Understanding Compression and how to know which Compressor to use.

Updated: Apr 5

Besides EQ, compression is your most used tool in music production, mixing, and mastering. Just like EQ, there are different types and it is important to know how they work.

4 Most Common Types of Compressors:

  1. FET (Field Effect Transistor)

  2. VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier)

  3. OPTO (Optical)

  4. TUBE (Variable MU)

Each of these compressors offer a unique way of compressing audio. Some react fast and some slow. Some offer coloration to the audio and others are transparent. It's good that we have these options because not everything we record is the same. Whether it is hard aggressive rock music or very elegant classical music, there is a compressor that works best to control that particular sound.

All four of these types of compressors have been on countless hit records. Today, we can all have a classic compressor thanks to the development of plugins versions, and they work quite well.

I've put together and Compression Basics video where I go over each of these commonly used compressor types and give examples of how I would use each one of them. I've also included a reference diagram to help you remember this information.

Reference diagram

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