The most used effects in music production are eq and compression and it's no coincidence that there's an Internet full of paid and freeware reproductions, homages, improvements-on and re-imagingings-of both of these. Names like Neve, API, SSL, Fairchild, Pultec, Trident and others stir the soul and create huge explosions of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome in case you're struggling with that one) in all normal people, and if you can't manage a real one then you can at least have a working picture of one in your DAW.
Now, if all you want to do is to add a few dBs of compression to a track it doesn't get much simpler than this standard DAW compressor featuring not much more than a few knobs with easy-to-read numbers above them and a large and simple graphical display that shows you exactly where you're up-to.
So that's the way to go then?
Oh, and of course, you're going to end-up at some point staring with all-night-session-weary-eyes, in despair, at a non-resizable, photo realistic rendering of a classic rack-unit, complete with era-authentic slot-head screws and rust, that has the controls for threshold, ratio, attack, release, hold, HPF, RMS/Peak, input gain, output gain, mix, side-chain, gain reduction, saturation, multi channel band x-over points and q factors on tiny little knobs with no markings, sitting next to postage-stamp sized meter with no numbers and a blown-backlight. Get over it - it's pretty.
I have-to admit, I like to see attractive plugins on the screen and I feel as though they anchor me when I'm working. All other things being equal I'll use the great sounding plugin that looks good and has great ergonomics. Sell me one like that and I'll come back the next time I need something. Some, like the Slate VBC sound so good that I'd use it if it looked like a broken cardboard box and I had to send a postcard to Steven Slate if I wanted to change a parameter . Others like the Waves HComp will do just about anything and are so easy to use that it makes sense to grab it for just about everything, but I still find things that I didn't know it could do, and I still use my clones because for all their limitations I feel as though I understand them.
Just in case you think none of this matters, IK Multimedia added their British Channel Strip to the T-Racks custom shop and must have been amazed at the barrage of complaints about the look of the interface. Do you know what they did? They changed it!