AR compressor help/advice

Not really friends with the compressor in the AR yet although I’m no stranger with using compressors in my daw.

I get the feeling I’m hitting the compressor either way to hard or not at all making it difficult to get that bus compressor glue effect I’m after. I would like to set it and forget it but that seems to be a bit naive with the AR.

To my best knowledge I use the SEQ (Sidechain EQ) filter set to HPS to make the compressor ignore the bass but after that it’s more or less hit and miss all the time depending on the kit I’m using.

Anyone have some help/advice or tricks to share?

It’d be nice to have a few set-it-and-forget-it settings for the compressor but I find that with all the variation in the sounds and kits, you really have to tailor it with each kit.
Once I’m happy with the sounds in the kit and their levels etc., that’s when I turn the compressor on. I don’t use it while editing the sounds - I’m in the habit of getting it to sound good before I do any compression.
I prefer the LPF setting myself, it just sounds better to my ears. And like I said, I like to get the sounds and their levels roughly balanced before I start compressing the mix - that way I can keep the threshold pretty high, the ratio pretty low, the release quick, and get a good blend of the wet/dry. This lends to snappy, dynamic, tighter sounding drums that bump. I like my drums to have some breathing room; I don’t always like brick walling or heavily compressed sounding drums.
I also consider what processing happens after the compressor - if you’re tracking I’m guessing there will be some EQ, some limiting later on… I like to keep this in mind as well. Once I dial in a good compressor setting that works for me, I’ll A/B it with a limiter and then go back and fine tune the compressor so the two work better together.


Oh and don’t forget the Gain Reduction Meter on the far right of the Compressor page - for some reason it took me a while to notice this feature. Gives a pretty good visual representation of how hard your compressor is working….

@LarsErik, I, as well have not figured it out. However, I don’t have any real compressor experience.

one thing, iirc the compressor settings are NOT saved with the kit. Doesn’t this make the compressor a problem when changing kits?

Compressor settings ARE saved with the kit.

For mild glue-y compression, turn the mix to full, attack to long (10 or 30), release to short, and ratio to 2. Set threshold all the way up, then start bringing it down counterclockwise. Get it so that the bar on the right just dips a little bit (in the top quarter) with every kick or other big hit. That should be enough to emphasize the groove while still being transparent.

From there you can play with lowering the threshold more, then mixing in some dry signal, etc…

I find it a little too easy to kill the sound with it, so I have been using it with harsh setting only mixed in at about 20 to.
It can add some front snap like that.

But yes I have tried both mixing into it and not using it until I’m happy, I think it just depends what kit you want. But less seems to be more so far, but then I have only had the machine for a few days.

Wow, thanks!

My knowledge of compressors is absolute zero. Am I right in saying that if I set the Dry/wet signal to 0, the compressor is effectively off?

What are the default values of the compressor, does anyone know? I don’t really want to fiddle with it until I know what I’m doing!

since it’s part of the kit, i would do this; save the kit with the sounds and settings that you like. then tweak the compressor as much as you like. if it gets to wild or your lost, reload the kit. Now you’re back at the start again. do this until you feel comfortable with the results. also you could save multiple kits with incremental changes.
I’ve been doing something similar with lfos. I’ve also been using scenes for this bc those are easily erased and the parts used are highlighted so yo know exactly what you’ve done. however, with scenes the readouts change.

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I find the ARs compressor quite workable actually. One thing I don’t always like tho is that the comp output setting affects the level even with the wet/dry setting at 100% dry?

Mine is always set on HPF sidechain mode, for obvious reasons. I like the nonlinear interactions of the makeupgain, compression and the output gain settings quite a bit! Flexible.

Most of the time I’m using the slowest attack value to keep transients intact. ratio and threshold are so dependant on the dry/wet and what I’m trying to go for at any given moment so they never stay fixed to any particular values.

And yes, the GR meter is your friend.

Thanks guys.

This is so annoying. I don’t understand it. If the comp is bypassed, there should be no reason that it’s output needs to be up in order to hear sound. I use compression in my DAW so I bypass the AR comp, but I can never “truly” bypass it because it needs to have some gain in the output.