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D8 Skills #129 | Researching Types of Compressors

D8 Skills #129 | Researching Types of Compressors

Today, I researched the different types of compressors:

VCA Compressor:

  • Stands for 'Voltage-Controlled Amplifier' which is the component at the heart of the circuitary.
  • Reacts to peacks that are above the user-set threshold.
  • Known for having a fast reponse and are therfore a good choise on transient-heavy sound.
  • Depending on how you set them, VCA's can be transparent or not to the original tone & harmonic characteristics.

FET Compressor:

  • Stands for 'Field-Effect Transistor,' which was designed to emulate the behavior of tube circuitry.
  • FET compressors offer even faster reaction times that VCAs.
  • Imparts a distinctive sonic fingerprint on the source material.

Low-Level Compressor:

  • A.K.A 'upward compression.'
  • Like a standard downward compressor, it reduces dynamic range but does so by bringing up lower sounds rather than bringing down louder ones.

Multiband Compressor:

  • Routes the incoming audio signal into a number of crossover filters which divide it into several frequency areas, allowing you to independently apply compression to each.

Optical Compressor:

  • Compressors typically split your input signal into two parts: one is sent through a detection circuit, which determines how the compressor will act, and the other is the audio that's operated upon by the compressor and sent to the output.The detection circuit in an optical compressor is unique: the audio signal is turned into light, which triggers an electro-optical sensor that governs the amount of gain reduction.
  • The response is smooth and transparent.

Tube Compressor:

  • Produces smooth compression with warm and pleasant colouration.
  • Not very fast acting, so not as good as FET of VCA for transient control.

Non-Emulative Digital Compressor:

  • Digital compressor that isn't designed to simulate the sound and behavior of specific vintage units and have capabilities that take advantage of the precision and versatility of digital technology.