Compression is one of the most important effects in modern music. Have ever wondered how to make your tunes louder? How to give your kick drums that WACK? Make your basslines BLOW people away! If you understand the basics then compression will, in time, become your best friend. You may think that it doesn’t really sound much different with or without it but don’t let that fool you. The Fruity Compressor (and the Fruity Multiband Compressor) is a vital tool for all computer musicians, you just have to understand how to use it.
Basically compression means to make something smaller. So lets start from the beggining and explain what each of the controls on the Fruity Compressor actually do.
Threshold: This controls the dB level that the compressor starts working for. Example: If we had say a kick drum peaking at -2dB and we wanted the compressor to compress the kick than we would have to set this to less than -2dB.
Ratio: This controls the amount of gain reduction applied to the sound once the threshold is reached. The ratio is the difference between the input level and output level. So a ratio of 2.0:1 means that when the input level increases by 2dB the output level will only be 1dB.
Gain: This controls the output level of the signal. You can either increase or decrease the signal depending on the ouput volume required.
Attack: This controls how fast the compressor reaches its full compression setting. For a kick drum (short sample) you will need a fast attack so that the compressor applies compression to the sample.
Release: This controls how fast the compressor stops compression after the dB level falls below the threshold. Fast release is more flexible to fast changing signals but may not sound pleasing to the ear as a longer release. This all depends on what you actually are compressing.
Type: Many compressors have a knee setting on them. By choosing a type you are altering the knee of the compression. A hard knee means the compression will take place immediately after input level is reached whereas a soft knee means that there is a gradual increase before the full amount of compression is applied.
Hard – 0dB
Medium – 6dB
Vintage – 7dB
Soft – 15dB
Hopefully this gives you an insight into what each of the settings of the Fruity Compressor do. With compression there is no one setting, you will have to mess around with it yourself and trust your ears!
Keep your eyes on my sight as I will post up a tutorial with an example of compression vs no compression.