By Amit Sachdeva, Senior Sound Engineer, Musicloudstudio & Technology
Unveiling the secrets of Audio Compression (Part 2)
Introduction: Welcome back to the AUDIO COMPRESSION SECRETS Series! In this segment, we will delve into the various types of compressors and their specific applications. (If you haven’t already, check out Part 1 to grasp the fundamental principles of audio compression.)
Understanding Compressor Types: You’ve probably encountered terms like VCA, FET, Opto, etc. But what do these terms really mean? Let’s explore:
FET (Field Effect Transistor) Compressor:
Recognized for its rapid attack time.
Yields pleasing distortion.
Ideal for achieving a tight mix.
Adds an energetic texture and punch.
VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier) Compressor:
Highly transparent and flexible.
Offers a rich tone.
Best suited for situations requiring tight control over dynamics.
Produces a polished sound.
Variable Mu/Tube Compressor:
Slow attack of the tubes preserves transients.
Applied to groups/subgroups to unify tracks.
Introduces smoothness and warmth.
The audio signal controls the light source, modulating the resistance of the LDR (Light Dependent Resistor) to compress the signal.
Yields a clean, smooth-sounding signal.
Adds a pleasing analog touch to the signal.
Choosing the Right Compressor: Each type of compressor is constructed with a specific set of electronic components that alter the sonic quality of the audio signal. This variety provides engineers with the flexibility to select compressors tailored to the sonic capabilities needed for an exceptional mix.
Conclusion: Depending on the circuitry employed, the output of each compressor may have a slightly different sound. Therefore, the careful selection of the right compressor for each mix application is crucial for achieving optimal results.