Recently I’ve been working with a free, easy to use compressor from Klanghelm called MJUCjr (no idea how to pronounce it). It’s a great plugin I think you should have in your arsenal. It has a warm sound and goes from a transparent to more heavily compressed sound. Other than it’s nice looks, one thing I found significant is how simple it is to use. There are only 3 settings, how Compress, Make-Up (gain), and Time Constants (predefined attack and release).
How it essentially works is that you turn up the Compress knob until it starts to well, compress the signal. Depending on the Time Constants, it will start compressing at a different threshold set by your Compress knob. Once you find the right combination of Compress + Time Constants, you then turn up your Make-Up gain to match the amount compressed shown in the VU meter.
I think this is a nice plugin, especially for those in their beginning stages of mixing because it has less settings to focus on; making it an easier way to learn compression. I find it works best for 3-5 db gain reduction as I found it starts to pump heavy after that point. However, I’ve only used it for vocals and melodic instruments (I haven’t tried it on drums yet).
Give it a try and let me know what you think with a comment below.