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  1. #1

    What is Compression

    what is compression? What does it do? what is it's proper application?

    Thanks bunches

  2. #2
    Hmm. Hammer, ya still around? Would have responded earlier if I'd seen this.

    A compressor is a circuit which continually, automatically turns the gain up and down so as to reduce the loudness difference between the louder and quieter parts of a speech or music signal. In radio, its main use is to turn up the quiet parts so the station sounds as loud as possible, while turning down the loud parts so the transmitter doesn't overmodulate. In live sound, compression is used to turn down the loudest parts to prevent speaker burnout. It can also be used whenever you want a signal level that is always the same loudness or nearly so.

    Fast compressors which do not operate until a certain threshold level is reached, and then turn down the gain very rapidly, are often called "limiters." Compression is also called "Automatic Gain Control" or AGC. The most sophisticated compressors, used in broadcasting, subdivide the frequency spectrum and control different frequency ranges independently, so as to reduce the perceived damage to the sound that often comes with heavy compression.

    Electric guitar players use "compression" to refer to the rounding-off of waveform peaks that occurs when a tube amp is overdriven. It is desirable in a guitar amp; guitarists use it as a creative tool.

    When a speaker's voice coil moves back and forth so far that it begins to go outside the field of the permanent magnet, or when it gets hot, the speaker's output decreases. This is called speaker compression and is undesirable. Speaker manufacturers go to a lot of trouble to design speakers that compress as little as possible.

  3. #3
    Karl gave a very good description. I will add this:

    Compression is best left turned off if you do not know how to use it. It is not an 'Effect', and should not actually be heard (it should do what it does to level peaks and valleys, but should not cause any noticeable 'change' in sound. )

    In My opinion, it is best to learn to run a rig without compressors, then, as you get more experience you can patch one in and play around with it...

    I've worked big rigs with many comps available and left that rack untouched... really depends on the situation and players.

  4. #4
    Shure publishes a good guide to all sorts of processors. Go to their website and put "processors" in the search. What you're looking for is "Selection and Operation of Audio Signal Processors" by Gino Sigismondi.

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