The Fundamental Controls of Compressors

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The best professional mixing engineers are typically also the best professional lazy people. Instead of having to manually ride faders constantly engineers decades ago invented an automatic volume automation tool and called it a compressor.

In this tutorial, Fab Dupont explains the most essential controls on this powerful and often confusing studio staple.

Fab explains what each knob does and gives you easy-to-remember tips that will simplify the process of dialing in your own compressor settings.

Compressor controls covered:

  • Threshold
  • Ratio
  • Make-up gain
  • Attack
  • Release

Learn how to set your compressor to gently kiss the peaks or rudely slap around the input signal with Fab's detailed explanations and clear audio examples.

Compression has a signature sound to it - once you hear it and understand exactly what's going on you can truly be in control over the tone, level and speed of your tracks.

Be sure to check out Compressor Controls Part 2.

Plugins Used:

  • Avid Dyn3 Compressor/Limiter
  • Universal Audio UAD 1176LN

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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.


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What do you have to say?
Leave a comment
2020 Dec 19
You are the most funny teacher xD love it, ty
2020 Sep 15
Excellent video. I use it in all of my sound production classes, and the students love it. I wish I could explain these things as well as Fab does!
2020 May 27
This video is not loading up. Part 2 does, but this one does not. You need to fix it.
2020 Jan 11
Quel plaisir d'avoir un prof aussi drôle et clair à comprendre. Pourquoi tous mes profs au lycée n'étaient pas comme ça? Merci à vous professeur Fab
2018 Dec 29
Excellent teacher!!!
2018 Aug 19
Once again! Proof that Fab is the best teacher on this site, he breaks down complex topics into easy to understand
2017 Jun 16
By far the best tutorial on this topic I've seen so far!
2017 May 31
Isn't Fab a great teacher/mentor? Thank you monsieur!
2017 Jan 19
Thank you Fab !! I truly appreciate the lesson !!!
2016 Dec 06
Very funny und lively and well explainded - thx!
2016 Nov 22
I have a good understanding of compressor functions, but I watched this anyway. I've seen/read quite a few videos/articles about compressors and this is the best explanation Bravo Fab!
2015 Jun 16
Haha Fab, I love this video, it´s hilarious =) Thanks
2015 Apr 28
For the French mathematicians: Gain reduction in dB = OS - [OS x R] where R is the compression ratio 1/n and OS is overshoot in dB GR = OS - [OS x 1/n] where n is the denominator in the compression ratio If n = 1, then GR = OS - [OS x 1/1] = OS - [OS x 1] = OS - OS = 0, ie., no reduction. If n gets so VERY big as to approach infinity, then the ratio 1/d becomes VERY small and approaches 0 and therefore GR = OS - [OS x 0] = OS - 0 = OS, ie., 100% reduction in the overshoot which is what a limiter does.
2015 Apr 08
Fantastic video Fab. Even for those who have been using compressors for a while, it's great to back up for a moment and really get an understanding of what is going on...and you have done a marvelous job once again laying things out in a way that provokes methodical thought. Thank you. I've truly deepened by knowledge and changed the way I approach compressors.
2014 Dec 06
I don't mind spending money on an educational video that confirms what I already know but I thought this one was so basic that it could have been a freebie...
2014 Dec 04
I would love watching a video about 2-bus-compression. I know how to handle comp settings on individual tracks but the last comp in chain makes me struggle sometimes especially when it comes to finding the right attack and release settings. Would be cool watching Fab do this special task in a special video.
2014 Nov 01
FAB....great job! excellent video!
2014 Oct 30
Absolutely BRILLIANT explanation of compression parameters. Thanks Fab!!!!
2014 Oct 29
One of the best explainations about compression I've seen. Good job Fab!!!
Fabulous Fab
2014 Oct 29
@emey: the french are coming, the french are coming!
2014 Oct 25
Thank you very much, another great tutoriel on the audio tools, but will you put online a French version, because it is too much compressed for me in English ;-)
2014 Oct 17
great video but could to be the example files
2014 Oct 16
Great, very well done Fab!
2014 Oct 14
Excellent video!!!
2014 Oct 14
Super erklärt! Well Done!