Compressor settings

Curious what people are using for compressor settings on the AR. I’m having a hard time figuring out a sweet spot.

I’m looking for more of a pump than flatten.

Techno house music

And I’m not sure if it’s possible, but when I mute the kick I’d like to not have the sound get too much louder. I’m interested to find out if that’s possible with settings that allow the pumping sound.



This is a great topic! it would be really nice if people could share their settings and why/how they use it.

I’m really interested in both sidechaining inputs and creating a level input with no sidechain effect at all. I’m also interested in how to get pump without distortion.


I’d be curious to hear the pros on this too.

I have no idea how a compressor actually works. I know in theory, but in practice, I just twist knobs and buttons, no idea what the fuck I’m doing, but eventually it sounds pretty good anyway.

I’m always left clueless to what I actually did to get there, though.

I wonder if knowledge on compressors is one of those things that no one really has, but we can’t say that out loud, because we’d be afraid to get caught being ignorant, and it becomes a vicious circle because no one stands up and says: “I don’t know how a compressor works and I’m proud of it!”, and everyone else goes, “Us too!”

And then the healing begins.

I believe we all have the same relationship to the Octatrack, too.


It’s actually pretty easy to understand how a compressor works and what the various parameters do to the signal that goes through it (Google and/or Wikipedia should tell you all you need to know). It’s however much harder to get a feel for what the audible effect of any specific parameter change is going to be.

Part of this is because the effect can actually be rather subtle, part of this is because most parameters are not independent.

One thing that really helps is to switch between the compressed and uncompressed signal often while tweaking the parameters, so you quickly compare the original signal with the result of your settings. This is a bit harder on the RYTM than it should be because there’s no dedicated “bypass” button; you’ll need to turn the “mix” encoder fully counterclockwise instead.

Please note that you can only make a decent comparision when both the compressed and original signal are at roughly the same perceptual loadness. This means you might need to adjust the makeup gain before you can actually make a proper comparison.


And to answer the original post that started this thread; maybe the compression effect you’re looking for (having the bass line side chained to a kick drum) is simply not possible on the RYTM.


Try either of the auto release algorithms, and HPF SEQ setting to keep it tame when muting the kick.

Also, keep in mind that the attack on Rytm’s compressor is wickedly fast at 0.03ms, so any time you have it set very fast with a ratio of 1:10 or higher, it is effectively limiting.

Experiment with dialing back the attack from the fastest setting.

The mix knob gives you parallel compression. I prefer it around 75-80%


Also, the thing that I think makes compression so difficult for most is that it is entirely program dependent. How a compressor reacts will be different to all our music, and all our songs.

I can’t give you a magic combination of settings that will work because dynamics are always different and so many things inform that dynamic data. How you synthesized the kick, EQ’d the snare, where the clap is in the mix… All of it requires different settings.

Unlike effects such as reverb or delay, you can’t fake it. Nor can you usually get by with a cursory understanding.
Taking the time to truly understand compression is more than worth doing, for your music.

Bob Katz’ book on mastering is a good place to start.


Thanks, Adam - I have a good understanding of compression but I think I figured out my problem. I wanted a slow attack and fast release, right? Well, I was dialing in the attack and release all wrong - assuming the attack got slower by turning the knob to the right and release faster by dialing to the left. If I’m understanding your post, and the manual, those actions I just outlined would yield a fast attack and slow release; not pumping at all.

I was also turning the mix all the way to the right. Curious.



ableton lives compressor can give a visual feedback . so its possible to see what happens when you change a parameter .

maybe there are other plugins with this feature out there.

Glad to hear you figured it out.

I wish there were more documentation on the visual gain reduction bar for the compressor.
All the manual says is “There is a bar on the rightmost edge of the LCD screen which will visually represent the amount of compression. Range (0-127).”

Would love to know how many dB it corresponds to. Can’t really discern it based on make up gain setting as that parameter is on the same midi scale of 0-127. Guess we gotta use our ears!
Still better than MonoMachine’s rather slow compressor.

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Spoke a little too soon. Maybe someone could explain how the make up gain and compression volume differ.

When I increase the MUP, I get that volume explosion when I mute the kick.

If I adjust the VOL to make up for the volume lost due to compression, I eliminate the problem I mention above.

Curious how these work together?

Nope but you can hear it with a technique i like which is : Set Threshold to all the way down, Ratio at maximum. Find you Attack : To that let the transcients passed through when you heard the transcients you find it (it’s happening around 10-30ms) Then come back to less crazy values on the threshold and the ratio… and find something you like, something who not killed the body and the natural release of the sounds.
Of course i not speaking here about compression in a chirurgical and fixed issues way. But normally compressor on the AR are Drum bus compressor so it’s dynamic oriented.
It will probably do the trick. Also don’t forget one thing if you have a mixer pay attention to the master signal it must be the same level Compressed / Uncompressed (Compressor is not a GAIN). Mix parameter can be fine for New York compression (more suttle compression but you need for that purpose to Overcompressed and mix this crazy overcompressed method with original signal so it’s a little overcompressed mixed with far more the Original signal in meaning of presence in the mix)


Not having side chain input, the only way for get a pumping baseline is use a LFO on the baseline track with destination Volume. Set the speed to 1/4 (assuming the kick is every 1/4…), play with the depth until kick and bass sound ok.

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Or, if your kick pattern is other than four-to-the-floor, you can trigger the attack envelope

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Please don’t forget that you can achieve very nice effects by p-locking steps on the FX sequencer.


Thanks for the reminder!

I do forget, as it is not as obvious as on other Elektron instruments. Compared to the other Elektrons, the FX sequencer is almost hidden in the layout on Rytm, at least in my mind and how I view the instrument.
Thanks again!

This was made using a lot of use of p-locking steps on the FX sequencer, particularly half-cycle LFOs and slides, sent to COMP settings.



Funny I was gonna post the same thread. I remember a useful thread on here a short time after AR came out with users sharing their settings. It was quite useful but I can’t locate the thread.

Could someone please expand upon how to use the FX sequencer? I had no idea this was possible!!