A beginner’s guide to understanding the compressor threshold setting

A beginner's guide to understanding the compressor threshold settingGetting to grips with the compressor threshold setting

In order to get the very best from your audio compressor, you need to understand what each of a compressor’s settings do. In this article, we’ll break down the compressor threshold setting.

(Before we get started, if you’re not 100% certain about what it is that a compressor does, you can learn that here.)

Simply put, a compressor’s threshold setting allows you to set the point at which the compressor starts compressing your audio signal. Any parts of your audio signal which are louder than the threshold will be turned down by the compressor. Any parts of your audio signal which are quieter than the threshold will remain uncompressed.

How should you set the compressor threshold setting?

How you set the compressor threshold setting is dependent on how much of the signal you want to compress. You could set the threshold just beneath the level of the loudest parts of the signal. That would mean that the compression is only happening to a small portion of the signal. Or alternatively, you could set the threshold to a lower level. Your compressor would then compress a larger portion of the signal.

Its that simple… The compressor will compress any audio signal that breaches the threshold. But the compressor will not compress anything that remains beneath it. Once you are comfortable with the idea of how the compression threshold setting works, I recommend that you move on to the compressor’s ratio setting. That’s because the ratio is the setting on a compressor which allows you to determine how much the signal is turned down by once it has breached the threshold.

Does this help you to understand the way the compressor threshold setting works? Is there anything else about the threshold I can help you get to grips with? Please leave your thoughts or questions in the comment section below.


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