In this video we will be looking at an overview of a compressor. Please check out our other church technology videos available at

In this video, we are going to look at an overview of compression.

Compressors are very valuable as they allow us to reduce the dynamic range of a signal, which is the difference between the loud and soft parts of a signal. By compressing different amplitudes closer together we are able to create a more level mix. So let’s take a look at the compressor.

There are several different control parameters available to us. The first thing we need to look at is the power button, or more accurately the insert button.This is rather self explanatory.

Next you will see an input gain, where you can adjust the level at which the signal comes into the compressor. As with any audio device you want to make sure you have good strong signal for the compressor to function properly but not so strong that you clip.

 After the gain stage is the threshold. The threshold tells the compressor at what decibel level to start compressing. Anything lower than the set threshold remains unaffected, while anything above is compressed. 

Next we can fine tune this threshold with the knee. The softer the knee the more gradual the transition from compressed to uncompressed. the harder the knee, the harsher the transition.

Now that we have told the compressor what signals to compress, we have to tell it how much to compress them. We do this with the compression ratio which determines the amount. For example a 2:1 ratio would reduce the part of the signal that is over the threshold by half.

The next two things to set are your attack and release time. The attack time controls how long it takes for the signal to become fully compressed after it passes the threshold. The release time is the exact opposite and controls how long it takes for the signal to fully decompress after it drops below the threshold.

After you have adjusted all the compression settings, the signal’s overall level will be somewhat reduced. The output gain allows you to make up for the lost amplitude as a result of the applied compression.

Now that you have an overview of how to use a compressor, we can take a look at specific scenarios where compression is important.

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