I have had a rather contentious relationship with compressors over the years. The need for them is both obvious and not in any given situation. Usually the first question that comes up though when things are getting out of control with clipping and distortion in a sound system is, "Are you using compression?". Because I have not had much personal experience with, or training on the proper set up and use of such a device, I have avoided using them or really getting to know about them all this time. Circumstances have begun to nudge me in the direction of becoming more knowledgeable and thus more confident and able to A.) better identify when and where to use compression and NOT, and B.) make the best use of that piece of equipment. I figure I can't possibly be the only man or woman in the sound business dealing with this sort of issue.
At a recent event I saw a buddy of mine Jim Harvish, who has been behind a few mixers in his time. I motioned for him to join me at the sound-board. As we both listened to the group playing on stage and I pointed out the sound issue I was having, I showed him the unit I was using and the settings I had chosen. He admitted, to my relief, that compressors, were somewhat perplexing to him too. The next day, I found an e-mail he had sent me with a link which proved to be a nice place to start my learning process. Since he was considerate enough to share it with me, I thought I would do the same and put it up here in my blogs, believing like I do with everything I write, that those who need to read it will find it. I hope this will be of interest and service to some of you. www.ovnilab.com I am still reading myself, but already there is a statement that has stuck in my brain and will be useful to me from now on when using compression and that is..."when using compression properly, the listener should never know it's there". This may sound confusing, but when you read the supporting theory, it is beautifully simple. Happy reading.
There are a bazillion resources out there in "Googleland" and you don't even have to ask nicely or know exactly what you are looking for, just start typing and refine your question if the first search doesn't get the desired results. I will always share what comes on to my radar or is presented to me as this resource was. I will NEVER bill myself as an expert, or try to convince you or lead you in any particular direction. But I will try to help when I can. Here's to better sound gigs, for all of us!