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Thursday, 5 July 2012

Dynamic Range Compression

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_range_compression

I'm just reading up/refreshing and reaffirming my memory regarding audio signal compression related subjects. Here's a page from wikipedia.org that defines and answers a lot of technical terms involving audio signals.

I wanted to confirm my belief that limiters are an extreme form of compression. Turns out that they are. The article in Wikipedia mentions that limiters are similar to compressors in process, but different in the degree, and the perceived effect.

Limiters have very fast attack times and high ratio of compression. It has a high chance of sounding unpleasant to the ears of the listeners. Therefore it is often used as a fail-safe ceiling to prevent an audio signal from peaking and distorting.

Technically I could use a compressor and double it up as a limiter for my workflow in place of a limiter, since  the process is the same. Furthermore because since a limiter produces unnatural sounding results, it is probably more pleasant for me to apply a compression ratio slightly higher than average near the ceiling of the dynamic range, than to directly use a limiter.