Originally Posted by Red Mastering
interesting that nobody mention PSP MASTERCOMP
in mastering suite, as a most transparent device Mastercomp
is my choice number one
That's probably my favorite too, although they each have their strengths. PSP is 'transparent', but adds a certain punch that sounds good on almost any source. The same is true of their Vintage Warmer and Xenon Limiter.
Some other contenders for best mastering comp:
Sonalksis 315 (with sidechain) - probably the softest vst comp out there.
Waves SSL - good to add a little high-end definition, very subtle.
KjerHaus Golden Comp - really more of a tracking compressor, but with a soft knee slow attack setting and a moderate ratio, it can be used in the Master chain to great effect. Is the most versatile and overall useful of the bunch, IMO. Also the cheapest.
FabFilterC - Another soft one, and one of the few that is really good at bringing the peaks down (instead of raising the quiet parts up) without introducing distortion.
Waves LinearMb - great for tightening up boomy lows and taming uncontrolled peaks. Should be used sparingly.
Waves API 2500 - can pump and be grabby like a vintage comp, colors the source in a pleasant way, but is very particular about settings.
Waves VComp - The loudest software compressor I've heard. Good for adding a litte mid-forwardness on. Input has to be turned down and Output turned up for this one to be useful.
Voxengo Marquis - big, punchy, versatile, has a sidechain.
Samplitude's Multiband Dynamics - awesome comp, totally different character than the Waves.
Sonnox Dynamics--all of the Sonnox plugs--are very transparent as well. You really don't hear it working at all at moderate settings. Dynamics has a range of features that many comps, especially those modeled after vintage gear, don't have. Their transient modulator is also a nice tool for shaping transients. Can't say that I can even hear what the Oxford Inflator does, after matching pre and post volumes.
They all have different characters, really. You just have to with the one most suited to the sound source.