Attack and release time in mastering?


I’m curious how AJ authors deal with compression attack and release time in mastering. It is much simpler on single instruments, but I’m wondering how to adjust the time while compressing the whole track. I used to have default settings on attack and release on multiband compressor, but now I’d like to learn more about it and do sth about it. I know that it all depends on the sound, but does any of you have any advice on it?


There is no real answer. It depends on the material. Train your ears and trust them :wink:

Use a low ratio if you don’t want pumping effect. Don’t set your attack time too short (below 20-30 ms). If you do, you will destroy the punch. Use the soft knee for safety. Set the release time around 400-600 ms and adjust it to fit your track’s rhythmic structure.

The mastering compressor is mostly triggered by the kick & bass. If you need to cut low frequencies with EQ, do it before the compressor. By doing this, you will prevent unnecessary triggering of the compressor.

Play with the attack and release settings to train your ear.

Good luck :slight_smile:


It sounds like you’ve done this…but I was able to train my ears simply by loading presets in my plugins. I use TRacks plugins on the stereo bus and they come with all sorts of presets. Presets are usually pretty extreme, though, so be careful not to just “set it and forget it”. But it’s cool to associate a certain compression setting with a preset name, like “Rock Setting” might be a pretty punchy compression, while “Jazz Setting” may be fairly light. Once you have a good word association going…have some fun experimenting. Like Noizman said, there’s no right or wrong with anything in the mixing process.

Except perhaps delayed bass guitar. That’s pretty wrong…


Thanks for the tips Noizman and SoundDog :slight_smile:


Without hearing a song… just 'cause I have some extrasensory perception… I guess a 5 ms attack can eat some transient but don’t squish it, I set 5 ms attack… and I see… around 80-100 ms release can recovery fast enough to catch another transient, yeah, I set release about 100 ms… Don’t forget to use SC filter while mastering, I set it around 90 Hz, so it’s pretty smooth. And just because I have some extrasensory perception… your mix sounds great without compressor :slight_smile: