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Behringer Wing Compression | Master in 5 Minutes!

Kade Young
Kade Young
Chief Audio Guru
Compression Cheat Sheet

I’m going to take you through all the settings on the WING’s compressor and show you how to use them on vocals.

To speed things up, download my free compression cheat sheet using the link in the description. It will give you recommended compression settings for vocals and instruments.

And hey, a special thanks to Sweetwater for sending us the WING so we can create these videos. I’ve included a link below where you can shop the best deals at Sweetwater and support our channel in the process.

What's the purpose of a compressor?

The purpose of a compressor is to narrow the dynamic range of an audio signal. When it comes to vocals, they can really belt it out or sing softly.

Compression allows you to bring the two closer together so your vocal isn’t jumping in and out of the mix. So, let’s go over all those settings.

Compression Settings


The ratio setting on a compressor decides how aggressively the compressor will respond. A higher setting, like 12:1, will compress much more aggressively than a lower setting, like 3:1.

What does this actually mean? Well, with a ratio of 3:1, for every 3dB the signal crosses the threshold, you will only hear 1dB of increased volume instead of 3dB. Using this same example, if the signal crossed over the threshold by 6dB, only a 2dB difference would be heard.

I could have just given you a recommended setting for vocals, but it’s important that you know what the ratio does. That said, a great ratio for vocals is 3:1.

If you want my recommended setting for other instruments, be sure to download my free compression cheat sheet using the link in the description.


The knee setting on a compressor gives you the opportunity to make compression more transparent. It softens the way compression is applied after it crosses the threshold.

A knee of 0 would be considered a hard knee. It is going to wait until the signal hits the threshold and then throw compression on it as soon as it does.

A knee of 5 would be considered a soft knee. It applies a bit of tolerance so that compression eases in as it approaches the threshold.  For vocals, a knee of 3 is a great starting point.

Attack, Release, and Hold

The attack setting on a compressor decides how much time it takes for the compressor to compress at full force. So, an attack of 5ms will cause the compressor to fully activate much more quickly than, say, 100ms. For vocals, you generally want the attack time between 5 and 20ms. Otherwise, the “s” and “t” syllables will sound too harsh.

The release setting on a compressor is the amount of time the compressor stays active after being triggered. For a vocal, if the release is too fast, it will bounce back erratically and sound unnatural. If it is too slow, the vocal will sound over-compressed. 50ms is a great starting point for vocals. But don’t be afraid to adjust to solve either of the two issues I just mentioned.

The hold setting on a compressor determines how long the compressor should stay active after the signal goes back under the threshold, before releasing according to your release time. For vocals, set this around 0 to 20ms as you really don’t want the compression to hold for a lengthy amount of time.

On the WING, you also have the option to let the mixer decide these settings for you, called auto envelope. In my experience, this is one of the cases where auto works great. So, if you won’t want to mess with attack, hold, and release, simply activate the auto envelope and carry on with your bad self.


The threshold decides how loud the signal has to be in order to activate the compressor. For example, if the threshold is set to -10dB, it will compress anything louder than that and leave everything quieter untouched.

The threshold setting is going to be different for each vocal, but it is easy to figure out. Simply adjust it until the gain reduction meter is averaging -5dB during normal singing.

It will probably hit a bit over -10dB when they get excited and really belt it out. But you don’t want to compress much more than this or the vocal will start to sound lifeless. And in case you were wondering, the gain reduction meter is showing you how much the signal is being compressed.

Makeup Gain

The gain setting on a compressor is different than the main channel gain. It is actually considered makeup gain. Since you are lowering the volume of the signal with compression, you can make it up using makeup gain.

For vocals, you’ll set this between 3 and 6dB since that is the average amount we are aiming to reduce the signal. This brings the signal back to where you started but with a smaller dynamic range. In other words, now the quieter moments are louder, and the louder moments are quieter.

Peak vs RMS

The WING gives you the option to compress based on Peak or RMS. To understand these two terms, you’ll need to nerd out a bit. But for now, I am just going to keep it simple.

Peak compression should be used when you want it to be a noticeable effect. RMS compression should be used when you want smoother and less noticeable compression. When it comes to vocals, RMS is the way to go.


The WING’s compressor gives you the ability to compress certain frequencies more than others using the crossover mode setting. For example, if you set it to 6dB LO, compression will be more heavily applied to low frequencies.

Leave this set to FLAT for simplicity's sake. Or if you feel like and adventure, try setting the depth to 3dB and Frequency to 10kHz. This will add some sparkle to the vocal.

Key Filter

Lastly is the Key Filter, which allows you to decide if only certain frequency ranges should trigger the compressor to activate. For example, if you set the Key Filter to LOWPASS, the compressor will only be triggered by the lower frequencies instead of the full spectrum.

You also have the option of changing the key source. This allows you to trigger the compressor based on another channel if you want. But when it comes to vocals, you’ll want this set to SELF.

Want to hear me set compression live?

The best way to get a grasp on all these settings is to watch and listen as someone sets compression on a vocal. I am going to do that now for my Inner Circle subscribers.

If you are not a subscriber yet, use the link in the description to subscribe to my Inner Circle and get immediate access to the extended version of this video, as well as one-on-one coaching calls, and my private group chat.

Subscribe to Inner Circle →

Are you looking for the quickest way to master everything on the Behringer Wing? Check out my course Wing Mastery:

Wing Mastery Course →

Compression Cheat Sheet

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