Compression basics – About release

Author: sleepfreaks

Determining how long compression is applied with「release」

「Release」determines how long the compression is applied
after the sound goes below the「threshold」.



Similar to attack,
it is measured in「ms (milliseconds)」.

1ms=1000th of 1 second
1000ms= 1 second 

If the「release」is set to「100ms」,
even when the sound goes below the「threshold」, the sound will be compressed for an additional「0.1 seconds」.

About ms (milliseconds)

Why release is necessary

There is an importance in setting the release.

When the sound goes back below the「threshold」,
if the compression suddenly disappears, there is an audible difference in sound making it「very unnatural」. 

The goal is to make this change unnoticeable.

Think about it as aftercare for a compressor.

Adjusting the release to control the「distance and sound tail」
are well known methods.

Release settings

「Release」settings are generally split into「short and long」.



↑ When the release is set short i.e.「50ms」-


↑ When the area in black goes below the「threshold」, the「compression」stays active for「50ms」


Because the「compression」is quickly released, it provides a clear distinction in sound.
When you want the dynamics to stay prevalent in a track, keep the release「short」.


Lets try a longer release next.


↑ The release is set to「700ms」


↑ The area in black is the release「700ms」area.
The「release」is carried over into other sounds.


The sounds become quite flattened.
When you want to even out dynamics, and keep them at similar volumes, set the「release」to「long」.
When you want less dynamics and even sounds, use this setting.

It works great for making wall of sound/airyness in「PAD」sounds.
It works great on「reverb」too.


↑ Because the volume of the kick goes to nearly「0」before the next kick comes in,
the「compressor turns off」, but –


↑ when applying a「longer release」,
before the「release」ends a「sound that goes over the threshold」will play, hence –

The compressor will remain active the entire time. 

Keep「distancing and dynamics」in mind,
and try out various「compressors」in your music!