How To Listen: Compression Edition

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Can you really hear what your compressor is doing?

In this Exclusive, Fab Dupont returns to the How To Listen Series. This time, It’s the Compression Edition.

Compressors are one of the most valuable tools we have as engineers. Offering us the ability to control dynamics and shape the tone and behavior of the source material.

But can you really hear what your compressor is doing?

Over the course of this 40-minute tutorial, Fab will show you how to:

  • Listen to dynamics not only as levels but as frequency changes
  • Send elements further back or forward in your mixes to increase depth
  • Add consistency to drum performances
  • Identify the behavioral differences between famous compressors.

After teaching you how to hear the differences, Fab will give you a quiz, where you will have to identify the difference between 4 popular compressors on Bass Drums, helping you to add the sonic signature of multiple compressor settings and styles to your sonic memory.

Learn techniques and approaches to compressing vocals, drums, and one of the most overused applications for compressors, 2-Bus Compression; from Fab Dupont.

Reveal Quiz Answer
Equipment & Software


  • FabFilter Pro C2
  • Oxford Compressor
  • UAD 1176 Rev A
  • UAD 1176LN Rev E
  • UAD DBX 160
  • UAD SSL G Bus Compressor
  • UAD Teletronix LA-2A
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Fab Dupont

Fab Dupont is an award-winning NYC based record producer, mixing/mastering engineer and co-founder of

Fab has been playing, writing, producing and mixing music both live and in studios all over the world. He's worked in cities like Paris, Boston, Brussels, Stockholm, London and New York just to name a few.

He has his own studio called FLUX Studios in the East Village of New York City.

Fab has received many accolades around the world, including wins at the Victoires de la Musique, South African Music awards, Pan African Music Awards, US independent music awards. He also has received Latin Grammy nominations and has worked on many Latin Grammy and Grammy-nominated albums.


David Crosby

Queen Latifah

Jennifer Lopez

Mark Ronson

Les Nubians

Toots And The Maytals

What do you have to say?
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2022 Nov 02
Not sure if its just me, but the audio goes out of sync after the vocal compressor goes into bypass
2022 Oct 07
When Fab says that the attack is wide open, does he mean really fast or really slow attack time?
Brian Hunker
2022 Aug 23
Wow. Excellent class. The musical examples were amazing & especially helpful. I can now definitely hear the tonal difference that the compressors were making on the kick. Such an important level of detail. Thank you Fab!
2022 Jan 12
Thank you for opening my ears
2021 Aug 05
Once your ears become attuned to the differences it's like tasting different flavors and types of ice cream and gelato. Great class, thanks!
2021 Feb 24
This lesson was super helpful!
2021 Jan 12
Incredible lessons from Fab! Thank for your art!!
2020 Dec 27
Great Video, Fab. Thank you. Would love to see more quizzes like in this video -- it really helps some of us focus that knowledge and build some confidence. I recently took an Art of Mixing course at Berklee, and the course materials do this often; 8-10 recordings with all sorts of different EQ's and compressors, even Reverb types, and saying "which one is this?" It would be really, really cool to add this to your "Ear training" section of this website. "Here's a drum set with an 1176, and now with and LA2A, which is which?" "Here's a plate reverb, a chamber, and algorithmic hall." Thanks!
2020 Dec 19
Unbelievably amazing...thank you!
2020 Dec 04
What do you mean by the "metrosexual setting" on the Oxford? I didn't really understand that.
2020 Oct 14
2020 Oct 14
2020 Jul 05
I don't know if it was luck or if I would really stand the quiz a second time, but I got them all right and I wonder about that... :-) Great video with Fab anyways. I really can't get enough of his trainings.
2020 May 25
I like how he explains things
2020 Apr 18
Great teacher, as always !
2020 Jan 14
Great explanation of how to listen to compression. Developing my ears! Thanks!
2019 Oct 23
Fantastic video. So much learned in such a short period of time... Now to apply!
2019 Oct 02
Fantastic , thank you:) I mixed up the 1176 and the 160; hearing the uncompressed immediately before it made the C2 easy to spot.
2019 Aug 09
One of the best videos on compression. Fab uses excellent language such as "tone", "density" to train us what to listen for. The bass drum exercise was the best!
2019 May 22
Good one, thank you..
2019 Jan 09
Great Teacher
2018 Dec 10
Merci !!!
2018 Nov 27
Very useful video , it's very important things that trust your ears !
2018 Nov 21
I love this one. I've always noticed the differences between the different compressors mentioned in this video, but Fab has a great way of breaking down exactly what it is to better break down what is causing the differences and how to describe them to more readily identify what it is. I highly recommend this video for people who want to compress with more intention and objective.
2018 Sep 03
@basso: open is slow attack
TC Hotrod
2018 Aug 07
Glad to see these "How to listen" series are back. Fab always have a very pedagogical way to approach any mixing issue from the very begining of Puremix. He manages to remain interesting whatever subscriber's skill level. I guess this is real part of PM success. These videos are really complementary to full mixes. Keep on releasing guys ! @ basso : "open" attack setting means slow. ;)
2018 Aug 01
Absolutely superb stuff. Fab is really amazing at explaining things.
2018 Jul 31
Is an "open" attack setting, fast or slow?
2018 Jul 27
Thank you Fab for leaving the cookies on the lower shelf where I can reach them! Guy
2018 Jul 25
It's very useful for understanding how attack works . Also it helps to understand that it's not very good idea to have just one universal compressor for everything. Drums part of this video is the most clear for understanding the difference between compressors.
Sariel Montalván
2018 Jul 24
Please, in spanish!
2018 Jul 19
Great video! Just saw the Q&A with Ryan Hewitt. Is it possible to see pure mix other videos on you tube too?
2018 Jul 17
Pretty cool video! Thanks, Fab, you are awesome!
2018 Jul 16
At25 minutes I hear the snare jumping a lot in volume, it's quite confusing :)
Phantom Studios
2018 Jul 14
Very helpful video. Very detailed yet to the point. Would love to see more like this. Thanks Fab!
2018 Jul 12
Thank you, really thank you sir
2018 Jul 11
GREAT We waiting for an EQ edition now^^
2018 Jul 11
Always interesting stuff! never paid too much attention to attacks but since this video...i will! Thanks puremix! always over the top ;)
L Pass
2018 Jul 10
2018 Jul 10
Hi. I'm not good in english, and i want to know - can i turn on subtitles?
2018 Jul 10
great stuff! in the quiz I mixed up the DBX and the C2 because to my ears those two guys are in the same ballpark. I have yet to find something where the LA2A is of any help. Whenever I turn it on at first I don't hear any difference and though I'm gently cranking it up it goes from nothing to squashed within the blink of an eye. And it's not nice squashed- it's dead
2018 Jul 10
great stuff! in the quiz I mixed up the DBX and the C2 because to my ears those two guys are in the same ballpark. I have yet to find something where the LA2A is of any help. Whenever I turn it on at first I don't hear any real difference and though I'm gently cranking it up it goes from nothing to s
2018 Jul 10
Thanks Fab, useful stuff to know!
2018 Jul 09
wow. Perfect course. Thats awesome teaching. thanks man
2018 Jul 09
Clear, unbiased and thorough. Vital info to be able to hear the difference between a vibrant mix and a flat, lifeless one. Excellent tutorial!!
2018 Jul 09
Superb lesson..tough quiz ,couldn’t guess the right order though. So back to listening while keeping my eyes closed that’s the tough part , so used to looking at the screen while working.
2018 Jul 09
great video Fab, thanks. though I wished u talked more about using compression to put thing forward / backwards in a mix context, and changing compressors while mixing to giving examples (though you gave lots of hint!). I also would like to ask a video about multi band compressors in depth like this too, eq too (also some videos about harmonic content, which is something that I still get confused a lot....)!! thank you very much. ps: I was wrong on C2 and uncompressed. haha