Compressors are at the epicentre of audio dynamics.
They’re critical tools that allow us to smooth out out peaks and levels, glue our groups together, and so much more. But, specifically, what are the best compressor plugins for vocals?
We have your answer, so don’t fret! Whether it’s serial, parallel, or sidechain compression you’re concerned about, or not, we have a list of three compressors that will fulfil all of your compression wishes.
Best compressor plugin for vocals: The 1176/LA2A Combo
The Waves emulation of the CLA-76 compressor is truly a great compressor or vocals. It comes in two colours (blue & black) and both are emulations of versions of a classic 60’s Compressor/Limiter. Users of this epic plugin will already know why we think it’s one of the best compressor plugins for vocals.
The CLA compressor is still considered vintage hardware. So much so, in fact, that people will still pay big bucks for them. Though they don’t offer a whole bunch of features, (Input, Output, speed of the Ratio Curve, and Ratio pre-set), used in serial compression this compressor will allow you to achieve amazing tones and dynamics on your vocals.
CLA-76 has a fast Attack which doesn’t allow for too much time between a loud transient and the compressor kicking in. This is why serial compression is far more desirable with these compressors! Many people like the CLA-76 on vocals for the “merciless” attack times and crunch those pop vocals up.
Softube is a renowned brand, and this compressor lives up to its epic reputation. An optical compressor with a high-ticket opto unit that many people for its “musicality”.
The Tube-Tech CL-1B is much like the CLA 2A emulation by Waves that we discussed above. The optical compression method is known to be a softer technique that works well for vocal compression. But that doesn’t mean it can’t get serious with your signal when necessary.
It is all about the secret DSP sauce of how nothing is really linear. Add 2db of Gain and suddenly your sound is different. Changing one knob is like changing five knobs on a “clean” compressor. Over time you can get a sense of what is going on. Until then…
FabFilter is known to generally pioneer their own state-of-the-art plugins, rather than emulate known classics lie the two we have discussed above. Highly scientific visual interfaces and endlessly tweakable parameters allow you to get really down into the thick of your signal.
For surgical work like mixing vocals, FabFilter presents an indispensable set of tools. This compressor is no different! The Pro-C 2 is great for learning what compression actually is too!
Eight unique compressions “styles” in the Pro- C 2 including one specifically for vocals.
Get your new plugins to work on wicked vocal samples!
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