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Input Compression vs Additive Compression
Old 15th September 2011
Here for the gear

Input Compression vs Additive Compression

Ok, so firstly I have to assume that "additive compression" means routing your DAW outputs to a compressor, then routing the compressor back into the DAW (DAW -> compressor -> DAW). Am I correct on this? If not, please correct me here and let me know the proper terminology!

That brings me to the real question... I've seen this post:

So the question is this. Basically, what I want to know is the advantages and disadvantages of using compression on your input (eg mic pre -> compressor -> DAW), as opposed to adding the compression in afterwards (as described above)? Is anyone able to give me the run-down on this? Personally I'd love to get my tracks done and down and worry about compression etc later. The only downside I can see with additive is the extra DA - AD conversion - Which does mean the signal isn't as good as putting it on the analogue side before the DAW.

By the way, I'm talking solely about analogue hardware compression - Not plugins/software.

The same question goes for EQ etc - Or does it!?

Old 15th September 2011
Lives for gear

I'm not going to get into your terms, but the idea of compressing on the way in verses compressing multiple tracks or groups of tracks: Compression, in the old days, was done to keep the signal within the dynamic range of the recording medium. That is no longer an issue. It was also done because any studio had a limited number of compressors.

You no longer have to compress on the way in to protect the signal quality, and you can have as many instances of a plug in compressor as you need.

So the only reason to use a compressor on the way in today is because you have a hardware compressor and you like the mojo it offers to the signal... less of a compressor in this case, more of an effect.

You are free to add as much compression as you need in mixdown, and it can be done in context, either to individual tracks, groups of tracks, or (and) the whole mix.

The thing about different recording techniques... they are mostly tools, not rules or religions. Use what works in a given situation.
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