Setting the Compressor
In modern music, I use compression to make the sound punchy and in the face. I am doing that by letting attack through and play with the release to elongate the sound.
Remember: Fast attack reduces the punch in the mix, and slow release often makes the compressor to pump out of time with the music. Adjusting attack and release is like setting up a pace in training. Different kardio pace for different people – different attack and release time for different songs.
Because timing is so important I will share with you few steps how to set up the compressor. The easiest way is to use snare drum to adjust attack and release parameters, but it works on every instrument in the song.
1.Start with fastest release and slowest attack setting.
2.Turn the attack faster and stop at that point where the snare begins to dull.
3.Adjust the release time so that after the snare hit, the volume goes back to normal by the next snare.
4.Add to the volume with the Makeup Gain and adjust the volume in the mix.
Why I am choosing snare to adjust the compressor. The reason is simple, 99% of the time in different songs, the snare is always in tempo and it is the most constant element in the song. Always choose the instrument in the song that plays in tempo, and adjust the compressor attack and release settings.
Almost always I am using LA2A on snare. It is super easy to use. This is a part of a snare mixing tutorial and you can see the signal volume goes back to normal to the next snare beat.
Compressor must breathe in time, in pace with the song.
The Amount of Compression is usually to taste. More Compression, the greater the effect, less compression is more to control dynamic, it is from corrective character then for a sonic quality.
This is my way of adjusting the compressor. You can try your own way and if it is good on ears it is good enough.
Check out more about compression.