I read about some compressors that they are good for signal smoothing.


it seems to work best as a gentle compressor for general signal smoothing

What does smoothing mean in this context?

  • 4
    It could mean removing huge dynamic changes, which a dynamic compressor will do. It might also mean removing the highest frequency components, moving square and triangle waves closer to sinusoidals, which a frequency compressor could do. Sep 9, 2016 at 13:23
  • The volume envelope after dynamic compression is "smoother" as in less spiky. Smoothing could also mean low-pass filtering, but that's not what compressors generally do. Sep 9, 2016 at 14:53
  • 1
    I Googled your text snippet, and it is a quote from somebody reviewing an MXR M143 Limiter. They conclude that the unit works "best as a gentle compressor for general signal smoothing" rather than for more aggressive limiting. Basically they are saying that the MXR device doesn't do intended job X very well, but it does to similar job Y well when used subtly. I don't think 'signal smoothing' has a tied down definition, but in the context I take it to mean basically attenuating the most extreme transients of the incoming signal, like @CarlWitthoft states above.
    – ABragg
    Sep 9, 2016 at 15:24

1 Answer 1


Signal smoothing is exactly was Carl Witthoft said in the comments. It just means that the compressor will increase the volume of lower volume frequencies and reduce the volume of the louder frequencies to have a smooth averaged output volume, which in-turn reduces dramatic spikes of volume that can occur in the signal and will 'smooth' out the signal. Which will give you smoother sounds. See the diagram below for more understanding.

enter image description here

What does this mean practically?

When you strum all the strings of your guitar at once, no note, theoretically, should be louder or quieter than another, all the notes should have the same volume.

Hope this helps:)

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