It's all a matter of taste and budget. The two main catagories of compressors that most people use every day are optical units and FET compressors. Optical units work via a photocell, a sort of light bulb, and when the signal gets louder the light gets brighter and this causes the gain to be reduced. Example of optical units include the Urei LA-2A and LA-3A
, the Manley ELOP
(and their now discontinued solid state Langevin version), Tube Tech CL-1B, and the Anthony Demaria CL1000 and CL1500. Optical units provide fairly TRANSPARENT compression and are good for people who don't want to hear compression artifacts. Although there are no rules, optical compression is often used for vocals when tracking but they also work well on acoustic guitars and bass. However, if you want to squash the heck out of something, you want an FET compressor.
FET units include the Urei 1176
and 1178, the dbx 160VU and a host of others. These of course can be used for anything, including vocals, but are probably most popular on electric guitars and drums, but again, it depends on your taste. These types of compressors can really give you some HEAVY gain reduction and will leave some sonic artifacts which you may or may not like.
tries to imitate a couple of different compressors and will give you some flexibility, but nothing imitates an optical unit like a real optical unit and it sounds to me like that is what you are looking for. Having said that, Geoff Tanner has a great reputation and I am sure his Aurora brand, Neve inspired, compressor is great but I have not used one.