Ableton Compressor tip: The Lookahead parameter. What is it? What does it do? When a hardware analog compressor reacts to an audio input, itís always a little bit behind. It takes time to react. Digital software compressors have the upper hand though. By delaying the input signal slightly, they can ďpre-readĒ the audio coming into them and react more quickly. Itís kind of like anti-skip technology that CD players use. They do this with the Lookahead parameter. The Ableton Compressor has 3 Lookahead modes, 0 ms, 1 ms, and 10 ms. 0 ms would simulate the reaction of an analog compressor, whereas 1 ms and 10 ms scan ahead and allow the Compressor to react more quickly. Each mode will have a different characteristic, so make sure you try them out and see which one fits best for your music.
Ableton Compressor tip: Model types. The Compressor has three Model types, FF1, FF2, and FB. FF1 and 2 are feed forward models based on the legacy Compressor 1 and 2 devices from past versions. FF2 lets more bass through than FF1, and I find that FF1 is superior for sidechaining bass and sub bass material as it produces less clicks and pops. FB is a feedback Model that analyses the output signal of the Compressor versus the input signal like the other two. It looks at the output signal after gain reduction and optimizes based on that information. It tends to sound more smooth and produce less artifacts, but yields less overall gain reduction. Many sought after analog compressors from pro studios are feedback models. Also keep in mind that Lookahead and Sidechain are disabled in FB, as they require reading an input signal.