I'm think about getting a compressor and I heard that Alesis makes one popular compressor for electronic music. I'm informed that the prices can differ much, so I wonder what is the difference between a 200 USD compressor and a 1500 USB compressor? If you want to hear what music I'm planning to use it with it's http://www.soundcloud.com/niklasr

I firstly plan to add compression to the bass drums of my techno.

  • 2
    I have voted to close as product recommendations are off topic, however the core of your question around what differences there are between a cheap compressor and a better one could be good. Can you edit your question to just focus on this part?
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Oct 5, 2013 at 7:55
  • I guess you don't use a DAW if you want a stand-alone compressor. I'd spend my money on cubase or some other DAW - you'll get single-band compressors or multi-band compressors as part of the deal. I'd also add a little more bass into the kick (before compression) but that's just my personal opinion/taste.
    – Andy aka
    Commented Oct 5, 2013 at 21:46
  • I listened to some your music, but didn't hear a need for compression on any of your tracks. Well done. There are so many plugins, effects and other technologies available out there that the temptation is to do more with them. Resist the temptation; less is more. Compressors are mostly for vocals and other unrestrained sound sources that need to be tamed. Commented Nov 4, 2013 at 21:56

2 Answers 2


The main difference lays in the DAC/ACD chips. The better resolution, dynamic range and precision, or short: quality, they have the more expensive they tend to be.

Two 24-bit ADC/DACs do not necessarily produce the same results. Their dynamic range could be a mile apart.

In addition (or only if the chain is 100% digital) comes how the signal is processed and at what bit precision. The higher bit-resolution (ie. 24 and 32 bits or if it uses floating points) will require a better fit processor with higher capability (or an additional floating-point math co-processor, FPU) as well as more memory.

Then there is a third factor, the quality of the electronic components themselves such as tolerance values and so forth. The better quality these components has the higher the price will be.

As an alternative to physical compressor you could also consider a software compressor for a DAW. There are many good ones which do the same fine job as a physical digital compressor.

However, some argue that analogue compressors combined with analogue tape/over-saturation gives the best result.


There are any number of possible reasons. It could be lower noise, it could have a softer feel to activation of the compressor. It may be able to activate the compression more quickly. It may simply be better marketing allowing for a higher price based on brand. You'd really have to compare the specific models to see the differences.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.