Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Davidoc, Aug 28, 2001.

  1. Davidoc

    Davidoc Guest

    Sep 2, 2000
    Northern VA and JMU
    Do you compress the mix?

    I've heard it can sound better compressed. Is this true?
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Basically everything you hear on CD or especially on the radio has been compressed, sometimes really heavily.
    Especially for digital recording it can help to use the headroom of your system more effectively.
    The sound can also improve, it can get punchier and fatter. And you can emulate the natural tape compression of analog recording.
    Good audio soft offers good compression FX, or get a good rackmount compressor.
    But beware, like with a lot of FX, less usually is more. It's great to have a soft-knee mode on your compressor, it gives you more musical and natural results.
    The greatest thing are tube compressors, especially for vocals and acoustic guitars, but they're sinfully expensive.

    This tutorial provides some more info:

    There are lots of good tutorials on the web, just do a search on
  3. Davidoc

    Davidoc Guest

    Sep 2, 2000
    Northern VA and JMU
    Thanks for the details!

    I think you were the one who gave me the original tip on compression. I think I owe my band's better sounding recordings to ya :)
  4. Saint


    Mar 2, 2000
    DC - USA
    If you are just using the recordings for your own purposes, then go ahead and compress the mix a little bit. It will certainly sound better.

    However, if you ever have any desire for airplay quality, you will need to take your recorded tracks to a mastering studio, in which case you should not compress your mix. Generally, I think the rule of thumb is to compress individual instruments/tracks as little as possible to get a good sound. Since compression can only be added, not removed, there is very little a mastering studio can do to a recording that's been compressed already. If possible, you may want to do what I do which is to always save seperately a clean copy of my recording before adding compression or reverb. That way, I can have something that sounds good enough at the time, but I also preserve my ability to have my recordings professionally mastered.