One of The Best Compressors Period!
If you are looking for a compressor in the $1,500-$3,000, you should seriously consider the Dual Vandergraph, 500 series or otherwise. It is simply amazing. I wanted a stereo buss compressor and originally considered the SSL 500 series. If you were thinking the same, save your money and get the Vandergraph. If you are looking to spend less than the purchase price of the DV, just save those pennies to get it. You will be very, very happy you did.
Not only does it sound great, it is surprisingly versatile. Don't be fooled by the preset ratios. I have not found this limiting at all. I can be as transparent or as heavy-handed as I want. The sidechain filters switch makes a big difference. Even without engaging any compression, the DV automatically adds a highly desirable girth and larger-than-life sound to the signal. The controls are simply for fine-tuning that added richness and tightening the dynamics. However, unlike lesser compressors, the dynamic control does NOT make the signal smaller sounding.
I've had the Vandergraph for only a couple of months and have used it as a master buss and drum buss compressor on some metal tracks. However, my studio partner does mainly hip-hop and R&B and it sounds great there too. I have to mix a jazz project that contains drums, electric bass, piano, a 3-piece horn section, guitar and vocals. I have no doubt that the DV will shine on that project too.
The only negative is that if you don't have a lunchbox, you'll have to buy one to add the DV to your studio toolbox. Well worth it though. Nothing but praise for this piece. I will be buried with my '75 Les Paul and my Vandergraph!