I've applied processing in excess so that you can really hear what's going on. You can use the dynamic range analyser in LEVELS to make sure your mix stays punchy. You'll notice in the image above that compression isn’t applied to the signal until after the transient has peaked; this is due to a slow attack time. I want to invite you to join me in the Black Ghost Audio group on Facebook; it's full of producers currently working in the music industry who are more than happy to help you improve your productions. The higher the ratio, the more extreme the compression. Perhaps your snare track “bites” too hard, or the bass you’re processing has too much “slap.” In both of these situations, an element of your song is refusing to play nicely with the rest of your mix; when you turn the troublesome channel’s level up, the transients are too loud, and when you turn it down, the channel’s soft parts are too quiet. Using a compressor to balance out audio with a large dynamic variation will give a very uneven sound. The most basic use for a compressor involves taming transient material using downwards compression. The alternative to using downwards compression is using upwards compression, which boosts the level of signal that falls below the threshold you’ve set. Someone striking a snare beside you will sound much more harsh than someone hitting the same snare 100 feet away. Learn how to use compression to tame transients, highlight transients, and create space in your mix. They’re powerful tools but using the wrong setting can suck the punch out of your music. This is done by compressing the sustained material between transients so that in relation to the newly attenuated sustained content, the transients are more pronounced. Compression is not a simple process, but it’s made much easier when you understand the fundamental principles of the controls. My preferred fix for this is to increase the ‘lookahead’ time. So when should you use a compressor and how should you tweak the parameters to work with the material? When you set your threshold, you don’t need to apply copious amounts of gain reduction. This compression technique will help you achieve a more polished and exciting mix while adding snappiness along the way. The right choice depends on your goals. The problem is, sometimes you need the fast attack time to attenuate the transient of the audio. Any compression you use should preserve the character of your audios transients. This requires a fast attack and release time. Use left/right arrows to navigate the slideshow or swipe left/right if using a mobile device, Is your track release ready? If you found this post useful then you’ll love my 138 page eBook on songwriting, mixing and mastering. A moderate attack time of around 30 ms should allow your transients through, and a fast release time of 10-30 ms will ensure that the compressor doesn’t remain engaged for too long. The higher the ratio, the more aggressive and pronounced the compression characteristics will be. The Ratio setting determines how much the compressor reduces or attenuatesthe signal. Ableton’s stock Multiband Dynamics effect allows you to perform upwards compression, as does FabFilter’s Pro-MB if you increase the Range knob to positive values. Sound waves produced by a sound source far away lose their transient properties as they propagate towards your ears; this is a result of absorption, diffusion, and diffraction. Having a full understanding of the intricate details of a compressor will help you realize your sound goals. Perhaps you’re mastering a track in which the kick and snare, two of the most prominent elements in the mix, aren’t present and impactful enough. For example, Logic Pro X has a very powerful stock compressor that includes multiple different compression algorithms.