And yet another thread about compression

Discussion in 'Mixing & Editing' started by niclaus, Jan 1, 2008.

  1. niclaus

    niclaus Active Member

    Dec 28, 2007
    Paris, France
    Hello there!

    I've been reading a lot of litterature about compression in mastering and mixing lately. And i do mean, A LOT.
    I knew, i know, and i understand, and more than anything else i agree on the fact that compression is just too much used nowadays... And that it does no good to music, etc...

    In a perfect world we'd be able to just use a small amount of compression, or just what's needed, instead of going so hard on compressors.

    But the thing is, we are not in a perfect world, and everybody DOES WANTS to be at least as loud as the other ones.

    OK, common talk until then.

    Let's just say that if you have to mix something for someone who wants to sound like everybody else.
    How much compression would be needed during the mix??

    Cause if you choose to use little compression while mixing, when they'll get to the mastering facility, they'd have to compress the hell out of it, and thus, ruining your mix... I mean, the snare cannot stay as loud as you mixed it if they go through somekind of L3...

    I don't know if i'm clear here.

    My question is this one:

    Knowing that it'll compressed really hard, would you use hard compression while mixing or not? So you can make the adjustments that compression would require...

    Well, i'm not sure you will understand what i'm trying to say, but, anyway, i hope some will, and give me a honest answer.

    Thank you so much for you kind help.

  2. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    It really depends on the genre of music.
    I'll usually put a bit of compression on bass, guitars, and vox in punk and metal stuff, just hitting the peaks and smoothing the signal out a little.
    For Blues and Jazz I like to give everything more breathing room.

    I'd rather ride the faders than squash the tracks.
    If I do grab a comp it's for a little extra control on the vox, bass or guitars.
    If an instrument is getting way out of hand I'll stop recording and call a do-over, sometimes that includes a discussion with the musician
    about his or her abilities and technique.

    As far as the final product entering the loudness war, I'll let previous posts here answer that one for you.
  3. niclaus

    niclaus Active Member

    Dec 28, 2007
    Paris, France
    Well, that's pretty much the way i do it too, but a couple of days ago, i loaded a song (from a commercial CD) in a ProTools, and i was amazed byt the lack of dynamic of it.
    I mean, i never saw that before, and i was kind of wandering how they could achieve such compression/limitation without ruining mixes... Or is it that the mixes are already hardly squashed down???
    If i try to take one of my mix and make it as "loud" as this one, well, the result is far, FAR from the mix in the first place...
    Do the mixers foresee that or is it just a mastering process to turn those thing that way??
  4. Pootkao

    Pootkao Guest

    Its a bit of all of the above.

    Mix engineers are compressing their mixes more, and mastering engineers are compressing them EVEN more. Dynamics have gone the way of the dodo bird over the last 5-10 years. But lately the phenomenom has been creeping well beyond just mainstream music too. I just picked up Sondre Lerche's new album "Phantom Punch" and was really surprised by how squashed it is. Usually his albums have had a lot of dynamics and energy.
  5. niclaus

    niclaus Active Member

    Dec 28, 2007
    Paris, France
    I just don't get how they can achieve so little dynamical product and still havin it sound, well, not good, but but considering the ration of distortion, that's amazing you can still here somethin'.

    I mean, how can a snare drum still sound like a snare drum when there is little romm for it??? I mean, technically, hox can they achieve that??? Even if that's bad and everything, there must be some tricks here...!!! Ain't there??

    Does it sometime makes sense to over compress a mix, saying like in heavy metal or somethin??? Or do they foresee that it's gonna be done afterwards and then they'd rather control it, at least a little bit?? Or do they really just want to achieve maximum loudness?? Cause i've never been able to listen to that kind of music without extreme compression.

    I remember the salesman from Cedar tellin me that he often sells cambridge station t mastering facilities so they could declik the artifacts due to extreme limiting... Ain't that crazy!!!

    Anyway i've been doin a lot of readin lately, and i must say that i am pretty relieved to see that everybody is starting to see that as a problem, and tryin to go back to putting music first...
    I hope that i'm not wrong by saying that, i think the revolution might soon be on...!!!
  6. niclaus

    niclaus Active Member

    Dec 28, 2007
    Paris, France
    Workin in sound restoration, i would compare that problem to extreme denoising in our industry...
    Some clients just want less and less noise left, even though you have to hurt the voices and stuff...
    We oftenly have to seat our clients in the mixing room and talk to them and make them really hear the difference... And hopefulle, in 99,9% of the case they realize that extreme denoising is really not the way to go...!!!

    But it's more easy, at least for me, to understand how extreme denoising can be performed than to understand, even if I know how about limiting and everything, how you could still have sound, even if it's bad, produced when you are workin in a 0,5 dB dynamic.

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