To compress or not to compress - that is the question

Hi, I was watching a video from Rick Beato on compression and an interesting question popped into my mind.

If my patch is purely software - no connection to external physical plugins or instrument hardware - does a compressor have any efficacy? I have twiddled compressor settings (ratio/threshold etc) and all I seem to ‘hear’ are changes in level.

Or maybe my audio system, which is just a ROG motherboard audio and some 20 year old gaming speakers, is not up to scratch to hear any subtleties?

Thanks.

it has the same efficacy as it would with hardware. if the compressor is working as expected, you’ll likely hear a more “squished” sound, where some aspects that were quieter are now louder in comparison to other sounds.

so, the question then becomes: is your compressor actually working as expected?

Well I have used Nysthi’s COMPRESSOR, BogAudios’s PRESSOR, Bidoo’s bar and they change levels. The animated VU meters flicker :smile: But you’re saying compressors have a place in a pure software patch.

If you crank the ratio on a compressor you should hear it – if not, something might be wrong. A compressor doesn’t care if the source of your audio is acoustic or purely ITB.

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absolutely. you can see some criticisms of vcvrack compressors and a note about an out-of-rack compressor in this comment: Charred Desert 1.1.0 - it might be worth trying RoughRider2 and seeing how it compares.

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I just saw that Charred Desert has K compressor. TAGS!!! It didn’t get reported when I filtered on ‘Compressors’. Thanks, I’ll add RoughRider2 to Carla as I use linux.

I’ll fix that :slight_smile:

One use case I mention in the manual for my compressor - put it right after a filter and before the VCA. Set to to squish as hard as possible. Then you can sweep the filter all over the place without the level changing. I wouldn’t say it’s a better or worse sound than “normal”, but it is a different sound.

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What settings do I need for maximum squish?

In most compressors you would pick the highest compression ratio and the minimum threshold. It’s the same with mine, although the setting I call “Limit” is actually an infinite ratio. With the advantage that it’s implemented with totally separate code that uses much, much less CPU.

So set it on limit, the decrease the threshold while increasing the make up gain. The bar meter will tell you how much you are squishing, although it only goes up to about 12 db. I Haven’t tried it, but threshold all the way down, out (makeup gain) all the way up would be an extreme starting point.

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Oh, and I see you use Pressor. That should be able to do the same thing. (Pressor seems very nice. I like the way it has a sort of “program dependent release”. Might borrow that in the future).

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