Compressors Part 1 : Optical

Optical compressors, or “opto” compressors, rely on a light-dependent resistor and a light source to dictate the way in which compression is applied. An optical compressor’s input signal illuminates a light source—the more powerful the input signal, the brighter the light will shine.

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Compressors Part 2: FET
Image of 1176 Universal Audio software compressors.

Compressors Part 2: FET

FET or Solid State compressors, or field effect transistor compressors, make use of transistor circuits. They respond quickly to the signal you run through them, and they’re also quite punchy, colourful, and bright.

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Compressors Part 3: VCA
Waves VCA Compressor plugin

Compressors Part 3: VCA

VCA compressors, or voltage controlled amplifier compressors, use a control signal to dictate whether or not gain reduction is applied to an audio signal. These are some of the most common types of compressors and often include all the controls you’re used to seeing on plugin compressors, like attack, release, threshold, ratio, and sometimes a knee.

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