Can you explain again what transparent compression is and what it does?

Thanks Ott!

Ott responded on 06/14/2012

I don't think I've referred to 'transparent compression' before but I'll explain what I think it means.

'Transparent compression' means using a compressor in such a way as it reduces [or increases - but that's another story] the dynamic range of a sound without colouring it unduly.

Heavy compression tends to impart a particular tonal quality which people find pleasing, but sometimes you just want to increase the density of a sound or limit peaks without colouration.

Digital [plugin] compressors tend to colour less than analogue circuits and I generally find myself using plugins to constrain dynamics and analogue devices to add colour and excitement.

Some plugins are miraculous at flattening sounds transparently in ways analogue effects are incapable of, largely due to their ability to 'look ahead' and predict the future.

Curiously, with analogue compressors, the more transparent they are they more they cost. With plugin compressors the inverse tends to be true.

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