Audio Compressor Settings Chart

EQ Cheatsheet quick reference Audio Music, Recorder Music, Electronic
EQ Cheatsheet quick reference Audio Music, Recorder Music, Electronic from

Audio Compressor Settings Chart – 2023


Audio compression is a crucial tool in the world of audio production. It helps control the dynamic range of audio signals, ensuring that the loud and soft parts of a recording are balanced. To achieve optimal compression, it is important to understand the various settings and parameters of an audio compressor. This article will provide you with an audio compressor settings chart for the year 2023.


The threshold setting determines the level at which the compressor starts reducing the gain of the audio signal. For example, if the threshold is set to -20 dB, any signal above that level will be compressed. Lowering the threshold will result in more compression, while raising it will allow for more dynamic range.


The ratio setting controls the amount of gain reduction applied to the audio signal once it exceeds the threshold. A ratio of 2:1 means that for every 2 dB the signal exceeds the threshold, the output will only increase by 1 dB. Higher ratios, such as 4:1 or 8:1, provide more compression, while lower ratios like 1.5:1 or 2:1 offer gentle compression.


The attack setting determines how quickly the compressor responds to a signal that exceeds the threshold. A fast attack time, such as 1 ms, will result in immediate gain reduction, while a slower attack time, like 10 ms, allows for more transient peaks to pass through unaffected. Choosing the right attack time depends on the specific audio material and desired effect.


The release setting controls how long it takes for the compressor to stop applying gain reduction once the audio signal falls below the threshold. A shorter release time, such as 50 ms, will result in a quicker recovery, while a longer release time, like 500 ms, allows for a more natural release of the compressed audio. It is important to match the release time with the tempo and rhythm of the audio material.


The knee setting determines the shape of the compression curve around the threshold. A hard knee setting means that the compression is applied abruptly once the threshold is exceeded, resulting in a more noticeable and aggressive compression. On the other hand, a soft knee setting gradually applies compression as the signal approaches the threshold, resulting in a smoother and less noticeable compression effect.

Makeup Gain

Makeup gain compensates for the reduced volume caused by the compression. When applying compression, the overall level of the audio signal may decrease. The makeup gain setting boosts the output level to match the desired loudness. Care should be taken to avoid overcompensation, which can introduce distortion or clipping.


Some compressors have a sidechain feature that allows you to use a separate audio source to trigger the compression. This can be useful in situations where you want to compress one audio signal based on the characteristics of another. For example, you can use a kick drum track to trigger the compression on a bass track to create a pumping effect in electronic music.

Parallel Compression

Parallel compression, also known as New York compression, involves blending a heavily compressed signal with the original uncompressed signal. This technique helps retain the dynamic range and natural transients of the original audio while adding the benefits of compression. It is particularly useful for enhancing drum tracks or adding sustain to vocals.


Understanding the various settings of an audio compressor is essential for achieving professional-sounding audio recordings. By referring to the audio compressor settings chart provided in this article, you can make informed decisions about threshold, ratio, attack, release, knee, makeup gain, sidechain, and parallel compression settings. Experimentation and practice are key to mastering the art of audio compression and achieving the desired sound for your recordings.