Norns compressor settings for different scripts

I was wondering how the community approaches the Norns inbuilt compressor?

I have some experience setting compressors up for more “basic stuff” like a simple guitar comp or similar things. But for broader soundscapes ambientish stuff say the sounds you´ll get from barcodes or granchild I´m never quite sure what the proper setting or a proper setting would be.


I almost always leave it turned off.

When my audio is feeling “peaky”, with loud bits unpleasantly cutting over quiet bits, i’ll turn the ratio to ~4, then lower the threshold until the peaks even out. Adjust those two parameters to taste. I tend to leave the others alone.

My other use case is squishing drums, which is much the same process, but with a higher ratio

adjusting compressors without a visualizer is super tough, though!!


In general, for program material, longer attack and release settings will be more appropriate.

However, compressors can be used for a lot of things: shaping attack transients, adding distortion w very tight response settings of a few ms, balancing the attack and sustain portion of a sound, pulling a sound back or forward in a mix, limiting peaks, smoothing overall levels.

So, the settings are going to be different depending on what you want to accomplish. I find it helpful to listen carefully and decide what my purpose is in altering the dynamic range of a sound. That makes it much easier to dial in settings, and gives me a goal to compare the results against.

All of this is impacted by whether the audio being compressed contains one or more instruments, if it will be heard solo or is being mixed with other tracks, the actual content of the material, etc.

So, what musical task(s) are you trying to accomplish?

It may also be helpful to keep in mind compression’s original used in constraining the dynamic range of source material being broadcast or cut to disk to match the range of the target medium. Can’t be jumping those record grooves or disappearing into static pops and noise, now can we? Creative uses like chicken pickin’, pumping beats, etc, came later.


Yeah I guess I mainly used it for that too. To kinda balance the wash and space granchild gives me and kind of set boundaries to not overburden the rest of the mix. But still without visualizing it and actually being able to understand every parameter it is really difficult.
Sry it took me so long to answer. Lot of stuff going in right now.

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Thank you for helping me getting my head around a comp. Sry it took a while to answer. But I really appreciate the help. If you want you can check out my insta or youtube. For the set I´m trying to get on stage right now I use granchild / reels / and barcodes. To create space/ loops / and interesting textures to fade in and out and filter. The main beat comes from my model samples. While my guitar is providing hooks and melody.

So I guess I would benefit from a setting that helps me control the dynamic range and get a nice tight mix.

Furthermore I have a 1010 Bluebox as my main mixer/recorder and last thing in chain to get to FOH. It also has a built in comp that I have turned of atm. Because finding a setting for that is even harder to get my head around cause there is guitar / Norns / samples / reface cp and sometimes FM Volca going through there.

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I’m often working with relatively low signal when recording into norns. For recording acoustic guitar into norns I use a Tula mic with the line output turned all the way up, but sometimes its still quiet. I’ll often engage the compressor here to help bump up the signal something like. 3:1 30-60ms attack 90-120 release depending on tempo, then +3db into the comp and out of the comp. Threshold obviously depends on the incoming audio, but I hang out around -6db. Lately for acoustic guitar I’ve been doing a little of this with the built in reverb and tapedeck going into the next norns in the chain running cheat codes 2.
With granular scripts like granchild and barcode, I would normally feed them compressed audio and not compress the output because I like the long swelling bass dynamics. But if you need to control that, I would just be mindful of the threshold on the comp.
I’ve experimented with the norns comp a lot. On a couple of tape mixes that turned out quiet, I was able to bump them up by running them through the norns comp as a limiter. 20:1 with the threshold at 0db. Interesting results. Can’t say that I’d use norns comp as a mastering compressor by choice, but it worked in a pinch. It crisps up audio nicely at higher ratios.
Whenever I’m recording in bass to norns I’m very aggressive with the comp.

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