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First time I mixed I used the Fish Fillets compressor on my guitar tracks. Thought it sounded pretty good. This is a free vst plugin though which means there should be a way to get even better sound - from a compressor that's not free. :wink:

When someone asks "what tool should I use for mastering?" they almost always get the same answer: T-Racks, Ozone or Soundforge. Is there a well-known software compressor in the same style that "everyone" likes and talks about?

And I wouldn't use Fish Fillets for vocal tracks so any suggestions for a good compressor in this area?

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I'm a big fan of TRacks, but it's a specific type of sound. It's "colored", not transparent. I also have the Waves Rennaisance compressor (part of the Rennaisance plugin pack) which I've found is a more sterile sound. I also use the FL Compressor a lot which is pretty surgical too.

There's also "Dominion", a free VST plugin that can create some more saturated/crunchy sounds, though I'm not sure if it would be good for vocals.

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The difference between just any compressor and a mastering package like T-Racks and stuff is not necessarily the cost of the thing. It's also the fact that a mastering solution offers a multiband-compressor, with different compression ratios per frequency band (low, lo-mid, mid-hi, high). This matters quite a bit.

You might try to simulate this; simply group the end result and split that in 4 parts. Put a strong equalizer over every part. Put a compressor on every group, but use different settings.

Below's a schematic of each of those groups.

multiband2cu.png

It might take a while to get there but it can be a free solution :). Plus, more important - you'll learn what works and what doesn't. Mastering is no dark art, albeit that it seems that way, sometimes. A plugin that does the work for you will stay a black box; simulating what happens in there will make things clear.

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Hmm, there's one thing I don't get. I thought T-Racks and Ozone were mastering tools, for the final stereo mix. I've heard the compressor in each tool is great, but can I use them on single tracks (such as guitar or bass) as well?

In that case, I think I will. :wink:

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Well.. yes, it can do the same thing, but do you really want to have to bounce out individual tracks every time you want to use the program? The plugin just mkes infinitely more sense.

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If you're just gonna use it for mastering, then the standalone is fine. It's cheaper too. Though, I think the standalone's limiter is single band and something else might be different too. Can't remember.

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