A compressor reduces the dynamic range between the loudest and quietest parts of a track or bus. Quiet sounds get a boosts, loud sounds are attenuated. The common controls on a compressor are:
- Threshold: Defines the sound level where compression kicks in
- Ratio: Defines how much loud sounds above the threshold are attenuated. For example a 2:1 ratio means when the sound is 2 dB above the threshold, the output level will only increase 1dB.
- Attack: Defines how quickly the compressor kicks in
- Release: Ddefines how soon the compressor stops after the signal falls below the threshold
- Hard Knee/Soft Knee: A Hard Knee means the compressor kicks right in, a Soft Knee means the compressor kicks in more gradually as the level exceeds the threshold
- Make-up Gain: Adds a boost to the compressed signal to make up for the attenuation of the compressor
Ableton Live - Glue Compressor is modeled after the classic 80's SSL buss compressor, which is famous for its ability to "glue" the different elements of a mix together. This compressor was made in collaboration with Cytomic and uses the same algorith as the excellent "The Glue" compressor from Cytomic.
Price: Included in Ableton Live
MJUC from Klanghelm is an excellent yet very affordable variable-mu compressor. It operates in three different modes emulating different eras of compressors. Several presets available and automatic gain make-up. Don't let the low price fool you, this is a really good compressor with a nice sound!
Neutron from iZotope is a mixing channel strip with EQ, Compressor, Exciter, Transient Shaper and Limiter. The presets and Track Assistant quickly gives you a good starting point and the Masking Meter helps to avoid frequency collisions.
Solid Bus Comp from Native Instruments is a high quality and very versatile "audio glue" compressor with sidechain input and dry/wet control. Available as standalone product or as part of the SOLID MIX SERIES, Komplete 11 Select, Komplete 11 or Komplete 11 Ultimate bundles.
Price: €99 or €199 for SOLID MIX SERIES bundle with Solid EQ and Solid Dynamics.
Solid Dynamics from Native Instruments is a stereo compressor with switchable hard and soft knee modes and a Gate/Expander module. Use it for controlling the the dynamic range on single channels. The Gate/Expander will help you control background noice e.g.microphone bleed.
Available as standalone product or as part of the SOLID MIX SERIES, Komplete 11 or Komplete 11 Ultimate bundles.
Price: €99 or €199 for SOLID MIX SERIES bundle with Solid EQ and Solid Bus Comp.
SUPERCHARGER from Native Instruments is an easy to use glue compressor with a unique colorful character. Usable to warm up vocals or completely crush your drums.
Available as part of the Komplete 11 bundle. Users of Komplete 11 Ultimate bundle will get SUPERCHARGER XT instead which adds saturation and character controls..