Descript's Compressor effect allows you to quickly smooth out volume levels in your projects so that they're ready for publication. Compression is a process of reducing the dynamic range between the loudest and quietest parts of an audio signal. The Compressor even comes with several presets to choose from so you can try out different settings to get the desired effect you're looking for.
You can add the Compressor effect to either your entire Composition, or to individual tracks. Compressor can also be used in multitrack Sequences. To view the tracks in your Composition, click the Track Inspector icon on the top-right of the Descript app.
Adding the Compressor to a Composition
To add a Compressor to the entire Composition, click the + Add Effect button in the Track Inspector under the Composition heading.
Adding the Compressor to a track
To add the Compressor effect to a track, select the track in the timeline then click on the + Add Effect button in the Track Inspector. Just as the other editing options (Gain/Pan/Mute/Solo), the Compressor can be applied to individual tracks or to the entire Composition. In the example below we will be adding this the script track.
Changing Track Inspector Focus
You can quickly change the focus of the Track Inspector settings by clicking either in the Script editor (for a Composition settings view) or on a clip in the Timeline (for the track properties). You can also hover over a specific track in the Composition settings view and select the right-arrow button to jump into that track's settings.
Once you have chosen the Compressor option, you'll see the Compressor added below the track in question with the following options.
- Input (indicator): A visual representation of the signal being received by the Compressor.
- Reduction (indicator): A visual representation of the compression applied to the signal.
- Threshold - The level a signal has to reach before compression is applied.
- Ratio - The amount of compression applied to the signal. For example, if the ratio is set for 3.0, for every 3 dB (decibels) of signal above the Threshold, Compressor will allow 1 dB to pass through.
- Attack - how quickly the compressor starts to work (in seconds).
- Release - how quickly the compressor stops working after the signal drops below the Threshold.
- Knee - sets how the compressor reacts to signals once the Threshold is passed.
- "Hard Knee" (slider is toward the left / 0.0 side) means it clamps down on the signal immediately. For example a setting of 0.0 is like a light switch - it's either on, or off once it passes the Threshold.
- "Soft Knee" (slider moves toward the right side) means the compression is applied and removed more gently as the signal approaches the Threshold point. This is sort of like how a light switch dimmer gradually increases to / decreases from full brightness. Soft knee settings help smooth the compression potentially resulting in a more transparent effect.
While we encourage playing around with the Compressor settings to get your desired effect, our Compressor also comes with Presets for you to use. To view these, click on the ellipsis to the right of the Compressor effect.
From this preset window you can also Enable and Disable the Compressor without removing it from your track.