Onlineguider: Audio Compressors

This tutorial covers audio compressors and how they are used.

Welcome to our online guide on audio compressors!

Most of us have encountered compressors in one form or another. But while you may be thinking of the ones in your fridge or in your garage, this guide covers a special kind: the audio compressor.

To understand how it works, let's think of an air compressor like the kind that's used to fill tires. It takes an amount of air and squeezes it into a smaller space, thereby reducing its volume. The same principle applies to audio compressors, but here it's the audio signal that's being squeezed. The compressor reduces the volume of the louder portions of the signal, while raising the level of the quieter parts, thereby reducing (compressing) the overall dynamic range.

So why do you need an audio compressor? How are compressors used in audio engineering, and what aspects should you consider when you're trying to decide which one to buy? On the following pages we would like to give you an overview of audio compressors, including many useful tips on how to use them.

This online guide consists of several pages – just select the different topics from the table of contents below.

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