Unit 4 – Audio Compressors Explained

For your research purposes ensure that you can identify and explain:

  • A brief overview of the history of compression (from 1930s-today)
  • Key innovations
  • Typical parameters – threshold, ratio, make-up gain, attack, release, output, knee
  • Typical applications
  • Side-chaining, parallel compression, limiting, multiband compression.

Here’s a really snappy, visual explanation of compressors which will consolidate your understanding further. Thanks to wickiemedia wherever you are. Nice!

THIS document will give you the lowdown on the history and key parameters of the compressor.

AS Mixing – Compression

The time has come to consider one of the most important (and challenging) processing tools in the studio – the compressor. A compressor enables you to limit the dynamic range of audio material and this means the audio will ‘sit’ better in your mix without poking out or disappearing as the volume of the audio varies.

Have a look at these introductory videos and, more importantly, refer to the Logic User Manual. Now try to apply compression to some of the tracks you have recorded. Start with kick and snare from your recent drum kit recordings. Try to develop your mix with further processing. ¬†You’ll need to practice using compression quite a lot before you’re really confident with it. If you run out of ideas do some more research – there’s plenty of good stuff on YouTube and this article from Sound On Sound will really aid your understanding.