Hardware compressor remain a valuable tool, even with the advancement of technology in the function of plug-ins. Without a doubt, it’s adding a solid appearance, and amplification to the audio signal. No matter if it’s used on the front-end, or the mastering, and mixing process. Are you looking for the best budget compressor? Check out our list.
Why Should You Get A Hardware Compressor?
Thanks to the great advancements of digital audio technology over the past few years, why should you get a hardware processor in the first place? While it’s not a lie that compressor accessories can do wonderful stuff, there are several reasons why you may want to own a few units of compressors.
You can enjoy a greater and more loud sound by utilizing a practical hardware compression system throughout tracking. There is no need for much, as it’s best to leave the majority of dynamics the same for mixing. It works far better than applying “input effect plug-ins”.
Good hardware processors for this year
So here are the top affordable hardware processors for this year.
Best Cheap Hardware Compressor FMR RNC 1773
This is currently the smallest, and for most the best hardware compressor model out there with a simple structure and two functions – ”normal”, and “SuperNice”. SuperNice function is a revolutionary concept that utilizes cascading compression to mitigate artifacts in the signal, following compression. The attack periods are brief, making the model good enough for drum overheads as well as stereo room microphones. Plus, it lets you connect it with your setup easily through 1.4 inch inputs/outputs and a side-chain opening. Even in the case of greater decline levels, the FMR Audio RNC yields an airy kind of compression without undermining the high end.
Hardware Compressor KlarkTeknik 1176-KT
The conventional FET compression offered by the 1176-KT is omnipresent in the music industry, and this perhaps the best option at a lower price tier that KlarkTekniK currently offers. Externally, the model looks identical to a classic 1176 with all the ratios, controls, and buttons included. Top-notch quality Midas converters help keep a professional and clear sound at an affordable price level.
ART Pro VLA
The natural and clear method of compression offered by devices like the popular LA2A are a great addition to any recording establishment. The Pro VLA by ART is a circular compressor that yields this kind of leveling at a low price.
See also Budget Audio Interface.
It features two channels that facilitate better special control of the signal than other similar models, featuring ratio, release, attack, and threshold. You can use this hardware compressor in any mode (stereo or mono) which will be a plus for any recording session.
Golden Age Project COMP-54 MKII
GAP’s audio hardware compressor hardware includes several low budgets and Neve-like units, and the COMP-54 MKII is a version of the lively traditional compressor from the vintage manufacturer. As you can see, it has with 4 large controls: attack, release, ratio, and threshold. Moreover, you can adjust high-pass filter to 50Hz, 100Hz, and/or 7kHz. The unit also allows the connection of two units for stereo purposes and a VU meter that may recognize output or reduction. All the above features come in a functional half-rack item that is also good for desktops and fittable into a rack.
Fredenstein Audio V.A.S. Hardware Compressor
The desktop best compressor hardware unit in Fredensteins’s collection is another device inspired by their previous OPA2 operational amplifier. It yields a strong and linear interaction with the signal. The foundation of its sound stems from a solid steel body output converter. Plus, its dynamic scope can move from light compression to limiting.
Moreover, the V.A.S unit can also yield routing savings with a combo control for dialing in New York style (parallel) compression. Perhaps its edgiest feature is its 2-level meters, which track gain decline and output at the same time. The side-chain filter enables its use for several applications, and the device can be connected for bass and stereo function.
Black Lion Audio Bluey
The cost of the Bluey Lion is not the lowest on the “budget compressor” list, but it’s too special to exclude from our list. Inosited by the popular mix mechanic Chris Alge’s highly edited blue strike “1176”, the producer makes this special sound easily accessible. The classic controls are not missing. Also, unlike the original version, there is a blend known for establishing parallel compression without the need to arrange additional routing. The unit can also be connected to bass and stereo inputs.
GAP Comp-3A Jr Hardware Compressor
A historic device available from 1969, the LA-3A is a lesser-known compressor, but its impact on guitars is nothing but iconic. The upgraded version borrows the sound and subtle circuitry of its legendary predecessor in a micro ¼” space rack device. The converter-base system yields the welcoming compression sound you’d expect from a Neve model. There is also a 3-spot time switch to choose between different release and attack periods. Also, if you are feeling bold, you can switch the time pace of some spots through interior controllers.
See also Behringer Model D Soul.