View Full Version : Why do compressors have such a short attack by default?

06-03-2015, 11:07 AM
A question for all the mixing people out there. I was wondering why compressors all default to about 10 ms attack time when, in typical application, the attack is set to significantly longer times...


06-03-2015, 11:15 AM
It might be arbitrary. There's no such thing as a "typical" situation, since compressors can be used on a wide variety of sources in a wide variety of ways, to achieve a wide variety of results.

One would think the default for a compressor should be the most transparent, i.e. highest possible threshold, longest possible attack, shortest possible release.

06-03-2015, 11:21 AM
What's the typical action and for what genre is your typical action referring to?

There is a use for every setting on a bus or individual track. If u want to do parallel compression. Smashed with a .1ms attack is a common starting point.

SSL Mixbus comp on hip hip or rock oriented track. Many put the comp inline at beginning of mix, set attack to 10ms. Some set it attack to .1 and touch it lighter on gain reduction. Many start at 30ms on attack. Adjust ratio 2:1. 4:1.

06-03-2015, 12:26 PM
sorry I should have said "most transparent". I understand there is an application for more aggressive attacks but don't you typically want to preserve transients?

IDK I guess I still have many years of learning ahead.

06-03-2015, 02:04 PM
It depends entirely on what you want the compressor to do. Sometimes I run the fastest attack available. Sometimes I don't:o