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Tutorial: Compression – Understand the funktions – Application examples

What are the possibilities of compression?

Initially it should be mentioned that generally the dynamic range is reduced by compression. This means that the difference of the peak-level between the „lowest“ and „loudest“ point reduced, in the audio file. There are two types of compression. The upward- and downward- compression. Most used is the downward compression. There will be reduced the hi-level peaks, thus increasing the signal density, which result is a reduction of the dynamic. At the upward compression this process behaves inversely, only the low level peaks sections to be raised.

Compressor types

A distinction is primarily between wideband- and multibandcompressor. Furthermore, there is the tube compressor and the opto compressor. The widebandcompressor processes the entire frequency range of the audio. In the multiband compressor can be defined different frequency bands, which can be compressed independently of each other depending on the type. The tube compressor operates with an electron tube instead of a semiconductor circuit, which for many, has according to the opinion that a tube compressor makeswarm“ sound. In professional circles the opto compressor called „British Compressor“ he uses a light-emitting diode in the control. I would say, it sounds like „lax“ or „sluggish„, but which still sounds very musical and it opens a new way of creative work in the mixing or Testmaster process.

When we recommend what kind of compressor?

„Good is, what sounds good!“

So I would not say that it is to use a specific type of compressor for a particular type of audio material. Take, for example, a drum set from the rock genre, where you could work with any compressor. Do I want to make the whole signal sound uniform, I would prefer a wideband compressor, for me, this process is as a kind of „bonding process„, in which I assembling the individual elements by using the „glue“ (compressor) to build one unit. I use the multiband compressor, for example, if I have different attack and/or release times, on different dynamic areas of the audio material. In the Testmaster, I work inter alia with the Drawmer S3 multiband tube compressor.

Example: Vocals

I hope this video could bring you the functions of a compressor and the compression a little bit closer. Since the topic involves a very wide range of knowledge, it was not possible to talk about all features of compression. In the future, when over all basics was written, we will write subcategories about every topic.

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