Thought some beginners might like this...

Posted on

JR Productions
Member Since: Mar 03, 2005

I was looking at some other forums and I came across this. A few other guys on the forum thought this was totally useless, but I thought it would help some of the beginners at this forum.
Useful compression settings


I found the following in the manual for a Focusrite (yuck) compressor belonging to the school where I do some teaching. I've found most of them to be good starting points for compressor settings...

The first reading is for threshold in dBu, the second (obviously) is the compression ratio.

Kick – 0dBu/2.5:1 – Use the attack control to vary the amount of punch.

Snare - +3dBu/5:1 – Raise compression ratio to make ghost notes more audible. Use the attack control to vary the ‘crack’ of the drum. Set a slower release to increase the ringing overtones of the drum.

Ambience – +9dBu/5:1 – Use with live drums or instruments to enhance natural room ambience.

Loop - +7dBu/7:1 – Add punch to sampled loops and electronic sounds, making them sit in the mix.

Bass Guitar - +6dBu/5:1 – Use a faster attack to get a funky effect when slapping. Use a slower attack for a punchier bass line.

Synth Bass - +11dBu/5:1

Percussion - +6dBu/8:1 – Suitablle for making live or acoustic drums pump, whilst taming any wild hits. Use the attack to vary the amount of punch. Use the release to control pumping.

Acoustic guitar picked - -2dBu/2.5:1 – Increase compression and make up gain to reduce the dynamic range of the guitar if it doesn’t sit well in the mix.

Acoustic guitar strummed - +3dBu/1.7:1 – Use a slower attack to make the guitar sound crisper.

Electric Guitar - +2dBu/2.5:1

Piano - +4dBu/2.5:1

Keyboard – 0dBu/3:1

Vocals - -4dBu/2.5:1

Crunch - +5dBu/6:1 – A setting to make drum loops pump. Use the attack control to vary the amount of punch. Use the release to control the pumping.

Mix (pump) – 0dBu/1.7:1 – for ‘ruff ‘n’ ready’ mastering compression.

Limit - +14dBu/13:1 – To prevent overloading the inputs of a device place after the compressor.

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I am not a crook's head
Since: Mar 14, 2003

Apr 22, 2005 11:33 pm

The ratio settings are helpful, but suggesting threshold levels to somebody isn't quite as meaningful due to the differences in tracking levels from session to session.

I wish they'd have suggested attack and release settings instead! That's something that I can't quite find the golden rules for.

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Apr 22, 2005 11:45 pm

Yeah, that was kinda my thought too...compression is too much by feel and instinct for me, I couldn't really give "general" advice.

Freeleance Producer/Engineer/Gtr
Since: Aug 11, 2002

Apr 22, 2005 11:59 pm

Yeah... my pet peeve with things like this is that people assume too much (or too little?). Like makeup gain... if you're trimming the peaks then you will have to add gain and how much depends on the level it was (or is being) recorded.

For you newbies reading this... Attain a desireable gain reduction amount (by using threshold and ratio) and turn up the gain so that it doesn't sound like anything was lost.

Adjust attack according to the material... faster tansient like a snare gets a fast attack.... bass guitar, slower attack. Release will determine how fast the compressor will stop working once triggered by the threshold so sometimes toms are too boomy in mixes because release times are to slow, yadda yadda...

And McDonald's is gross...

JR Productions
Since: Mar 03, 2005

Apr 23, 2005 12:03 am

Ya I saw it and just thought why not. It's not like it's gonna hurt anybody. I know that compression is by feel, but IMO these setting (except for the thresholds) seem to point beginners in the right direction. The best way is to start testing different settings with the compressors and such, so this just seemed like a good place to start.

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Apr 23, 2005 12:05 am

oh, ya, still totallyinteresting to read, and may give somebody that little boot in the right direction, so it's all good!

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