Pro Tools Tutorial: Playing With Compressors

Our tutorial on Compressor types continues with a step by step guide – to follow these steps you’ll need the project files which you can download from here

1: The project this month has a single drums stem, acoustic guitar, bass and organ. By applying different compressors to each we’re going to try and add some groove and excitement to the mix.


2: The first compressor we’re going to add is a VCA style compressor to the master buss. This is a common technique with the famous SSL buss compressor being an excellent choice.

3: We’ve slowed the attack to 10ms and set the release at .6s to leave some transients and lift the groove. The compressor doesn’t really change the tonality: it gives a little lift and glues it all together.

4: We’re adding an LA-2A optical-style compressor to the bass guitar. This will leave most of the dynamics in, but gently rest the bass in the mix. The LA-2A will also colour it and give it a little more presence.


5: To help push the acoustic guitar back a little we’re going to use a 1176 Rev E. style compressor. This will add a little character to the recording and most importantly will help tame the transients.

6: We’ve used a fast attack (counter-intuitively, the fastest settings on an 1176 are the larger numbers on the dial) and fairly slow-release to really reign in the acoustic guitar.

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