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Vocal Compression Cheat Sheet!

Attack Time

Fast Attack (1ms - 10ms) - slow and soft vocals

Slow Attack (10ms-100ms) - modern “pop” vocals - more aggressive

Release Time

Fast Release - Pop vocals

Slow Release - Natural smoother vocals

Start between 500ms and 600 ms and work down

Threshold and Ratio -

First set up the ratio 3:1 or 2:1. Slowly turn down the Threshold while listening to the vocals in the mix. If the vocal starts hiding in the mix then adjust the makeup gain.

Adjust these 3 parameters (Threshold, Ratio and makeup gain) until you can clearly hear every word.

Soft Knee or Hard Knee?

Usually use a soft knee

A Soft Knee will typically be used on vocals because the gain reductions takes place gradually after the signal has exceeded the threshold.

A Hard Knee will compress the signal as soon as the the signal exceeds the threshold.


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