The Creme by Tegeler Audio Manufaktur is the only hardware compressor in my studio. I mainly mix through it and also use it for mastering. It is a stereo compressor with built in Pultec style EQ that gives my mixes a very gentle tonal lift in the highs and lows when needed. At times I have found the compressor to be so transparent that I have completely forgotten I'm mixing through it.
We get to test a lot of gear at Pro Tools Expert without giving much thought to returning the items after review. The Creme was one of those rare times that I knew I would really miss this item if I returned it. So I purchased it without hesitation as the Creme really did find a natural place in my workflow.
Manic Compressor - Boz Digital Labs
The Manic Compressor by Boz Digital Labs has become my go to mix buss compressor for two reasons. The first being it is parallel compression made easy giving whatever I put through it a full yet compressed vibe. The second reason being that the Manic Compressor has six very different compressor modules that all sound great and are easy to switch between. It's a compressor I love at it works when subtle compression is required or extreme pumping is needed with anything in between sounding equally as brilliant and characterful. This is a real must have if you are a serious mix buss mixer.
VMR FG-401 - Slate Digital
Don't get me wrong, I am also a fan of the Slate Digital FG-116 as well but the FG-401 is to my ears more interesting and transparent. I use this when I want compression but don't want to hear the effects of compression. The FG-401 is my go to piano compressor as it retains the attack of the piano notes whilst still managing the dynamics in a musical way.
Cost: $199 for VMR (not sold separately)
RVox - Waves
Managing the dynamics on a vocal can at times be challenging as it is very easy to over do it. I've found using complicated compressors on vocals can result in vocals sounding too squashed. The Rvox by Waves is the simplest compressor with the biggest responsibility in my mixes. Each time I use it Rvox rises the challenge and gives me exactly what I like in vocal compression without the chance of over doing it.
Those are my top 4 compressors explaining how and why I use them when I mix music in Pro Tools. Let's hear your favourite compressor products.