Compression explained

Compression is an important tool in audio production, and there are a variety of ways to achieve it. The most common method is to use a compressor plugin on your mixing board or audio editing software. But you can also compress audio by using other devices such as limiters and gates.


Dynamic Range

Compression essentially reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal. Dynamic range is the difference between the loudest and quietest parts of a signal. When you compress an audio signal, you're making the loudest parts quieter and the quietest parts louder. This can be useful for a number of reasons.

For one, it can help even out the levels of different tracks so that they sit better together in the mix. It can also make a track sound fuller and more powerful, as well as help to control peaks and prevent clipping.

There are a few things to keep in mind when compressing audio. First, you need to decide how much compression you want to apply. Too much compression can ruin the natural dynamics of a track and make it sound squashed. Second, you need to set the attack and release times of the compressor plugin so that it responds appropriately to the signal.


Attack

Attack time is how long it takes for the compressor to start working after the signal exceeds the threshold. Release time is how long it takes for the compressor to stop working after the signal falls below the threshold. If these settings are too short, the compression will be obvious and may sound unnatural. If they're too long, the compression will be less effective.


Ratio

Finally, you need to decide what ratio you want to use. The ratio controls how much compression is applied at different parts of the signal. A high ratio means that only a small amount of signal will be allowed through above the threshold. This can be useful for taming transients or peaks. A low ratio means that a larger amount of signal will be allowed through, which can help add fullness to a track.

Compression is a powerful tool that can help you shape the sound of your tracks. By understanding how it works and experimenting with different settings, you can find the perfect balance for your project.


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