What Does A Compressor Pedal Do

Compression is a viral effect used in recording music—most people’s remarks regarding compression outs musical performance dynamics, making the loud and soft parts softer.

The truth is compression isn’t for everybody but is key for some popular styles. For example, classical music does not require compression, but you need the excellent compression effect when using an electric guitar.

This brings us to the question, “what does a compressor pedal do?”, and this is one question we have been getting hit with lately. So many people do not know the benefits of using a compressor pedal or what adding compression will do to the tones and sounds you play.

However, this review we have brought you will break down every piece of information you need to know about the compressor pedal and its benefits. So first, let us start by defining what a compressor pedal is.

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What Is A Compressor Pedal?

Compressor pedals are stompbox pedals found in the signal chain, used in leveling your guitar performance dynamics. A compressor pedal will boost the output of whatever you play if its initial sound level is shallow, making all of your sounds audible.

Furthermore, if you forcefully strike a string, the compressor pedal will dull the sound to achieve a smooth overall. The compressor pedal is all about providing balance to sounds and ensuring that one part is higher than the other.

Now that you have the perfect definition of a compressor pedal, the next question you will have in mind is knowing what a compressor pedal does and how it functions. Again, we understand your anxiety, and right now, we are moving on to what a compressor pedal does.

What Does A Compressor Pedal Do

what does a compressor pedal do

Compressor pedals come in handy for every guitarist, and they are capable of so many things. They are a must-have for every guitarist, and through harnessing several audio signal dynamic ranges, here is a brief breakdown of what a compressor pedal does for every guitarist.

Clean Tones Boost

As a guitarist, you will always want your sounds to be clean, but you have not achieved that, leading to all of your sounds getting buried in a band’s mix.

Making your guitar sounds more audible and amplifying original signals is what a compressor pedal does, but we know that an amplifier can adjust the volume. However, many guitarists love the subtle effects compressor pedals add to guitar tones and sounds.

Adding Chicken-Pickin Tones And Funk

Guitars are treble-focused instruments, so boosting a guitar’s audio signal will enhance high-end sounds. Compressor pedals are also great for adding funk lines or country-western leads.

Providing Lead Guitar With Sustain

Apart from compressing input signals, compressor pedals also add sustain to output signals. On some compressor pedals, you will find dedicated knobs used in adjusting sustain or release, as it is popularly called.

The Right Place For A Compressor In A Signal Chain

Some guitarists will place a compressor pedal where they place other guitar pedals. Still, the idea behind using a compressor pedal is for compressing clean guitar tones and send the tones to a delay, phaser, or overdrive pedal.

Placing the compressor pedal after any of these effects will compress the sounds these effects produce. In addition, placing a compressor pedal after the effects we mentioned earlier might cause these effect pedals character.

this is common with delays and overdrives, which could lead to unprecedented effects on your general output levels.

How To Use Compressor Pedals – With Few Terminologies

On a compressor pedal, you will find one to four knobs used in controlling a compressor pedal’s functions. We have decided to bring you some of the standard dials you will encounter when working with a compressor effect pedal.


The effect a compressor pedal has on your input signal is controlled by the attack dial on a compressor pedal. Turn up the attack knob if you are keen on hearing pick strokes complex pluck sounds.

Release Or Sustain

Most people call it to release, while others call it to sustain. The sustain knob is responsible for controlling your note’s release times. However, all compressors do not control sustain, and this is because their original function is to suppress thunderous notes so you can hear the subtle note sounds loud and clear.

Depth Or Compression

You can dial the total amount of compression a pedal provides using the compression or depth knob. Transparent sounds are obtained when you dial in a low parameter, and these transparent sounds provide subtle alterations when a compressor pedal gets turned on.

If you have a compressor pedal with no sustain or attack knobs, the depth of the compression knob will be described as an attack, so it will be best to carefully check the compressor effect pedal you intend to work with.


The level is used in controlling overall volume on a compressor pedal. The trick behind using a compressor pedal lies in having a perfect understanding of how a compressor pedal works, so if you want your compressor to serve as a boost, turn the level knob up and turn down the compression knob.

True Bypass

Your compressor pedal doesn’t contain a buffer used in boosting a guitar’s overall sound if it has an actual bypass label written on it. Having a true bypass designed means allowing the passage of audio signals at all times, and it doesn’t matter if it is connected to a power supply or not.

Having a compressor effect pedal in your setup is crucial, and every audio engineer and musician is aware of the versatility of a compressor effect pedal. In addition, compressor effect pedals can boost response in a solid-state amplifier, causing it to sound like a tube amp.

The next question you might be dealing with now is if you genuinely need a compressor effect pedal. If you have tried out a compressor effect pedal yet, you should because it can be the catalyst you need to take your guitar sounds to the next level.

Providing a clean boost and generating transparent and subtle sounds are significant benefits of using the compressor effect pedal. So, try out a compressor effect pedal today and experience all the benefits mentioned here..

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