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Mr. Poducer Man
Member Since: Dec 04, 2008

IF Compression put things in place when mixing shouldn't I comress everything seperately. Or what should I do

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Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Jan 29, 2009 08:53 am

Compression can be used on a single track to fatten the image of the track.

Take bass for instance. I usually will compress my bass tracks, because they often aren't quite equal in velocity, regardless of my awesome playing style =).

Anyway, compression makes all the bass notes more uniform in volume, then I bring up the track volume and it's all big and phat.

As far as overall compression, I may do this to fatten the whole mix, if I feel it's too light in areas.

Big Caveat: compression should not be used to fix a faulty mix. Fix problems in a mix first, or re-record.

I often compress vocals, but usually not guitars, letting them breath, depending on the material.

I am not a crook's head
Since: Mar 14, 2003

Jan 29, 2009 10:05 am

Compression doesn't put things in their place in a mix. And like PJK said, it isn't used to fix a bad mix either.

Compression is an effect that reduces the dynamic range of a signal. It can make quieter parts sound louder, and it can make loud parts sound quieter. But keep in mind that dynamic range is a key component to the character of a lot of instruments. So unless you're going for a specific effect, be careful about how much compression you apply to individual tracks or you can suck the life and "punch" right out of them. Same goes for the overall mix.

I find that compression makes some types of tracks easier to work with. I also find that compression can do great things for certain tracks (like PJK said, I always use a compressor on bass guitar because I love having a solid, consistent, and very present low end to my mixes). I love compressing snare drums, kick drums, clean electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and most percussion. But each of these instruments deserve their own individual settings. there is no "one size fits all" compression settings. If I took the settings that I use to give a kick drum a lot of punch, and then applied those settings to an acoustic guitar, it would sound pretty obnoxious. And vice versa, if I took the settings that I use to gently compress an acoustic guitar and applied it to a kick drum, you wouldn't even be able to tell it was doing anything.

So its going to be worth learning what a compressor does, and what all of the parameters/knobs of a typical compressor do. Read up and learn what threshold, ratio, hard and soft knee, makeup gain, attack and release all mean, and experiment to learn how they affect these different kinds of instruments as well as how they affect an overall mix.

So as you can tell, compression IS an important part of mixing. It will serve you well to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of audio compression.

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