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compression while tracking vocals

I'm always a little unsure about applying compression while tracking vocals. I know different vocalist call for different approaches, so i'm looking for some general guidlines to get started. Generally i'm pretty conservative on the front end. I use an Avalon or universal audio running through an AMEK 9098 compressor. I usually get great results but i'm wondering how I can take this technique further. I've been noticing some really squashed, upfront vocals lately, (Lisa Marie Presley, Michelle Branch, and Meshell N'Degeocello) and i'm wandering how much of that is done on the front end. If anybody out there has thoughts on this matter I would love to get some feedback.

thanks,
benny

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