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Download: Compression Cheat Sheet

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Before live streaming was a thing, I took the minimal approach to compression: only use it where it is absolutely necessary, like on vocals.

This strategy works well when you only have to worry about how it sounds in the room. But once you push your mix out to the livestream, you realize how inconsistent the kick drum is, amongst other things.

So now, I compress pretty much everything except the keyboard and electric guitar. And the only reason I don’t compress those two is because it is usually already a compressed signal before it reaches the mixer.

Let me help you get compression dialed in so you can tighten up your live stream mix.

Live Stream Compression

The process for setting compression is the same regardless of what you are compressing. Each thing will just have slightly different settings.

Let me show you how to set a compressor using the kick drum as an example.

  • Set the ratio to 5
  • Gain to 6dB
  • Attack to around 10ms
  • Hold to 0ms
  • Release to around 120ms

Setting Compression Threshold

I can’t give you an exact placement for the threshold setting, because it varies depending on your setup. But let me show you how to find the right placement.

  1. Have someone give the kick drum a solid kick over and over.
  2. Adjust the threshold so that the gain reduction meter is reading around -6dB with each hit.

That’s it. The goal is for the gain reduction meter to not read more than -6dB, because if you compress more than that, your kick drum won’t sound very good.

Compression Cheat Sheet

Next, you’ll need to dial in the compressor for the other drum mics, vocals, bass guitar and acoustic guitar.

You’ll use the same technique as the kick drum but with slightly different settings. I created a compression cheat sheet with settings for each instrument.

Download: Compression Cheat Sheet

Importance of the Room Mix

Compression is going to work wonders for your live stream mix. But keep in mind, the live stream mix is a reflection of what’s going on in your auditorium, so you’ll want to make sure your room mix is the best it can be.

That’s what Church Sound Made Simple is all about. Get access now by visiting

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About the Author

Kade Young

Kade Young brought Collaborate Worship into existence with a dream of helping worship leaders around the world fulfill their calling with excellence. He has been leading worship since 2005, is a graduate of Rhema Bible Training College, and currently the worship leader at NoLimits Church in Owasso, Oklahoma.