It’s easy to get lost in the bombardment of new plugins. Sometimes spending hours looking on you tube at new stuff, proprietary or not. Ah common you know you do so…. painstakingly fiddling with settings ad nausea to make our tracks sound more like what you would hear on the radio or cd’s and vinyl. Much is achieved by using compressors, re verb, and EQ’s.

The right compressor and settings can help you get a punchier kick a fatter snare, etc.. by altering the dynamic range. Look at it as a volume fader which you can slide down on high peaks a couple of DB and bring the quieter parts up a bit to even out the dynamics and make it sit better over all in the mix.

Before exploring which compressor plug-ins are available let’s look at the analog compressor types of olden days. Four electronic building blocks were used to build them, each giving them their character and functional use.

>Optical >>> Compression is achieved by the lag between the light bulb and a photocell, giving it a distinctive attack and release time. For example an LA-2A comes to mind.

>FET >>> With invention of the Field Effect Transistor quicker response was attained. Universal Audio 1176

>VCA >>> in the 80’s DBX came out with the 160 series giving you more control over the compression parameters, some models however does not give you many options to control their parameters.

>Vari Gain >>> as it implies various ways to achieve compression FC670, Manley Vari Mu.

In part 2 next week we will check out our Linux equivalents.