Studio Economik, a great gear shop in Montreal, once set-up their listening booth with somewhere in the range of sixty compressors. People could come in and compare the different units on various signals... even their own stuff. I have to say of all the units in the room the Shadow Hills Mastering Comp blew me away. I could not believe the depth and flexibility of that unit. Stunning. You could comp till you heard ants walking in the booth and it still didn't sound compressed.
This compressor adds a cool 3D space to a source. It is certainly has an unique quality of all the compressors I have heard. It is not the best at compressing, it is gentle, but it has a unique quality that I have not heard anything else do. It is a monster at 8 rack spaces. I am guessing that a Fairchild 670 and the Big ole gates mentioned earlier are similar. The Sta-levels are real good, but the 26U has a magical something.
I heard Collins 26U last week. I think 26U might be one of most underrated limiter.
Daking FET II...awesome vocal comp. It's not real creamy but it sweetens the sound nicely and is very smooth. Release time switch is a mini museum of all-time classic compressors. Love it on vocals with good preamps. $1600.
They are the broadcast sized 31114's . The meters on these used to be remote mounted in the consoles. If you see Geoff Tanners posts, you'll see the original Metal knobbed 33609 is just 2 of these in a box with some meters. They sound great on lots of things, but please don't tell anyone or they will get wicked expensive like every other holy grail box ; )