So, I've started doing some recordings with new better gear (AT2035, Fast Track Pro) and the quality is good, but I'm in need of something more. I'm not really a skilled singer, so one problem I've been having is audio levels. I've been trying to stick with quieter vocals because when I've tried varying between quieter to louder vocals, I get those *lower* to HIGHER audio levels. I pretty much need something to help me get that smooth, more professional sound. Can someone recommend me any good, preferably cheaper, compressors?
Most daws have compressors built in. I use the ones that pro tools provides in program.
hardware or software?

if software, i am very fond of the Cakewalk Sonitus:FX plugin series. i believe a free compressor that you might want to consider is the blockfish series. i have heard alot aobut them on other sites but have never used them. http://www.digitalfishphones.com/main.php?item=2&subItem=5

Antares Modern Compressor is another free software that isn't to bad, although I have never used it on vocals. I couldn't find a quick link and I have to leave if you need help finding it let me know and I can track it down fast.

Quote by mh1986
Most daws have compressors built in. I use the ones that pro tools provides in program.

very good point i almost forgot
Was originally thinking software, but now I'm sorta thinking a hardware compressor would be best. What are some good ones for around $100-$300?
As said before, hardware or software? Software-wise, I find myself using Logic's compressor a lot as it isn't very CPU-heavy and I'm very familiar with it. I also like to use Waves CLA-76, and am considering buying the Waves H-Comp as it appears to be something I'd use more than the CLA-76 (on most things). Neither of those Waves plug-ins are particularly cheap though, and require an iLok, so for cheap stuff I'm not the best to advise on this.

As for hardware, there's an ace company called FMR Audio who make the RNC ('Really Nice Compressor') and RNLA ('Really Nice Levelling Amplifier') both of which are great value (should be able to get either of them for under £200 brand new, which is cheap for outboard gear) and sound much better than their price tag suggests. They aren't the most accurate (we tested the actual response vs that suggested on the device's control panel and there was considerable error at times) but it's about the sound more than the precision with a lot of outboard and for under £200 you can't knock it, given a new Distressor or 1176-clone will set you back well over a £1k if you're lucky enough to find one at a reduced price!

Failing that, Joe Meek make some pretty decent outboard gear for a reasonable price - much cheaper than the bigger companies anyway.
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
Really, though, you've got to spend a fair bit on a hardware compressor before they'll start really beating the software ones that you can get for free.

Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.