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Investigating the Sound Quality Lexicon of Analogue Compression Using Category Analysis

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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