when should compression be used?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by sampsoniter, Mar 1, 2005.

  1. sampsoniter

    sampsoniter Guest

    when is compression really necessary?
    I have a habbit of adding some form of compression to every instrument channel and vocals........

    any tips for use of compression?
  2. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    Chicago area, IL, USA
    Home Page:
    You use compression when the dynamic range is too wide.

    That's basically it.

    Establishing exactly on what and when the dynamic range is too wide is the "art" part.
  3. mcmilliron

    mcmilliron Guest

    I recommend using it on bass, vox, drums, and clean guitar. distortion units will often compress the signal for you so there is no need to compress a guitar/bass with distortion. be carefull not to squash the signal too much. some people compress to tape and others wait untill mix down. I personally compress to tape.

    hope this helps.
  4. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    Chicago area, IL, USA
    Home Page:
    Here's where that whole "art" part comes in -

    I'll fairly normally apply a bit to vocals *if* the vocalist needs it, but only on the rest (bass, acoustic or clean electric, drums, etc.) if it's absolutely neccesary.

    Not that either way is right or wrong - Different strokes for different folks and all that.

    Compressing to tape is another story - Again, if it's what the doctor ordered, that's all good. However, once it's there, it's there. If you're not absolutely certain (as I would assume by your orignal question), I'd suggest getting the mix "in the ballpark" before using ANY compression, then applying it to what is "asking" for it.
  5. sampsoniter

    sampsoniter Guest

    thnx guys
    I appreciated it

    much love
  6. wwittman

    wwittman Active Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    when it sounds better compressed.

    THAT'S it.

    I never use compression to control levels in some math or meter related way.
    I use it because I like the sound.

    I almost always use a bit, just a bit, of compression on most things... as they get recorded; with the exception of drums.
    I might compress room mics and I will certainly compress the overall stereo mix, which will effect the drums as well.. but I never compress individual drums.
    I just don;t like what it does.

    But certainly all guitars and vocals and bass guitar get some compression.
    And usually piano and organ as well.
    Synths are a maybe.

    Other instruments: brass, woodwinds, strings.. rarely.

    but it's all a matter of individual taste.
    not rules.
  7. zacharym

    zacharym Guest

    as little as possible, and so that you don't say "oh that sounds compressed" I really like to a/b alot when I'm compressing something.

    unless you're going for something effecty, which I often will on bass tracks, and sometimes guitar.

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