Compressor & Limiter Reviews

By George Shilling and Russell Cottier

With many years experience working as recording engineers and producers, our review team of George Shilling and Russell Cottier know the good from the bad. In many cases it's a matter of taste, some prefer one EQ over another but we try to provide unbiased and objective reviews of the equipment tested.

Vertigo Sound VSC-3 Discrete VCA compressor
Mar 1 2023 Discrete VCA compressor
Vertigo Sound VSC-3

German based Vertigo Sound has been a name in high-end audio gear since 2007, launching with the VSC-2.

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Vacuvox U23m Valve based vari-mu compressor limiter
Nov 8 2022 Valve based vari-mu compressor limiter
Vacuvox U23m

The first audio compressor was the Telefunken U3, used at the 1936 Olympics, and in the 1940s came the U13. Then, Rohde & Schwarz developed the third generation U23 in 1953.

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Warm Audio Bus-Comp Stereo VCA compressor
Aug 23 2020 Stereo VCA compressor
Warm Audio Bus-Comp

Since 2011 Warm Audio of Austin, TX have built up quite a range of studio outboard based on classic designs, marketed at bargain prices. The Bus-Comp is no exception.

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Bettermaker Bus Compressor Stereo VCA compressor with digital recall
Jul 6 2020 Stereo VCA compressor with digital recall
Bettermaker Bus Compressor

Bettermaker’s new Bus Compressor treads a now familiar path for the Polish hardware manufacturer. They have built a reputation for digitally controlled, recallable, high quality analogue hardware since the EQ230P Pultec-style EQ.

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AnaMod AM670 Stereo Limiter
Dec 23 2012 Stereo Limiter
AnaMod AM670

So, here we go again with yet another Fairchild 670 recreation. Only, hold on, this one really doesn’t feel quite right. Yes, they’ve made a good stab at the front panel, but this thing is almost as light as a feather.

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CharterOak SCL-1 Stereo compressor
Dec 23 2012 Stereo compressor
CharterOak SCL-1

CharterOak have been making boutique microphones since 2002. Endearingly, rather than boosting his ego, founder Michael Deming, (an engineer and producer of some note), named the company after a local Connecticut landmark.

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ACME Opticom XLA-3 Leveling Amplifier
Dec 23 2011 Leveling Amplifier
ACME Opticom XLA-3

The Opticom is a 2U mono opto limiter which combines high speed photocells with all-valve circuitry.

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Universal Audio 2-LA-2 Dual optical compressors
Dec 23 2011 Dual optical compressors
Universal Audio 2-LA-2

UA have been at it again. Previously, the 2-1176 packed a pair of mono 1176s into the space usually occupied by just one of them. And UA have performed another magician’s trick with the LA-2A.

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SSL Mynx and E Series Modules EQ and dynamics based on the 4000 E consoles
Dec 23 2009 EQ and dynamics based on the 4000 E consoles
SSL Mynx and E Series Modules

SSL’s XLogic X-Rack system is now well established with a large range of modules with the flexibility to cater for all kinds of application, and boasting the major attractions of mixer configuration possibilities and Total Recall, utilising the excellent sonics of SSL’s SuperAnalogue circuitry.

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Groove Tubes The Glory Comp Mono valve compressor
Dec 23 2008 Mono valve compressor
Groove Tubes The Glory Comp

The Glory Comp (GC hereon) is a sister product of the ViPre microphone preamp.

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D.W.Fearn VT-7 Stereo valve compressor
Dec 23 2008 Stereo valve compressor
D.W.Fearn VT-7

Such is his perfectionism, Douglas Fearn spent nearly 10 years researching and designing this stereo compressor.

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Ted Fletcher Audio Gear P38 Stereo Mastering Compressor
Dec 23 2008 Stereo Mastering Compressor
Ted Fletcher Audio Gear P38

King Edward is dead. Long Live King Edward the (P)38th, proclaims George Shilling… The P38 “Edward the Compressor” is the latest in a line of designs from Ted Fletcher that officially started with the Joemeek SC2 in 1993.

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Chiswick Reach Stereo Valve Compressor
Dec 23 2008 Stereo Valve Compressor
Chiswick Reach

Chiswick Reach Studio has carved out a niche for itself in the London studio market as a provider of vintage recording technology.

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Crane Song STC-8 Stereo compressor / peak limiter
Dec 23 2008 Stereo compressor / peak limiter
Crane Song STC-8

This is a sophisticated US-built stereo compressor, designed with attention to detail in both function and form. The unit's designer David Hill has taken a very scientific approach: the manual is littered with charts and diagrams. But this approach is firmly based on sonic performance.

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Daking 52270 Mic Pre/EQ and 91579 Compressor/Limiter Geoffrey Daking pro audio
Dec 23 2008 Geoffrey Daking pro audio
Daking 52270 Mic Pre/EQ and 91579 Compressor/Limiter

I suspect that many readers outside the US have never heard of Geoffrey Daking. I hadn't. The man himself is a studio owner and 'audio tinkerer'.

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Neve 8801 88R console channel strip
Dec 23 2008 88R console channel strip
Neve 8801

This is a product that now seems obvious, and although there have been board room and financial shenanigans, one might wonder why it has taken Neve so long to produce it.

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