What’s the difference between Compressor and Glue Compressor

This article was originally published on Audio Ordeal

ABLETON offers two brilliant compressor effects, Compressor and Glue Compressor, they are both used extensively and look quite different, but what is the difference in their sound?

In brief

Compressor is the default compression plugin in Live 10, it offers a wide range of control and will suit most needs.

Glue Compressor is an emulated classic compressor with a particular focus on “glueing ” the mix together. It has a more limited control set, but is more unique in sound output.


Default view of Compressor

Compressor is Ableton’s default compression plugin featuring all of the main controls seen on rival models.

It is used to control the dynamic range of sounds by turning down the loudest parts so the signal has more room to be turned up without the peaks clipping.

Compressor is a very versatile effect which can be used both on individual tracks and as mix bus compression. It is quite transparent and offers advanced sidechain options.

Ableton’s Compressor has several view modes which allow you to monitor the signal changes live
Compressor offers a brilliant Transfer Curve visualisation of the knee control and is, therefore, a fantastic effect to explore compression theory

Glue Compressor

Glue Compressor is especially good for mix busses and mastering

Glue Compressor arose from Ableton’s partnership with Cytomic to create an updated version of the ‘The Glue’ compressor plug-in for Live 9.

Glue compressor is an analogue SSL bus compression emulator and is based on the classic bus compressor from a famous 80’s mixing console.

It works to tighten up instruments or to glue elements together in a mix, as opposed to compressing individual tracks – not that you can’t use it for that purpose!

The Threshold knob sets where compression begins. Signals above the threshold are attenuated by an amount specified by the Ratio parameter, which sets the ratio between the input and output signal. Unlike the Compressor, the Glue Compressor does not have a user-adjustable knee. Instead, the knee becomes more sharp as the ratio increases.

Ableton Live 10 manual
Like with Ableton’s Compressor, Glue Compressor offers a sidechain feature.

One of the reasons it is so good for mix busses is the timing settings. The Glue compressor allows a wide range of dynamic sounds to pass through it “gently” so as not to dampen out the crucial dynamics for a good mix.

The Glue Compressor’s Auto Release actually uses two times – a slow one as a base compression value, and a fast one to react to transients in the signal. Auto Release may be too slow to react to sudden changes in level, but generally is a useful way to tame a wide range of material in a gentle way.

Ableton Live 10 manual

This article was originally published on Audio Ordeal and is published here with permission.

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