Kick Drum Compression - Attack

I’ve been hearing contradictory information on how to tune a compressor for a kick drum, or any sound with a spikey transient.

Some say you want to set the attack to as fast as possible using a FET compressor (known for their quick attacks) in order to snag the transient immediately.

Others will tell you to ease back the attack a bit to allow the transient to punch through.

When I’ve used compressors on my kicks, and admittedly my experience here is somewhat limited (no pun intended), I’ve noticed that I get more power when I’m not setting the fastest attack, but a moderately fast attack.

Would love to hear your experience or thoughts on the two approaches here.


To get a good ‘bounce’ I like to leave just enough room on the attack for the kick transient to sound then release fairly quickly right at the end of the decay to leave room before the next hit. Nailing that space seems to add more life to the sound overall. In other words, shaping the silence between the hits is as important to me as shaping the sound of the kick itself.

1 Like

Fast attack times sound tight and snappy, moderate settings are punchy and longer values thump.

On LF instruments you don’t want your attack time so quick that it rides the LF waveform.

1 Like