Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
Compressors, like all dynamics processors, work by measuring the incoming signal's amplitude against a user- defined reaction point, where the compressor will begin to work. This reaction point is known as the compressor's threshold. Think back to our example of watching TV and turning down the volume at a commercial break. We all have a unique threshold of how loud is too loud and what will force us to grab the remote and turn down the volume. That volume level is our threshold, and is actually the most important component of any dynamic processor.
In a compressor, a signal level above the threshold will cause the compressor to react, while a signal level below the threshold is left unaffected. The threshold's value is generally measured in the dBFS to match our DAW's metering; therefore, a value of 0 dBFS means that threshold is sitting at the digital clipping point and can go no higher. The Threshold level goes down as you dial it deeper into the negative numbers. For example, a threshold setting of -20 dBFS would cause the compressor to react to any signal whose amplitude is measured at over -20 dBFS up through 0 dBFS.
Therefore, a signal of -10 dBFS could trigger a reaction in the compressor, while a signal of -25 dBFS would not. Now that we know what threshold is and how to read its values, how do we actually use it? Well, that depends on a number of other compression parameters, including ratio, which we will discuss in the next movie.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
73 Video lessons · 20697 Viewers
130 Video lessons · 20922 Viewers
110 Video lessons · 12758 Viewers
71 Video lessons · 17004 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.