Getting Released

When it comes to compressor controls, the Release control was always the hardest one for me to understand. I’ve written about it in the past and have some videos up on it over on my YouTube channel, but it’s something I’m always looking for better ways to explain.

I think it’s a control a lot of us just sort of intuitively use to get the results we want. We know when it’s not set how we want it and which way to turn it, but that doesn’t help when we’re trying to explain it to someone new to audio or trying to improve their craft.

Some of the ways I’ve often described the Release control are as the “excitement” control and the “sustain” control. I recently came across some videos Korneff Audio put together demonstrating compressor release that I thougt were really great. They offer another way to think about Release in terms of “detail”. None of these descriptions are absolutely right or wrong. They’re just ways to help you wrap your head around what that mysterious knob on a compressor actually does or to help communicate what it does to another engineer. Ultimately, Release may mean something different to you, and that’s fine because all that matters is whether you’re getting the results you want from it.

As I said, I thought these videos from Korneff Audio were pretty great demonstrations of what Release can do so I’ve embedded them below. Check them out, and I hope you find them helpful.

So how do you like to think of the Release knob or describe it to others/newer engineers? Please leave a comment and let me know.

David Stagl

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