Audio compressor


If you want to get into making your own podcast, or really any kind of audio recording, one of the most important effects you need to use is called a compressor. This has nothing to do with the output file size, but instead it is a process to control the dynamic range of an audio signal. The dynamic range is the amplitude distance between the quietest sounds and the loudest sounds, and getting it right can make all the difference between producing something that sounds amateur and recording something that sounds professional. A typical jazz or classical music recording, for example, will have a high dynamic range, which means there's a big difference between the quietest sounds and the loudest, much like there is in a live performance. Pop music, on the other hand, especially on Spotify or broadcast on the radio, will have a very narrow dynamic range. The amplitude of the audio stays mostly the same for the duration of the track. You can check this by opening different kinds of audio files in an audio editor like Audacity.

A compressor touches almost every aspect of the audio it processes, imbibing the audio with its character, which makes every compressor different. And there are many, including those built into Audacity and Ardour, expensive plugins you can buy, and real outboard hardware from the 1950s to the 2020s. But unlike other operating systems, Linux doesn't have the same breadth of compressor options to choose between, which is why the release of this Squeezer compressor, as both a standalone and plugin effect, is so welcome. Squeezer is one of the best compressors we've used on Linux. It has every option you need, from trigger threshold and aggressiveness (ratio), to its attack and release time. It even has high and low cut filters that will work on other audio channels. But most importantly, it sounds amazing, and it's open source.

Project Website

Unlike many audio compressors, Squeezer is open source and available for free. If you wish to pay something, the author asks for a donation to your favorite cause.

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