• Iona Catherine

What is a 'compressor' in music production?


If you're new to music production, or even just recording or mixing music, the term "compression" can seem mysterious. This post will demystify what compression is and how it works.

Compression is one of the most commonly used effects in mixing.

Compression is one of the most commonly used tools in mixing. It can be applied to almost any signal, and this flexibility is what makes it such a powerful tool. Compression can be used to make a signal louder or quieter by evening out the volume of a signal beyond a certain set threshold by a set ratio.

For example: If you set your threshold at -20 dB and your ratio at 2:1 (or 2:1), then any part of your signal that's above -20 dB will be boosted by +2 dB while anything below -20 dB will remain unchanged.

Compression can add power to your sounds by evening out their volume.

Compression can add power to your sounds and mix by evening out their volume. It is therefore used in almost every mix-down process that you can think of because it helps control any unwanted peaks or troughs that may occur. For example, vocals or instruments that have been recorded live are likely to have bumps in their volume that can be evened out in post-production via a compressor.


In conclusion, compression is a very useful tool for mixing and mastering music. It is important to use it carefully so as not to over-compress the signal (which can result in an unpleasant distortion). If you are new to compression then it may take some time before you get used to this tool but once mastered it will become second nature!

I hope that this explanation of compressors was helpful. If you would like further in-depth 1:1 guidance from me, Iona Catherine, at learnhowtomusic.com, then don't hesitate to drop me an email via my contact page. I look forward to hearing from you.

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