# References considered during RMS or Peak compression?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by Dozer, Apr 11, 2007.

Tags:
1. ### DozerActive Member

Joined:
Nov 21, 2006
Could someone correct any of my thinking here, and answer my questions also? Please read carefully and make sure you
understand the question before responding. If I am not making myself clear, I can make a 5 minute video and post it on YouTube and post a link to the video with me demonstrating and asking the question.

When Mastering:
Idea/Thoughts and Question #1:
When choosing a threshold for compression, to get a certain number of dB gain reduction(to get a certain number of dB increase in headroom) using light compression(1.1:1)- Do you use the Average RMS value as a reference for the compression, or do you just look at what value most of the peaks are at, and judge a good reference point for the compression?

Know that I am aware of the mathematical formula for finding what threshold I would need to use, at a given ratio, in order to get a certain amount of gain reduction(increase in headroom)

And if I am using the Average RMS as a reference, I am sure I would put the Compressor in RMS mode of course?
I mean is this even a technique? Or is my thinking wrong on this?

Idea/Thoughts and Question #2:
But that brings us to the other form of compression-Peak compression

I mean, when you got Peaks here and there, and you want to just compress the peaks, to bring them closer to the RMS value I guess, so to speak, Im guessing you put the Compressor in Peak Compression mode, then come up with a threshold by observing/guessing/judging by observing the waveform values of the peaks. Like "Where are most of my peaks at?" And Im wondering if that is in fact what is trying to be accomplished.
Are we trying to bring the peaks down, maybe closer to RMS levels?
And what are you useing as a reference to come up with your compression threshold/ratio settings for peak compression, are you just taking an educated guess by observing where you think most of the peaks are, and using that value as your reference for compression?
Thanks

2. ### Michael FossenkemperDistinguished past mastering moderatorWell-Known Member

Joined:
Sep 12, 2002
Location:
NYC New York
Well I think you are approaching in backwards. A mix is fluid and dynamic, trying to achieve a level in calculation is missing the point. Each mix has it's potential for volume, you should approach it as "what serves the mix", not level. You set your compressor and eq to make the mix sound the best it can, then you increase the level until it topples. maybe tweak to help it from crumbling but your goal should be to make it sound good first and level second.

I never approach a master with level in mind as my first priority. my first order of business is to make it sound as good as I can, then i see how much level i can get out of it. of coarse you have to take all of the other mixes into account to make sure they have the same potential.

Once you figure out how to balance a mix, then level comes much easier.

Pick your threashold and ratio to what serves the mix, not level.

3. ### DozerActive Member

Joined:
Nov 21, 2006
Thanks for the reply. However, I am not interested in just getting my levels up. I am more interested in different compression techniques that may be employed during mastering. I also go by the the track sounds of course.
I really understand what your saying though

Joined:
Sep 12, 2002
Location:
NYC New York