The Basics of a Compressor

Do you want to know how to use a compressor? You are at the right place to learn. Follow these 6 steps to successfully use a compressor. The basics are below

GAIN REDUCTION METER
How much gain is being reduced by the compressor.
The more gain is decreased, the more the compressor is working.

THRESHOLD
The volume level where the compressor starts working. So if the audio volume is louder than the threshold level, the compressor starts working. If you lower the threshold, more audio will be compressed.

RATIO
Determines by how much the volume is reduced.
The higher the ratio, the more aggressive the compression.
To read a ratio, flip the numbers around. For example, a ratio of 4:1 means
that for every 1dB that goes above the threshold, 1/4th of a dB comes out.

ATTACK TIME
Determines how quickly the compressor completely engages and
reduces the volume of the audio.
Faster attack times make an instrument thick and controlled.
Slower attack times make an instrument punchy and exciting. Unless
you have a reason, this is usually preferred.

RELEASE TIME
Determines how long it takes the compressor to completely disengage
and return the audio to its normal level.

KNEE
Determines how aggressive the compression sounds.
A “soft knee” (1.0) makes the compression more subtle.
A “hard knee” (0.0) makes the compression more obvious.

MAKEUP GAIN
Increases the output level to compensate for the loss in volume due to
compression.
Use makeup gain to keep your instrument from getting quieter in the mix.

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