Oct 092012


How To Set A Compressor For Lead Vocal

Today I would like to show you a simple way to set a compressor for lead vocal. I will not go into detail, but just to give you a good starting point.

The lead vocal is the most sensitive part of your mix, this is the central element on which the listener will focus, therefore you want to be sure that the compression will be the most “transparent “possible.

1 – Threshold :

In most compressors you will find a gain reduction meter, turn the threshold until you see 3 to 5 db of gain reduction on the loudest parts. Time to time you will need to reajust the threshold because it interact with the other setting.

2 – Attack Time :

To not kill the dynamics of your voice and lose emotions and speech intelligibility, you will choose a slow enough attack time to let pass the first transient, which is the first component of the sound, about some milli-seconds.

A setting between 10 ms and 20 ms are common values.

3 – Release Time :

To adjust the release time of the compressor, you will choose a millisecond value corresponding to the tempo of the song. For example, if your song is 90 BPM, this gives us 666.7 ms for a quarter, 333.3 ms for an eighth ect …

Here you will find a link to download a “delay chart”

Generally a sixteen note or a eight note gives good result.

4 – Ratio :

For the ratio setting, choose a value between 3:1 and 4:1.

My advice : LISTEN !

A good way to listen the effect of each parameters on the sound is to exagerate the threshold. Once you’re happy with your setting, return the threshold to -3 / -5 db of gain reduction.

Also you need to compare the sound with and without the effect, but to do it you need to carefully match the level, thats why you will find a output gain in your compressor…

That it for today, I hope this helped you to understand some basics about compression ;-)

Tell me in the comment below what are your common problems about vocal production and I will do my best to help you !!!

Julian B.

  One Response to “How To Set A Compressor For Lead Vocal”

  1. Thanx alot Julian

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