James Bernard .plan

52 Reason / Record Tips - Week 39: Compression Tips for the Best Mixes

posted 2010-11-19 at 11:44

For many people, compressors are the biggest obstacle between them and a professional mix. But if you know how to use them, compressors are your best tool to achieve that professional mix.

Most early interactions with compressors involve cranking them up until they sound horrible and then removing them - wondering why anyone would even want to use them in the first place.

This week I'll explain what a compressor's actually doing and how to make it work the way you want.

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Comments (2)

Comment posted by: gummisoul - 2010-11-21 22:02

Hi James,
Thanks for all the great tips. I really struggle with compression. I feel like everybody knows how to use it except me. I have read so much material, I recite it in my sleep, but when it come to practice I can't hear a difference in my sound until it starts to sound worse. I have been told to keep the application of compression subtle/minimal, but again, I can't hear a difference or maybe I don't know what to expect or listen for.
i feel like I need to see what is going on graphically to my sound as the record SSL style desk feels more detached to me when compared to some other applications. I've even tried recording tracks, and tweaking the settings as the sound wave unravels in the sequencer.
I found examples of tunes with and without compression and I CAN hear the difference, but I feel like nothing is happening when I try it.
I dunno......

Comment posted by: dysamoria - 2012-07-30 18:47

Yes, the pumping effect is intentional in a lot of music these days... In fact, there are tutorials for achieving it with side chaining explicitly just as you showed in the beginning of your tutorial series with ducking and cutting a synth with side-chaining. People like the pumping for dance genres because it adds to the hoppy feeling. Its origins probably are accidental, but people liked it. Just like how low-fi effects are accidental, but now loved in all kinds of places.

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