Compression for Dummies

Tutorials to help you get the best out of your mixing progies. Please feel free to ask any mixing/editing/production problem questions here.
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Re: Compression for Dummies

Post Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:23 am

Compression is rarely needed in mashups though cause the vocals are usually already compressed, just an FYI.

However it can definitely help for rock and EDM mashups. :1smiley:

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Re: Compression for Dummies

Post Fri Apr 03, 2015 8:32 am

DJ Firth wrote:Compression is rarely needed in mashups though cause the vocals are usually already compressed, just an FYI.

However it can definitely help for rock and EDM mashups. :1smiley:


This comment worries me... Compression isn't the answer to everything but that doesn't mean that most tracks can't benefit from it, it's something that every producer should spend time to learn and understand. It's aplications are endless.
Firth you just commented that the vocal in a track sounded harsh.. Can you guess what would have helped?

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Re: Compression for Dummies

Post Fri Apr 03, 2015 10:05 am

Compressing a vocal track can make it sound less harsh?

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Re: Compression for Dummies

Post Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:58 am

Yep, you're aware of de-essers? That a compressor. Also most compressor have eq so you can just compress the offending frequency, if sidechained you can just effect the sections of a track that are standing out without cutting that frequency across the whole track.

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Re: Compression for Dummies

Post Fri Apr 03, 2015 3:30 pm

I need a new compressor :1shocked: hahah

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Re: Compression for Dummies

Post Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:15 am

The reason I was wanting to use compression on the master channel in my mashups is that I have noticed all of my mashups end up quieter than 'professional' songs and tracks (some by other mashuppers) by quite a bit.

For example, if I listen to music on my car stereo, it has 30 volume 'notch' settings. I will listen to a professionally produced album, and generally listen to it at 12 for good hearing volume, up to 14 if I want it loud, but not too loud. In contrast, when I listen to my own tracks on the same stereo, I'm setting the volume at 18 to 20, sometimes 22 to 24.

This becomes an issue when I'm sharing songs on Soundcloud and other places where people can listen on their phone, and it's harder to hear the songs in a public setting, even at max volume.

Now the reason I think my tracks are so quiet is because I'm lowering the volume of individual tracks and the master to stop them from clipping in my DAW. But then I end up with a quieter track, which is just below clipping level at points in the song.

I was hoping that, by using compression in the master channel as the last step, I could shorten the gap between the almost clipping sections in the song, and the rest of the song which isn't at that almost clipping point, and then after bringing the quieter to louder parts closer together, raising the gain and hopefully ending up with a track that is closer to that '12 to 14' volume level of the professionally mixed/mastered tracks.

Is that a pipe dream?
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Re: Compression for Dummies

Post Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:00 am

You might be a victim of the loudness war if you feel your tracks are too low compared to other tracks.

Also you should add a LoudnessAnalyzer-plug-in (I'm using the free MLoudnessAnalyzer from Melda Productions) to your master to meter the perceived loudness.

If you are tired of adjusting the volume for each track while listening I recommend using ReplayGain

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Re: Compression for Dummies

Post Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:07 am

YITT wrote:The reason I was wanting to use compression on the master channel in my mashups is that I have noticed all of my mashups end up quieter than 'professional' songs and tracks (some by other mashuppers) by quite a bit.

For example, if I listen to music on my car stereo, it has 30 volume 'notch' settings. I will listen to a professionally produced album, and generally listen to it at 12 for good hearing volume, up to 14 if I want it loud, but not too loud. In contrast, when I listen to my own tracks on the same stereo, I'm setting the volume at 18 to 20, sometimes 22 to 24.

This becomes an issue when I'm sharing songs on Soundcloud and other places where people can listen on their phone, and it's harder to hear the songs in a public setting, even at max volume.

Now the reason I think my tracks are so quiet is because I'm lowering the volume of individual tracks and the master to stop them from clipping in my DAW. But then I end up with a quieter track, which is just below clipping level at points in the song.

I was hoping that, by using compression in the master channel as the last step, I could shorten the gap between the almost clipping sections in the song, and the rest of the song which isn't at that almost clipping point, and then after bringing the quieter to louder parts closer together, raising the gain and hopefully ending up with a track that is closer to that '12 to 14' volume level of the professionally mixed/mastered tracks.

Is that a pipe dream?



I'd suggest a master limiter for this purpose, but then I may be wrong :1laugh:

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Re: Compression for Dummies

Post Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:08 pm

OK so a few things to talk about here... Lets start with the loudness war, bit like the clone wars and will probably be as anticlimactic. In a nutshell they came about due to the rise in bedroom producers and a lack of quality control. Producers pushed their kicks louder and louder and due to the fact that we all love that feeling of our hearts trying to escape our chests when we're clubbing, no one complained.
Now we have the backlash coming from the establishment whereby in future industry leaders want to bring back a standardised level, to do this they will be focusing on the kick drum because in the past that was always the mid point (loudness wise) of a track. The problem however for all the bedroom producers is that when they standardise that level, all their tracks will go from being the loudest to being the quietest because bedroom producers as we know don't set the kick as a mid level they set it as the loudest component of their tracks. Anyway that's that, lets move on to mixing a track and keeping the volume "loud". I think a lot of producers fall into the trap of seeing loudness as the only way to make their vocals stand out and this really isn't the case, to make vocals stand out you need to be looking at your frequencies and seeing where you can carve holes in them to make space for your vocal. Start using and understanding spectrum analysers, start listening to your mix and learn to shape it with EQing. Shaving a bit off here and a bit off there from the vocal and the instrumental can give you great results and clean powerful vocals that sit in the mix without having to reduce the overall volume of the track.
Lastly "mastering" people you all really need to start understanding that this isn't part of the mixing stage. It's separate. Trying to combine the two will have you endlessly tweaking as every subtle change you make will impact on your mix. So stop it!
When you've finished a mix and you're happy with it, export it into a new session, find the loudest section of the track, then import into the same session a track that you want your work to be able to stand alongside and again find the loudest section. Then using a combination of a limiter and a compressor boost the gain until you're happy with the results, if you spent time in the mix section of your production you should have left yourself plenty of headroom to play with and the end result should be a respectable loudness and a clean mix.

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Re: Compression for Dummies

Post Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:43 am

This is all great advice; thanks.
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