A device for reducing the effective dynamic range of an input signal by preventing it from rapidly exceeding or falling below a selected amplitude threshold. The first part of a compander, it is used to make loud parts of a signal softer and soft parts louder. Beyond the threshold, the ratio of the signals input level to its output level (e.g., 2:1, 4:1) is user-selectable. A compressor is commonly used to keep mic levels within an acceptable range, but because it can slow a signals rate of decay below the threshold, compressors are also used to add sustain to instruments such as electric guitar and bass. The limiter acts like a compressor, but operates only at the top end of the dynamic range. The limiter has a faster attack time (1µs to 1ms) than the compressor alone (1ms to 10ms). A compressor/limiter is inserted between the outputs of a MIDI soundcard, synthesizer, or mixer and the inputs of the mixdown deck. See hard knee compressionsoft knee compression, Limiter

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