10. Conclusion

Among the abundance of compressors offered today, it is difficult to make a definite suggestion as to which ones to consider. First and foremost, it depends on the applications the device is intended for, and the available budget. The good news is that nowadays, there are many affordable alternatives to the expensive rack-mount units that used to dominate the market.

For home studios, where the computer serves as the central hub, software plug-ins seem like the logical choice. If you are worried about system resources and processing power, look into DSP systems. There are even hybrid solutions that combine the user interface of a hardware unit with the flexibility of plug-ins. Some modern rack-mount multi effects units offer USB interfaces and can be fully integrated into the DAW. We are looking forward to further innovations.

For live musicians and FOH mixing engineers, on the other hand, a hardware compressor is still the way to go.

Empirical Labs EL8X-S
Empirical Labs EL8X-S Distressor – one of the most flexible compressors on the market

Then, there's the world of high-end studio compressors. Users of these devices swear by their sonic characteristics, which could not be matched even by the most expensive software plug-ins. Here, there are no alternatives.

Finally, one last category should not be forgotten: multi-band compressors. They are available as 19" rack-mount units and as software plug-ins. Because of their price and complexity, they are most often used in mastering applications. (You can find more information in our online guide on mastering.)

All devices in our online catalogue are covered by our 30-day return policy and our 3-year warranty, no exceptions. Feel free to order an item of your choice and try it out with no obligations. If you return it to us in mint condition within 30 days, we will gladly exchange it for a different item or refund your money.

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