Compressors are an essential part of music production. They can be used in a wide range of different ways to create sounds that are unique and distinct. There are many different types of compressors available today, each with its own unique characteristics. In this mini-guide, I will explain some of the different types of compressors available and how to choose the right one for your needs. While there are many different use cases and opinions I need to say that info in this article is only my observations and knowledge of the best compressors.
The VCA compressor is a popular option because it's lightweight and easy to use. It has a simple interface that allows you to easily adjust the threshold and attack times of each channel independently from one another. This makes it easy to create sounds with more natural compression characteristics that don't sound too synthetic or unnatural.
A FET compressor is a type of audio compressor that uses field-effect transistors (FETs) in its design. FET compressors are known for their smooth, musical sound and their ability to gently compress audio signals without introducing unwanted distortion or artefacts. FET compressors are often used on drums, and vocals, as well as on electric guitars and basses. They can also be used in mastering applications to help give a track more overall polish and coherence.
One of the best things about FET compressors is that they can be very transparent. This means that they won't colour your sound too much, which is great if you want to keep your original tone intact.
Another great thing about FET compressors is that they're very versatile. They can be used on just about anything from a subtle flute to screaming synths and everything in between.
Tube compressors have been around since 1963 and have been used by artists including Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone for decades now. Tube compressors typically use a vacuum tube amplifier circuit which creates a warm tone when combined with proper settings on your pedal board settings (such as "vintage" or "warm"). Tube compressors are also capable of producing a wide range of tones, from subtle compression to harsher overdrive and distortion. This makes them ideal for creating everything from smooth jazz sounds to metal music.
Optical compressors use a light source to detect changes in volume and then reduce them with a light bulb that dims when it detects loud sounds. Optical compressors are typically used by guitarists who want their sound to be more transparent than other types of compressors. The last type of compressor available is the optical compressor. Optical compressors use light as opposed to electricity to adjust the volume levels on each note played.
A bus compressor is a type of audio compressor that is designed to compress an entire audio signal, rather than just a single track or element. Bus compressors are often used in professional recording studios and live sound reinforcement systems, to help even out the overall levels of the mix and avoid clipping.
A multiband compressor is a type of audio compression tool that can be used to process signals across multiple frequency bands. This allows for more precise control over the amount of compression applied to each band and can help to avoid the "pumping" or "breathing" artefacts often associated with traditional compressors. Multiband compressors are often used in mastering applications, where they can be used to gently tame excessive transients or add subtlety and refinement to a mix.