Jump to content

Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

How does one go about using a compressor?


Recommended Posts

Okay, so I'm trying to figure out how to use the compressor on my recording software. But I have no idea what any of the values actually mean or adjust. Help please?

Here's what I've got:

Input Gain (dB)

Output Gain (dB)

Reduction (dB)

Threshold (dB)

Amount (x1)

Attack (ms)

Relase (ms)


Shut up and play.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 4
  • Created
  • Last Reply

There really isn't any simple answer, but from what I've read on recording website threads it is usually best to "learn" on compressors that don't have many knobs like an LA2A or 1176.


Besides defining what each parameter technically does-- which your software's help file should do-- you should understand that how you set things like release and threshold and attack are related to the dynamics of the music you're processing.


Input gain is simple enough, raising the gain with in the "compressor unit" which in a hardware unit push it into distortion which might be good.


Your amount looks like a ratio setting which is like this 2:1 really gentle compression slightly evening out the dynamics, 4:1 and 8:1 are still compressing where 10 or 20:1 is getting more like limiting, or squashing depending on what else you've got set. If you record a kick drum that is all very uneven and it isn't consisently driving the song for what ever reason then you could compress it into consistency, same with bass parts, vocal parts can be "pushed up front" but the compressor should be a good sounding compressor not to F&*k up the sound of the vocals.


Compressors are not one trick ponys but most of their magic is done very very subtle-- pumping and squashing being extreme, and often mixed in with unprocessed tracks for effect-- but you can also torture tracks to good result.


I use it in my DAW to even out peaks and to help control digital overs, but I use a menatone compressor in my guitar pedalboard many ways, for sustain when I'm feeling it, for Southern-Fried-Barre-Chord arpeggios, to torture my distortion or amp's overdrive, and even to break convention and use it before an envelop filter to change it's behavior. I've used it to good effect on jazzy chord solos, straight ahead single note solos and solos that mix it all up. I loves my menatone JAC.

check out some comedy I've done:


My Unitarian Jihad Name: Brother Broadsword of Enlightened Compassion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...