To Compress or not to Compress? That is the Question.

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by nathansmind, May 13, 2010.

  1. nathansmind

    nathansmind Active Member

    May 5, 2010
    Hey Everyone,

    I wanted to get some perspective from the forum members on compression. A friend of mine calls compression the magic key to a good mix. I'm sure he has good reason. I personally like a little compression on a mix and especially on vocals. I read a book that said to never go over a 2:1 ratio. I'm not sure what they where mixing. Of course this is all subjective, but what works for you? Do you have a magic key to your mix?

    Happy Recording
  2. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Distinguished Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    Chicago area, IL, USA
    Home Page:
    The magic key is to do what the mix is telling you to do. Whether in the mixing *or* mastering phase. But especially the mixing process. Ratios are dependent on what you have vs. what you want vs. what the source is actually capable of (that's the part a lot of people forget about). 2:1 means nothing without another reference. You can have 2dB of gain reduction at 2:1 and 2dB at 10:1. Nothing close to similar though...
  3. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    Boulder, Colorado
    I compress the most obviously dynamic tracks to blend properly with the least dynamic tracks. I use whatever ratio, attack, release and knee are required to get the sound I want. That could mean anything from just taking a little edge off to squashing the heck out of a track. Then I apply a "mastering" limiter on the main bus to get the RMS level to some arbitrary target, not for any big affect on the sound.

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