This study investigates the lexicon used to describe analogue compression. Extant documents comprising 51 reviews of analogue compressors over 15 years are coded using category analysis. A total of 160 adjectives emerge and are further refined to nine inductive categories: transparency; frequency related; signal distortion; energy; transient shaping; glue; association; spatial dimensions; and character. A final abstraction reveals two primary attributes governing the perceived sound quality of analogue compression: “character” and “transient shaping.” Transparent dynamic range compression is found to be less important. This investigation clarifies the lexicon used to describe the sound quality attributes of analogue compression.
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