I feel that compression is one of the most useful but also one of the most misunderstood concepts in audio production, and without wanting to be too ambitious, I'm of the hope that my questions (and hopefully their answers) here can inspire others to ask similar questions in this same thread, leading eventually to a sticky. Really, I understand the concept of a compressor and the terminology, as well as most of the controls (threshold, ratio, make-up gain, etc.) However, attack and especially release times still really elude me; I obviously know what they control, I just am really not sure as to their use. So here are my questions: 1) When trying to "smash" something (usually vocals/bass, as well as any parallel compression), wouldn't one always want to use the fastest attack possible? The way I see it is you're trying to even out the volume, so even letting a little transient through before clamping down seems like it would defeat the purpose. 2) By the same token, when trying to "smash" something, why wouldn't one always want the fastest release? To me, that seems like it'd be the most transparent, cuz I'd imagine it'd be like manually automating the fader to adjust the volume of a part to even it out, which is what I assume using a compressor in this case is for. 3) When working with samples, especially those of a consistent velocity (specifically kick hits), what's the purpose of compressing them if you don't need to equalize the level? I mean, compression by definition is a dynamics control, so if the track you're applying it to has no dynamics, then what's the point? The only reason I can imagine is if you've got a compressor that has a certain kind of coloration that you like, so really, you're not even using it for its compression, just it's affect on the sound. Those are the three that immediately come to mind as having constantly baffled me. I understand (and more importantly, can notice) the affects of varied attack and release times when compressing the master bus, but it's the individual track compression that's always kinda thrown me off. Thanks a ton guys!