In music production, compression is an essential tool for controlling dynamics and shaping the sound of your mix. While there are countless paid compressor plugins available, there are also some fantastic free options that can deliver professional results.
In this article, I'll introduce you to all the best free compressor plugins you can add to your audio toolkit today. Let's dive in!
Acustica Audio Arctic
Arctic is a versatile Multi FX Acqua plugin that combines a compressor (COMP), limiter (LIM), and distortion (SAT) in one convenient tool. From smooth compression to hard limiting and extreme overdrive, Arctic simplifies your workflow and helps you achieve the perfect mix. The innovative 'morphing' slider allows for fluid transitions between processes, while the 'fine-tuning' controls enable precise and detailed settings. Arctic makes it easier than ever to achieve a homogenized sound and overall processing for your mix.
Acustica Audio TAN
TAN is an analog-style compressor that uses Acustica Audio's unique "sampling" technique to capture the sound of high-end studio hardware. Its warm and smooth sound makes it a great addition to your plugin collection.
ButterComp is a unique compressor plugin that has gained a cult following for its subtlety and exceptional sound qualities. It may not be suitable for all typical compressor tasks, but it has a fervent fan base for those who appreciate its distinctive features. ButterComp uses a bipolar, interleaved compression method, which means it employs four completely independent compressors per channel. This results in added second harmonics and an airy openness to high frequencies. The plugin is incredibly fluid and pure, making it an excellent choice for a specific kind of "glue" compressor.
Pressure4 is not about analog modeling; instead, it simplifies its algorithm to let the music shine through while still providing a pleasing and organic sound. The plugin's charm lies in its ability to deliver specific and controllable sound shaping without being overly complex.
Analog Obsession Britpressor
Britpressor is a vintage-style compressor with a smooth and warm sound. Its simple interface and performance make it perfect for adding character and glue to your tracks.
Analog Obsession BUSTERse
BUSTERse is an SSL-style bus compressor that delivers the classic punchy and transparent sound of SSL consoles. Its versatile feature set makes it perfect for both mixing and mastering applications.
Analog Obsession FETISH
Analog Obsession Varimoon
Analog Obsession Yala
Audio Damage RoughRider 3
Audiotools AdHd Leveling Tool
Inspired by classics like the LA-2A Leveling Amplifier, it offers adjustable attack and release times, gain reduction ratio, a side-chained high-pass filter, and a dry/wet knob. It’s suitable for various types of signals.
D16 Audio Group Software Frontier
FXpansion DCAM FreeComp
This analog-style compressor VST plugin mimics the dynamic range reduction characteristics of vintage console compressors, making it ideal for subtle compression on stereo buses or master channels. DCAM FreeComp delivers a realistic model of a classic console bus compressor design, enhancing punch and definition while gelling subgroups and entire mixes together.
Fircomp is a versatile and transparent compressor with a fast attack and release time. Its simple interface and powerful features make it perfect for a wide range of applications.
Klanghelm MJUC jr.
Kiive Audio Xtressor NUKE
The Kiive Audio NUKE Compressor is a versatile plugin that aims to deliver powerful and precise compression with a user-friendly interface. This compressor is designed for a wide range of applications, making it suitable for various genres and production styles. The NUKE Compressor offers an array of features, including adjustable attack and release times, ratio settings, and input/output gain controls. Its simple layout and visually appealing design make it easy to achieve the desired compression effect, catering to both experienced producers and those new to audio processing.
Tokyo Dawn Records TDR Kotelnikov
TDR Kotelnikov is a high-quality, transparent dynamic range compressor that offers excellent control and versatility. With its advanced stereo linking and sidechain filtering features, it's perfect for mastering and mixing applications.
Tokyo Dawn Records TDR Molotok
Molotok, a simplified version of TDR Molot GE, is a musically characterful dynamics processor. Meaning “Small Hammer” in Russian, Molotok provides a rich range of exciting compression colors at your fingertips.
Tokyo Dawn Records Vladg Molot Compressor
This unique compressor offers an analog-style sound that intentionally colors the compressed audio, functioning as a saturation effect and tonal shaping device. Molot features aggressive hammering sound, smooth saturation, mid-scoop EQ, built-in limiter, and up to 8x oversampling. The plugin is suitable for rock drums and bass and can be used on both tracks and busses. The user interface is available in both Russian and English. Please notice that it has been discontinued.
MCompressor is a versatile and transparent compressor with an advanced feature set. Its customizable interface and comprehensive metering make it suitable for both beginners and experienced producers.
Native Instruments SuperCharger
SuperCharger by Native Instruments is a powerful compressor and saturator that adds warmth and character to your mix. Its easy-to-use interface and unique features make it a great choice for producers of all skill levels.
ViatorDSP Bedroom Compressor
The Bedroom Compressor is a dynamic processor based on a Diode Bridge compressor, specifically inspired by the vintage yet modern Rupert Neve's 5254 Dual Diode Bridge Compressor. Viator DSP developed this plugin, which is also based on the renowned Shelford Series channel strip. Diode Bridge compressors offer a unique sound compared to other types, allowing for a cleaner sound with a distinct harmonic flavor.
Xfer Records OTT
OTT is a multiband compressor with a unique, over-the-top sound. It's perfect for electronic music producers looking to add aggressive compression and character to their tracks.
Yuri Semenov Compressor Classic OLD 2M
The 'Compressor Classic OLD 2M' plugin by Yuri Semenov is based on the iconic Chandler Limited TG1, which was used in Abbey Road Studios' consoles. Its main features include Input Gain, Output Gain, Comp/Limiter selector, and Recovery controls, as well as Stereo and Dual Mono processing options. The plugin also offers a unique 'Mono LIM to CMP' processing mode and a Low Cut filter. In terms of harmonic coloration, it enhances only odd harmonics, adding warmth and richness to the processed sound.
Download Compressor Classic OLD 2M
With such a wide variety of options available for free, there's something for every producer and audio engineer. Don't hesitate to explore these fantastic tools and elevate your music production to new heights. Happy mixing!