the compression and the output gain helps in setting the level going out of the King Multiband compressor.

Bonus: As an added bonus, W.A production would give you access to 3 audio courses 7 video tutorials about compression, 5 Ableton Live templates, 6 FL Studio templates and over 700 of samples and Loops, over 100 preset patches and many others.

The King Compressor Bonus

Key Features:

  • 5 Compressor Bands
  • 5 Band Make-Up Gain knobs
  • Input/ Output Gain
  • Upward & Downward Compression Knob
  • Magic EQ with 3 different Shapes/ Curves and a built-in Limiter!
  • Overall Plug-In Mix knob
  • 21.4Gb of Bonus Contents

System Requirements:

  • Mac ( OSX 10.7 and later [32 & 64-bit] ) | Windows ( 7 and later [32 & 64-bit]  )
  • AU | Vst | Vst 3

The King Multiband Compressor Isn’t Recommended If…

  • You Don’t Want a Multi-Purpose Compressor Tool
  • You Need a Super Simple Compressor Tool
  • You Are Not Interested in Free Samples & Loops, Preset Patches and Video Courses on Using a Compressor
  • You Are Down to Your Last Cent and Need the Money for Other Things
  • And…

The King Multiband Compressor Is Recommended If…

  • You Want a Multi-Purpose Compressor Tool to Fix and Enhance Your Mixes
  • You Are Interested in Free Samples & Loops, Preset Patches and Video Courses on Using a Compressor
  • You Don’t Have the Tools/features Mentioned Above in Your Existing Plugins Library, and You Need Them Badly
  • You Have the Budget
  • Then…

Get

(2.) Fabfilter Pro-C 2

FabFilter-Pro-C-2-Compressor-Plugin

Current Price: $179.00

Fabfilter products are always one of the best tools in the music plugin markets, and now, we have the Pro-C 2.

Pro-C 2 is a high-quality compressor tool/plugin that can be used to do all sorts of audio signal processing, whether you need to balance a mix, a touch in the mastering bus, gluing layers of synths/drums/pads and all sort of compressing related tasks.

The Fabfilter Pro-C 2 took it to the next level by featuring an auto-gain (it would automatically adjust the gain for you), an auto-release (no need of tinkering the release knobs, a side-chain triggering, a variable stereo linking, a mid/side processing and more features in just a single intuitive interface.

The award-winning compressor has fully redesigned the interface in the Pro-C 2 which are:

  • An Animated Level/knee that Helps in Displaying When, Why and How the Compression Is Applied to Your Incoming Audio Signal.
  • Level Meters – This Displays the Actual Peak and Loudness Values, Lastly
  • Side-Chain Eq: Helps in Filtering Sounds the Way You Like.

Key Features:

  • Animated Level Knee Displays and Accurate Peak/loudness Metering
  • Side-Chain Eq Section, with Customizable Hp and Lp Filters
  • Program-Dependent Attack and Release Curves
  • Intelligent Auto Gain
  • Super-Fast Attack Times
  • Variable Stereo Linking and Mid/side Processing, with Mid-Only, Side-Only, M > S and S > M Processing
  • Audition Triggering Option; Helping You to Hear What Parts of The audio Pro-C 2 Is Triggering and How Much Compression Is Taking Place
  • Midi Learn
  • Undo/redo and A/b Comparison
  • And Many More

System Requirements:

  • Mac ( OSX 10.5 and later [32 & 64-bit] ) | Windows ( 7 and later [32 & 64-bit]  )
  • AU | Vst | Vst 2/3

Fabfilter Pro-C 2 Isn’t Recommended If…

  • You Want a Super Simple Compressor Tool that Requires a Little Mouse Click
  • You Don’t Want a Multi-Purpose Compressor Tool
  • You Don’t Want/find Any of The Key Features Listed Above Useful
  • You Are on a Tight Budget
  • And…

Fabfilter Pro-C 2 Is Recommended If…

  • You Want to Carefully Control the Audio Signal Using a Handy of Featured Tools in Pro-C 2
  • You Don’t Have the Tools/features Mentioned Above in Your Existing Plugins Library, and You Need Them Badly
  • You Have the Budget
  • Then…

Get Pro-C 2

(3.) FireFly

FireFly Compressor Plugin

Current Price: $15.00

Firefly is a simple compressor tool by Soundspot, and it not only the cheapest of all in this list but also a super low on CPU load plugin; plug, play, and no hassle.

The main focus of Firefly is the control of an audio transient and stereo image. Upcoming producers get the notion of compressor wrong most times, not every audio needs compression!

The transient helps to determine if compression is useful or not. If there are lots of random peaks, and you would love to tailor or unify the audio signal, then by using Firefly Compressor, you would be able to optimize and enhance your track’s transients.

Another great feature of this super simple compressor is the support of a sidechain filter for compressing tracks, say you want to create a ducking effect or you want a Kick presence in a Drop (Chorus).

In addition to the aforementioned features,  FireFly gives you a flexible and intuitive way of compressing whole bus tracks or even a master channel.

Key Features:

  • Intuitive, Light and Easy to Use Interface
  • Designed to Work Easily with Touch Controllers E.G Raven by Slate Media
  • Detection Stage High Pass Sidechain-Filter and Stereo Imager
  • Pre-Compression Transient Shaper
  • Non-Linear Coloration Filter for Warmth
  • Preset Manager to Save & Share Your Own Effects
  • Low CPU

System Requirements:

  • Mac ( OSX 10.7 and later [32 & 64-bit] ) | Windows ( 7 and later [32 & 64-bit]  )
  • AAX | AU | Vst | Vst 2/3

FireFly Compressor Plugin isn’t Recommended If…

  • You Don’t Want a Light and Super Simple Compressor Tool
  • You Prefer a Multi-Purpose Compressor or A Multiband Compressor
  • You Are Interested in An Expensive Compressor Plugin

FireFly Compressor Plugin is Recommended If…

  • You Want a Simple Compressor Plugin that Isn’t Cpu Hungry and At the Same Time You Want a Good One that Works Fine
  • You Aren’t a Fan of Multi-Purpose Compressors or You Don’t Want a Multiband Compressor
  • You Are on A Budget
  • Then…

Get FireFly

 

(4.) Cyclone

Cyclone compressor plugin

Current Price: $15.00

This is a remarkable compressor plugin from the team behind Firefly, – SoundSpot.

One thing that I love about SoundSpot plugin is the simplicity they incorporate into their plugins, Cyclone is not only cheap but it can be used across the board from mixing through mastering, while also adding a non-distinguishable character to the sound. That said, let’s see some features of the king:

Intuitive UI: Cyclone interface is built with simplicity in mind, the controls are laid out from left to right which is similar to analog order most mix/mastering engineer would follow, this way you can speed your workflow.

Saturation: The saturation in Cyclone is a type of Soft Clipping, soft-clipping avoids the harshness by avoiding clipping and gently transitioning between the clipped and the unclipped audio signal.

In Cyclone, the saturation is dependent on the threshold and ratio of the compressor, I guess you remember the threshold determines when to start compressing and the Ration controls the amount of compression that will be applied to an audio signal, this is exactly how it works when using the Saturation in Cyclone, the harder the threshold & the ratio Knobs are pushed, the more pronounced the saturation effect will be.

There are some cases where you don’t need a saturation or soft-clipping effect, you can set the saturation parameters to Zero, and there will be no saturation applied.

Mid/Side Processing: The Mid is the mono, whenever you play a track through your stereo headphone, you are feeding each speaker identical sounds which results in the perception of one-channel sound in one sonic space between the speakers. Another way to think of the Mid, is to think of the sound coming from the center.

The Side (Stereo) reproduces sound into two audio channels giving you a more natural two-dimensional sound distribution. Cyclone compressor would help in altering the mid/side information, adding a wider sound, and gives you great control to correct any wonky frequencies.

Note: The Mid/Side features can easily damaged an audio track, use it only when necessary, most of the time, it isn’t needed.

Solo Channel: This helps in the monitoring of the left or right side channel while you are in the Stereo mode or even helps in monitoring the Mid/Side info individually when in Mid/Side mode.

Key Features:

  • Saturation
  • Mid/Side Processing
  • Simple, Light and Easy To Use UI
  • Solo Channel
  • Channel Linking

System Requirements:

  • Mac ( OSX 10.7 and later [32 & 64-bit] ) | Windows ( 7 and later [32 & 64-bit]  )
  • AAX | AU | Vst | Vst 3

Cyclone Compressor Plugin isn’t Recommended If…

  • You Don’t Want a Light and Super Simple Compressor Tool
  • You Prefer a Multi-Purpose Compressor or A Multiband Compressor
  • You Are Interested in An Expensive Compressor Plugin

Cyclone Compressor Plugin is Recommended If…

  • You Want a Simple Compressor Plugin that Isn’t Cpu Hungry and At the Same Time Has the Normal Compressor Tools (saturation, Mid/side Processing, and The Likes)
  • You Aren’t a Fan of Multi-Purpose Compressors or You Don’t Want a Multiband Compressor
  • You Are on A Budget
  • Then…

Get Cyclone

(5.) GRIP Valve Drive

CFA-Sound_GRIP_Vale_Drive_Compressor

Current Price: $33.95

The Grip is an emulation of the superb german vintage tubes of the 1960s and a modern Voltage Controlled Amplifier (VCA) workhorse, the combination of this is a hybrid and powerful dynamic processor with a soothing distinct character.

GRIP Valve Driver is built to be a Vintage compressor with a warm and colorful tone of the valve tube circuit, and this is fully optional, you can either use the Valve Drive option which would enhance the color of the compression or without the Valve Drive to have a clean as possible compressor on your audio signal.

The Valve Drive effects feature a different taste of drive, you can either use Triode which will enhance the sound by adding even harmonics and warmth and the Pentode mode helps in adding more of odd harmonics for a crunchy or crispy sound.

Key Features:

  • Emulation of The Superb German Vintage Tubes
  • Triode and Pentode Drive Mode
  • Intuitive Design and Workflow
  • Low CPU Usage
  • Intuitive Design and Workflow
  • VCA Compressor Model
  • Versatile use by Mix Control for Valve Drive and Compressor

System Requirements:

  • Mac ( OSX 10.6 and later [32 & 64-bit] ) | Windows ( XP SP2 and later [32 & 64-bit]  )
  • AU | Vst

 GRIP Valve Drive isn’t Recommended If…

  • You Don’t Want a Light and Super Simple Compressor Tool
  • You Prefer a Multi-Purpose Compressor or A Multiband Compressor
  • You Don’t Want a Vintage Type of Compressor (this Can Be Switched Off/on)
  • You Are Interested in An Expensive Compressor Plugin

 GRIP Valve Drive is Recommended If…

  • You Want a Simple Compressor Plugin that Isn’t Cpu Hungry
  • You Love the Coloration of Vintage Compressors
  • You Aren’t a Fan of Multi-Purpose Compressors or You Don’t Want a Multiband Compressor
  • You Are on A Budget
  • Then…

Get Grip Valve

(Get 79% OFF) Paths 1 & 2 Bundle by Audiomodern

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