This Ableton Tutorial walks through a compression example to demonstrate the various parameters on the interface.
The main application of a compressor involves reducing the dynamics of a signal ie the difference between the loudest and quietest parts of a sound. In this example Ableton’s Compressor is used to gradually and smoothly reduce the level of an FX Sweep as it increases in volume. This results in the loudest part of the Sweep being reduced by around 6db using compression so that the entire signal can then be turned up by this amount using the output fader. The net effect being that the quietest parts of the sound are boosted by 6db with pushing the overall signal into the red.
When opening up the filter on any sound there is likely to be an increase in volume as more frequencies are let through and add to the overall level. On simple sounds this can often be combated using volume automation but if the sound is a little more complex it can be easier to set up a compressor to automate the task for you.
In this example the aim is to gently and smoothly compress the sound and therefore a longer attack and release are used (the exact settings are not hugely important with a sound like this, as long as they are set long enough to avoid any unwanted pumping artifacts). The envelope is set to RMS mode so that the compressor responds to average volume as opposed to short sharp transients and a soft knee setting is used to progressively increase the ratio around the threshold value.
Finally the FX sweep is ducked by a side chain compressor that is being fed an input from the drum loop. The side chain is set to respond mainly to the kick in the drum loop to create an obvious rhythmical pumping.
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This Ableton Tutorial is suitable for all varieties of EDM including deep house, tech house, progressive house, electro house, techno, minimal and trance.