It appears I'm looking for a reverse compressor. I want to have sounds under a threshold stay untouched but if it's over the threshold I'd like to make it even louder.

Is this a compressor? Could I do this with a basic compressor with attack, threshold, release, ratio, and hold?


I think what you are looking for is an expander, here's a link that explains it

Quoted here:

Audio expansion means to expand the dynamic range of a signal. It is basically the opposite of audio compression.

Like compressors and limiters, an audio expander has an adjustable threshold and ratio. Whereas compression and limiting take effect whenever the signal goes above the threshold, expansion effects signal levels below the threshold.

Any signal below the threshold is expanded downwards by the specified ratio. For example, if the ratio is 2:1 and the signal drops 3dB below the threshold, the signal level will be reduced to 6dB below the threshold. The following graph illustrates two different expansion ratios — 2:1 and the more severe 10:1.

Expansion graph

An extreme form of expander is the noise gate, in which lower signal levels are reduced severely or eliminated altogether. A ratio of 10:1 or higher can be considered a noise gate.

As you can see, expanders don't make loud sounds louder, they make quiet sounds quieter. What you would do is use an expander to increase the dynamic range and then increase the gain on the whole signal and that will create an effect similar to making loud sounds louder.

  • 2
    While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes.
    – Tetsujin
    May 17 '18 at 17:19

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