Best compressor for vocals: Quality within budget

Do you find it hard to produce the best vocals for your songs? Most probably all along you have being using poor compressor. To have a breakthrough to that, check out the above 3 best compressors for vocals and pick the one that fits your liking.

DBX DBX0117 compressorCheck Price
Warm Audio WA76Check Price
Avalon VT-737spCheck Price

1.DBX DBX0117 compressor / Limiter  White – best compressor for vocals – budget


Talking of the list of the best compressor for vocals, it will be a disguise if I fail to place this compressor in that list. The DBX 166XS is a dual channel compressor and gate. It is a sizable unite that will only occupy 1 rack space and it is painted using an eye catching hue of shining white colour which makes it to be easily noticeable. Out of my blazing yearn to get the best compressor for vocals, I was able to procure different brands of DBX in the past, out of all of them I am getting this DBX 166XS to be the best built unit with a knob that doesn’t break off very easily. Ever since I procured my DBX 166XS I have never come across any problem concerning it’s knob or the unit as a whole. I have already used it for now about a year. You can crystal clearly see how reliable of quality the unit is.


This compressor will greatly assist you to maintain your live sound under control. Maintaining a professional and polished edge for your dynamics is very simple courtesy of this unit. All you need to do is simply connect your DBX 166XS  compressor to the rig of your live sound. This compressor comes with a very transparent sound that works perfectly with guitars,drums, vocals together with other sources of sound. With this compressor, you are assured of 100% smoothing levels as it comes with a classic auto mode.  In addition, you can easily monitor the gain reduction and smoothing levels thanks to the help of its easy to read and bright LED indicator. To get maximum clarity levels, the unit comes with a program adaptive expander on its either channels. Other features that makes it to be among the best compressor for vocals include:

  • Side chain insert
  • Dual-mono operation
  • Classic auto mode for nearly error proof operation New gate timing algorithms for smoothest release.
  • Balanced inputs and outputs on ¼ TRS & XLR connectors


  • Comes with a perfect mode that distribute the work over trio compression paths cutting off any transients slip on extremely dynamic signal
  •  Pocket friendly
  • Best smoothening levels


  • Not the prettiest despite of having an amazing look behind the optional rack mount faceplate that is capable of pairing with an RNP or RNLA which are products from the same company.




I regard this to be the best option for starters in the profession as it is quite affordable and has a more transparent performance that will keep you on the chase to your vision.


2.Warm Audio WA76 Discrete compressor


The list of the best compressor for vocals can never be complete if you fail to mention this compressor. The WA76 basically is a 2U rack mountable unit that it’s faceplate anodised in a black hue inside a slightly muted contrast to loudy orange amongst the other existing WA. its label “WA76” is nicely highlighted on it using a black and silvered -filled rack. Somewhere at it back,the balanced XLR audio ins and outs are well duplicated on TRS jacks. Beside these, there is a pad that is of great use when you want to lower the incoming signal by 23dB. This feature makes it possible for you to “drive” the compressor for coloration even when your mic preamp lacks an output attenuator and still give out an appropriate level to the compressor’s compression circuitry.


At the back, there is also a power inlet. Differently from UREI models, this compressor has the ability of being powered by an external transformer. According to me, this is better than a wall-wart as it saves on build costs for you. This comes about as there isn’t high main voltage inside it and hence little need for screening inside it.


It’s front-panel is greatly inspiring as it has similar appearance as those of 1176 apart from the orange lettering that is made on it. The big input knob is finally stepped whereas the output one is some kind of smooth. The smaller Attack/Release knob are centrally positioned making it possible for the fattest of the fingers to operate it. At the sides of its meter, there lies 4 buttons. The anticipated compression ratios of 4,8,12 and 20 lies to the left with the last two being limiting ones. In addition to that, there is also a nuke option. If you wish to apply the option of no compression at all, you can ensure all the buttons are outly positioned by half depressing adjacent knobs before releasing them.


The buttons positioned at the left gives you an option of picking on the the meter display of your liking. The Gain Reduction is positioned at the top and the output level ption on either +8 or+4 dBm the moment the meter display 0 and off. Other features that makes it to fall amongst the list of the best compressor for vocals are:

  • 48V phantom meter
  • Integrated 115/230V power supply unit
  • Additional tremble band EQ points
  • Switch for phase reversal
  • Incremented potentiometer
  • Tone button for switching the input impedance
  • Works well with Wampler compressor


  • Lovers of warm coloration can enjoy that by simply passing their signal through the compressors bypass mode.
  • Sleek appearance
  • Relatively affordable


  • Its compression ratio settings are only limited to 4 options



The limiting amplifier is designed to affordably emulate the classic UA 1176 which I bet you will never set sight on such in the current days.


3.   Avalon VT-737sp Class A Mono Tube

To wrap up my list of best compressor for vocals, I present to you the above avalon compressor. It combines a tube pre, optic compressor together with a 4 band EQ in a 2U space. Observing it from the left front panel, there is a preamp gain,input control knob for connecting line instruments or mic and an instrument input port. In addition, there are [push buttons for filter, high gain, phantom power and phase. The high pass filter comes with a knob that begins from 30Hz upto 140 Hz.


Again the pre is an awesome opti compressor that performs wonderfully on vocal tracks without interfering with the original singers voice. After the compressor, you will see the 4 band EQ that is awesome on the transparent side. EQ basically works best if you have a tube fpre. This is because the pre already comes with a smooth sound and so the EQ makes it possible for you to play with the frequencies without interfering with the true character of the pre.


The Avalon 737 performs well when it comes to bass DI. its pre add a remarkable smoothness and the EQ makes it possible for you to shape the sound to be of your liking without altering its overall tone.


  • It features an unbelievable preamp and parametric equalizer n addition to the world-class compressor.
  • Relative affordable


  • Being a single channel, you will be forced to have two of them in order to record a stereo




If you are a fan of pop, R&B and Rap studio recordings, then I bet you have heard this on some of your favourite tracks and album without realising it. The best background vocals you always hear from those tracks are as a result of Avalon VT-737sp. 6 songs in this list have used this compressor. Can you spot them?



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