Usefull Compressor settings - General

Fellow forum member JOHNNYROCKIR shared some very cool compressor settings:

Helpful setting tips from my notes:

Compressor settings


The compressor will cause some distortion if the release rate is set too high along with a high attack rate. The compressor has been optimized for attack speed as this is what guitar players like. If you set the release rate too high, though, you can get distortion. The proper way to set the release rate is to observe the natural decay of your instrument and set the release rate just slightly faster than that. For the typical electric guitar this is around 3.0.



▪ THRSH: -17.8dB

▪ RATIO: 10:1

▪ ATT: 9.6 = (150ms)

▪ REL: 1.7-1.8 = (987ms)

This setting is heavily compressed, making chords and single notes thick and even, and sustain like, forever. The medium attack allows the guitar strings to ring, and the long release holds on to produce a massive, Neil Young-like sustain.



▪ THRSH: -15.5dB

▪ RATIO: 5.1

▪ ATT: 9.98 = (11 ms)

▪ REL: 9.71 = (102 ms)

This is the fat, ballsy sound that drives many of the guitar-heavy bands of the late ’70s and early ’80s. It’s mildly compressed with a fast attack and a medium release, which allows all the strings - from low to high - to sound evenly for a massive punch. Think "Barracuda" by Heart.


Chicken Pickin’

▪ THRSH: -31.4dB

▪ RATIO: 6:1

▪ ATT: 10.0 = (1 ms)

▪ REL: 9.94 = (25 ms)

Play this sucker on a Telecaster and ride it all the way to Nashville. The fast attack nails the initial string impact, and the fast release lets it go pronto to minimize sustain. The result is a clean, snappy pluck that works great for those blazing cowboy cascades.



▪ THRSH: -27.5dB

▪ RATIO: 10:1

▪ ATT: 9.88 = (50 ms) 

▪ REL: 9.91 = (38 ms)

This setting is squashed pretty hard with a high threshold that pretty much grabs the entire signal to produce a sound with no sharp edges. The resultant velvety texture is wonderful for smooth jazz tracks and other sophisticated guitar tones.



▪ THRSH: -30dB

▪ RATIO: 7:1

▪ ATT: 9.2 = (250 ms)

▪ REL: 9.2 = (250 ms)

Clean notes that float in languid, ethereal sustain - think Ry Cooder’s brilliantly sparse lines on the Thelma & Louise soundtrack - are provided here. The slow attack allows the note attack to retain punch and impact, and the long release keeps the sound ringing. This expansive and evocative setting works great for slide parts, as well.



▪ THRSH: -21.6dB

▪ RATIO: 7:1

▪ ATT: 9.83 = (61 ms)

▪ REL: 9.84-9.86 = (84 ms)

To accentuate those funky, biting pick attacks - as heard on classic Sly Stone and Earth, Wind & Fire tracks - this medium attack and fast release does the trick.