Compressors: The Essentials

Compressors: The Essentials


Total Run Time: 1.4 hrs

In this tutorial, audio engineer Jeff Dykhouse addresses the advantages and disadvantages of both hardware and software compressors.


  1. Digirack Compressor II
  2. Bomb Factory 1176
  3. Drawmer GCL
  4. Waves SSL E Channel
  5. Bomb Factory LA-2A
  6. McDSP MC2000 Multiband
  7. Digirack Compressor III
  8. Digidesign Smack!


  1. Teletronix LA-3A
  2. Smart Research C2
  3. dbx 160x
  4. Aphex Compellor
  5. Behringer Tube Composer T1952

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Compression is a process that manipulates the dynamic range of an audio signal to achieve more uniform and consistent sound by altering perceived volume. By understanding their use and how to manage compressors, your vocals will stand out from the surrounding instrumentation, your drums and percussion will appear to have a more sustain sound and give guitars a fuller sound. Since the type and amount of compression is dependent on the type of audio signal being processed, Jeff outlines how the various compressor controls affect the audio signal manipulation that is required. You will see and hear how different compressors affect various instruments and how to apply it to your music creation.

Sample clip

Course Outline

Chapter 1: Introduction (1 min)

  1. Introduction
Chapter 2: What They Do (7 min)

  1. Theory of Operation
Chapter 3: How To Use Them (34 min)

  1. Level Control, Peak Limiting, Increase Average Levels, Special Effects
  2. During Recording
  3. At Mix down, Parallel Compression, Delay Compensation
  4. In Mastering
Chapter 4: When To Use Them (7 min)

  1. Controlling Excessive Dynamics, Compensating for Lackluster Sounds, Increasing Loudness Without Clipping, Creating Special Effect
Chapter 5: Comparing Software Compressors Guitar (11 min)

  1. On Acoustic Guitar
Chapter 6: Comparing Hardware Compressors Guitar (7 min)

  1. On Acoustic Guitar
Chapter 7: Comparing Software Compressors Drums (9 min)

  1. On Drums
Chapter 8: Comparing Hardware Compressors Drums (6 min)

  1. On Drums
Chapter 9: Summary (1 min)

  1. Summary

Presenter Info

Jeff DykhouseJeff Dykhouse has been actively involved in audio engineering for more than 20 years. He has been a user of computer-based recording systems from their inception. Jeff’s diverse career has earned him gold and platinum awards (RIAA). Many of Jeffs endeavors have been within the Praise & Worship genre, where he has worked with top artists such as Paul Baloche, Crystal Lewis, Kevin Prosch and The Violet Burning. Additional clients include corporations such as RCA, Apple Computer, NBC and Charles Schwab. Jeff owns and operates a recording facility and systems design company in Temecula, CA.