In what follows, we will present 6 of our favourite free compressor VST plugins that are really useful in the production process.
When comes to mixing tracks, compression is one of the most important aspects. Whether you’re looking for a free or paid compressor, choosing the right one is a bit tricky. Because from model to model, they are subtle, expressive, transparent – in one word, different. Some are best for use in the entire mix, some are so smooth that will do the right job in managing audio dynamics and levelling, while other are perfect to shape the transients of samples.
Here is our pick of the best compressor effects. If you have another suggestion, don’t hesitate to mention it in the comments section.
6 of the Very Best Free Compressor VST/AU Plugins – Table of Contents:
MJUC jr. by Klanghelm (VST/AU) is labelled as “variable-tube compressor” and is capable of smooth levelling but also heavy pumping effects. With its two gain stages and interstage transformer simulation, it offers a very deep and lively soundstage.
MJUC jr. combines very natural and dense compression characteristics of the early days of this type of compression with a more forward sounding approach and more harmonics creating of the variable-mu comps of the early 1960’s.
Rough Rider 2
Rough Rider 2 by Audio Damage (VST/AU) may be your favourite if you’re looking for a colourful compressor. Rough Rider 2 is a blend of modern compressor with a bit of “vintage” style bite, and the result is a uniquely warm sound that suits perfectly in today’s mixes.
This free compressor VST is best to add some pump to the rhythmic tracks, it works very well with drums, but also synth basses, clean guitars and backing vocals.
TDR Kotelnikov by Tokyo Dawn Records (VST/AU) is an amazing free mastering compressor (perfect for transparent music compression). Besides the master bus, it can be applied to a variety of sources such as vocals and even drum tracks.
With a sonic signature best described as “stealthy”, Kotelnikov has the ability to manipulate the dynamic range by dramatic amounts, while carefully preserving the original tone, timbre and punch of a musical signal.
Xfer OTT by Xfer Records (VST/AU) is a free re-creation of a popular aggressive multiband upwards/downwards compressor setup used by many dubstep and electro producers.
It features a depth control to scale the amount of compression, time control to scale the attack/release times of all bands, as well as input and output gain controls. There is also a real-time visual display of input and gain reduction over the low/mid/high bands.
DCAM FreeComp by FXpansion (VST/AU) features a realistic model of a classic console bus compressor design. It is intended to gel subgroups and entire mixes together while enhancing punch and definition.
You can use DCAM FreeComp at creative sculpting, taming peaks in individual tracks and creating pumping compression effects with more extreme settings.
Tan Free by Acustica Audio is a free compressor VST/AU plugin based on CORE8 with a classic analog VCA compression. Featuring an intuitive graphical user interface, it’s a very versatile tool which provides a lot of possibilities to shape the sound.
You will find the most common parameters like attack, release, threshold, ratio, dry/wet and gain, to allow an extremely wide range of adjustments. Tan Free is best for use on group busses or on the master track.
Great selection of free compressor plugins, use Klanghelm AUs all the time.
Anyone interested in free vst/AU comps, and various other processors for that matter, should also check out “Airwindows”.
Pyewacket, Logical4, Pressure are just three Airwindows compressor plugins that immediately spring to mind, all offering unique takes on the sonic behaviour of professional hardware units and in many cases surpassing the abilities of the original units. And if anyone has a saturation fetish check out his Drive/Density plugins.