There exist different types of compressors and they all have their specific application tailored into their design.
Field Effect Transistor or FET compressors emulate a tube-style compression which is known for adding warmth to sounds. FET compressors are good for drums, bass, guitar, vocals and everything else that needs aggression and punch, this is because they are impressively fast compressors that clamp down on transients hard.
FET compressors are also great for parallel compression in which compression is heavily used on a duplicate vocal before it is mixed back with the original vocal.
Furthermore, FET compressors are very useful for sounds that need color.
Characteristics of FET Compressors.
They are heavily used in Rock
Due to their aggressive nature, FET compressors are a handy tool in dealing with anything that requires a little bit of aggression to it.
A heavy rock guitar for instance can be run through an FET compressor in order to add warmth and to give it an aggressive push in order for it to sound even more front and centre.
It can be highly effective on bass too, if you need one that needs a little aggressive edge too it.
FET compressors will basically give more punch to your sound.
Tube Style compression
Tube compression is known for adding warmth to sounds, this is also an attribute that you’ll get from an FET compressor.
In transparent compression the goal is to have compression that is free of color , this is the opposite if you use an FET Compressor.
Due to its fast attack times you’ll get a warmth to your sounds.
This can be particularly useful if you want to add color to your sound while also controlling the dynamics and aggression of your sounds.
Common elements on FET Compressors.
The input control determines how much of a signal is fed into the compressor.
The more you drive the input, the closer you get to crossing the threshold and engaging the compression.
Output control is used to fine tune how much level is being sent to your DAW after the input is set.
Suppose you drove the input and hit the compressor hard,
the output is what you would use to back down the level in order to avoid clipping.
You can also use the output for make-up gain if you’re not getting enough level.
The Attack control determines how quickly the compression starts when the signal passes the threshold.
For transparent compression, a slow attack is employed, which allows the softer signals to pass through without triggering the compressor, but catch the loud transients.
The Release control basically determines how long the compression will stay engaged after crossing the threshold.
A fast release results in transparent compression, it will reduce the transient of the incoming source, then quickly go back to zero without affecting the softer parts of the signal.
A slow release time will let the compression stay engaged through the transient all the way until then signal stops coming into the compressor.
Compressor Types – FET , Opto, VCA and Vari-Mu – Sample Craze
4 Types of Analog Compression – Izotope
Choosing The Right Compressor Type – Attack Magazine
Studio Compressor Guide – Types of Audio Compressors