1. Universal Audio 1176
This work horse compressor can be heard on loads of recordings such as Supertamp’s Logical Song. Also: pretty much all the Bowie stuff and anything that came out of Trident Studios in London.
2. Universal Audio LA-2A
One of my faves on vocals and bass. Producer Joe Chiccarelli used this box for Jack’s vocals for the White Stripes. The LA-2A is a valve compressor, so you can drive the output stage and generate a very cool tube, distorted sound.
3. AMS-Neve 33609
You can hear this unit at work on the vocals of Jessie’s Girl by Rick Springfield. And you can hear it on some Celine Dion work as well.
4. Manley Variable-Mu
This unit has become a hit within the mastering circuit, so you’ve probably heard it on thousands of records. It’s a valve-Fairchild-style compressor. Ka’s The Night’s Gambit features the Vari-Mu. Lewis Watson’s voice on Some Songs with Some Friends was treated with it as well.
5. Empirical Labs Distressor
Coldplay’s Violet Hill features the Distressor on vocals; Neko Case’s vocals on her latest album went through it too.
6. Cranesong STC-8
Again, a regular in the mastering world. Sheryl Crow and Garbage use it as part of their touring rig. Alison Krauss’s Paper Airplane has the STC-8 on the mandolin and the acoustic guitar. And it was used during Roger Waters’ The Wall tour on the basses.
7. Fairchild 670/660
You’ll hear it on a lot of Beatles stuff as Geoff Emerick loves these units. They are no longer made and if you do find one, you’ll pay a lot of moolah for it. However, there’s a fantastic re-issue on the market for half the price and it’s made by Analogue Tube.
8. Solid State Logic FX G384 (buss compressor):
According to Billboard, 74.5% of No.1 U.S. singles were recorded on an SSL G series. More recently, you can hear it in action on Aerosmith’s latest work.
9. EMI TG 12413
(Or the Chandler Re-issue) The TG1 was used extensively on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon.
Chris Kennedy is the principal product reviewer for voicecouncil.com. Chris is a musician in the United Kingdom – you can see more about his work at www.chriskennedymusic.co.uk You can also see more articles by Chris here.