I just bought a DBX 266xl compressor/gate to use with my band and for recording. I know how to compress individual instruments and vocals but I don't know what a good setting would be for use in a gig with a PA system. What are some good general whole band compressor/gate settings?
It depends.

I know it's a generic answer, but music production is sooooooo broad, and people have so many different views on how it should be done, that nothing will give a definite answer.

I will give a few tips;


- If you set the release slow you get the most natural dynamics, but it can also deaden the track if the gain of the compression is set to high.

- If the attack is fast, you will lose some accenting, but get the fullest sound.

Once again, if set to fast, you will get a "dead" sounding mix.

The treshold is the gating/limiting.

If set to high, you will get a dead mix, but this strongly depends on the compression ratio...


Actually, while I'm writing this, It seems pointless.

It really all depends on the sound of the band, and is based on trial and error.

On a CD, you have just so much of sound to work with, so that's why there's compression.

Live you have the entire room, and thus compression is less needed, cause there's enough room for everything to "breathe".

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Jul 16, 2009,
^ +1

TS should really pick up a book on mixing (i got a mixing for dummies this last weekend, woot!) compression is a finicky thing and requires a bit of trial and error as darren suggested. too much and the song will sound flat and without dynamics, too little and instruments might clip or fade excessively giving an uneven sounding mix. but a tad of compression and a very good mixing ear (along with some good monitors) can turn crap into gold.

another thing, ALL compressors are different even those of the same brand. so while something might sound good with certain settings, a different compressor with those same settings might not (even a different compressor with the same make/model might sound different)
Last edited by z4twenny at Jul 16, 2009,