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Help Me Make Your Job Easier Single-Channel Preamps
Old 15th January 2019
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Brian M. Boykin's Avatar
Help Me Make Your Job Easier


I’m gonna try to make this short and to the point. I’ve been tracking and mixing my own music since 2005ish OTB through a console with VU’s. Reference level of +4 VU or RMS of 1.228 volts. I apply compression all along the way. I prefer soft knee as it’s more natural to my ears and less destructive. 3-5db at tracking. Another 3-5 on the inserts. I set up groups and compress maybe another 3-5 or more and slide the groups in behind the mix of the subs, ie, I’ll solo the individual drum tracks and then slide a compressed sub mix of the drums in behind it. The entire mix goes through an Aphex Compellor where I match levels based on the kick’s peaks which I get within a half dB on the individual track. Ears are the final test but the eyes like to see smooth levels. The struggle is real.

Now to my question. I’m beginning to venture out in the local scene and draw customers in. Please school me on how much compression I should be applying along the way. Generally I compress the mix buss as little as possible. I’m aware I need to leave the mastering engineer room to work I just need some direction on how much.

Old 15th January 2019
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Greg Reierson's Avatar

Verified Member
Post a sample.
Old 4 weeks ago
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Brian M. Boykin's Avatar
Gonna be a couple days. Tried to pull one off my phone but it’s in the notes section and the audio didn’t come over. Tried several ways and it comes up an empty Wav file. I’m a fire fighter by day and on shift for the next 36 hours.

Old 4 weeks ago
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SmoothTone's Avatar

Contrary to popular internet dogma, I don't find that compression used appropriately or any other buss processing necessarily compromises things in mastering. As long as these are used for musical reasons to enhance the mix rather than just "because you should" or for the sake of loudness when it actually damages the mix, then I don't find it a problem.

So use as much compression as necessary to serve the mix but not too much that it compromises the music. If the mix still breathes and moves in a musical way and the transients have impact, then you're probably good to go.

As indicated in Greg's post above, it's hard to be more specific without hearing the result. Once you establish a working relationship with a ME that you connect well with, you'll probably find the results you get back from mastering, along with any dialogue you have along the way, is more beneficial than anything we might be able to tell you here.
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