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Compression during mixing
Old 5th November 2019
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Compression during mixing

So I find I'm losing the body and warmth of my mixes, always having insane equing going on. Maybe I should start compressing more during mixing? Since mixing is a lot about having correct sound levels, shouldn't compressing be a central part of it? Do you compress a lot during mixing?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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edva's Avatar
The tone of your mixes is not necessarily related to your lack of compression, but, as to whether it is used in mixes, and how much, the very general answer would be as much as is needed, but as little as possible - but still usually a whole lot.

There are mostly minor tonal differences between various compressors, which can add up in the context of a mix. But mostly compression is about controlling the volume envelope, not just the level, of a source, very basically speaking.

Compression is an art form unto itself, and deserves study, and hands/ears-on experimentation and practice, if one desires to become proficient at it. Good luck.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by edva View Post
The tone of your mixes is not necessarily related to your lack of compression, but, as to whether it is used in mixes, and how much, the very general answer would be as much as is needed, but as little as possible - but still usually a whole lot.

There are mostly minor tonal differences between various compressors, which can add up in the context of a mix. But mostly compression is about controlling the volume envelope, not just the level, of a source, very basically speaking.

Compression is an art form unto itself, and deserves study, and hands/ears-on experimentation and practice, if one desires to become proficient at it. Good luck.
Thank you, very interesting answer. That could actually be what I'm searching for, regarding what you said about compression being about controlling volumes and volume envelopes. Maybe you could explain a bit more what you think?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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decocco's Avatar
 

Compression will help you reduce dynamic range, at least that is the intended function of compression.

Beyond that, each compressor has its own sound. Once you know the sound of your compressors you can employ them in a way that adds creative “color.”

Compression will not add warmth/body where there is none; that should already be present in the recorded tracks. But if you take the time to learn how to use compression, it is a powerful tool and can help you craft more polished sounding mixes.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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edva's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bomberjacket View Post
Thank you, very interesting answer. That could actually be what I'm searching for, regarding what you said about compression being about controlling volumes and volume envelopes. Maybe you could explain a bit more what you think?
Every sound has naturally occurring volume envelope. Often, the sound can be made to work "better" in a recording or musical context if that envelope is altered in one way or another. A sound may benefit from more attack and less sustain, or vice versa, for example. The dynamic of the entire envelope can be controlled as well - including making loud sounds soft, making soft sounds loud, or making the sound all one volume. The sound can also be made to "pump", with the dynamic envelope rising and falling, generally "in time to the music."
There are of course nearly infinite variations of all of this in the actual application of the process. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Also, as mentioned previously, many compressors do impart some degree of "tone", and if you compare various models you may hear a difference you like, and which may enhance the program material.

It is very helpful to understand how compressors work, but only by working with them and using your ears will it really come together for you. I do applaud you for asking questions about it though. Deeper subject than it may seem, so it's good to seek out as much information as you can on the subject. Good luck.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Thanks to you both! Very interesting to read!! I've used mainly eq to reduce dynamic range, without getting the result I wanted. I'll try with compression instead.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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really interesting how different people can think of compression. when I started out I thought in terms of attak and release or controlling dynamics. Nowadays I don't remember the last time I thought about a compressor in that way. All I think now: "this sounds like **** but that Daking over there has this solidness that will help this track" or "I need a little more sheen on these acoustics - that MSHol opto comp will take care of it"

So compressors to me are way more important in getting the right tonality than doing some gain raiding. For gain raiding I have some faders ...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
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edva's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by studjo View Post
really interesting how different people can think of compression. when I started out I thought in terms of attak and release or controlling dynamics. Nowadays I don't remember the last time I thought about a compressor in that way. All I think now: "this sounds like **** but that Daking over there has this solidness that will help this track" or "I need a little more sheen on these acoustics - that MSHol opto comp will take care of it"

So compressors to me are way more important in getting the right tonality than doing some gain raiding. For gain raiding I have some faders ...
This is where knowledge and experience will eventually lead you, if you are diligent. All aspects of mixing are like this, not just compression. the goal is to possess enough knowledge and experience that your mix decisions become "automatic", in the sense that you use your ears to determine what is needed, and then reflexively or intuitively apply the needed techniques to make it so. Good luck.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
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MarAtaSe9's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bomberjacket View Post
So I find I'm losing the body and warmth of my mixes, always having insane equing going on. Maybe I should start compressing more during mixing? Since mixing is a lot about having correct sound levels, shouldn't compressing be a central part of it? Do you compress a lot during mixing?

Hi there, does your insane eq-ing come after you realize there no more body/low-end in the mix, or do eq like mad to later find the body/bass gone?

just one example (not necessarily true for your process of course), :
lots of people cut low-mids like mad to achieve clarity/hifi/modern sounds...but if you suck out all the low mids across an entire mix youll get thin, cold sonic-picture. Perhaps just notice your sonic intentions with eq as you go along, and dial it back a bit with each move? a little goes a long way in the grand scheme of things

Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
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compression is just one of many tools (gain, level, pan, eq, lim, comp, exp, gate, all sorts of efx) which can help to shape the sound - if you 'need' ridiculous amonts of any of these however, you're in trouble and most likely missed to get decent sound on the way in!

there is a bit of a difference when using compression both on the way in and out as opposed to during mixing alone but i suggest you'll use it for tracking (on very specific sources) only if you got a very good reason to do so and apply it correctly...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarAtaSe9 View Post
Hi there, does your insane eq-ing come after you realize there no more body/low-end in the mix, or do eq like mad to later find the body/bass gone?

just one example (not necessarily true for your process of course), :
lots of people cut low-mids like mad to achieve clarity/hifi/modern sounds...but if you suck out all the low mids across an entire mix youll get thin, cold sonic-picture. Perhaps just notice your sonic intentions with eq as you go along, and dial it back a bit with each move? a little goes a long way in the grand scheme of things

Hi,

The eq-ing starts very early and goes out of hands quickly. I use VST:s and samples, so I can't control the frequency range using a mic. Therefore I find I have to eq a ton, but at the same time the different tracks start loosing body, many times becoming hollow and the opposite to rich/warm.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bomberjacket View Post
So I find I'm losing the body and warmth of my mixes, always having insane equing going on. Maybe I should start compressing more during mixing? Since mixing is a lot about having correct sound levels, shouldn't compressing be a central part of it? Do you compress a lot during mixing?
If you are having to do 'Insane Equing' as you put it, something else is going on
and the fix is not compression. Mazybe its the insane EQ that you are that is making it lose its boidy and warmth.

Let me ask you this, if the mix already has body and warmth, then its something you are doing to make it loose it., like 'insane EQ'
Quote:
Since mixing is a lot about having correct sound levels, shouldn't compressing be a central part of it?
Sound levels and compression are not the same. Levels have to do with how loud or soft something is and compression is dynamics. The central part of mixing is to make each track in a song work together with all the other tracks in the song in a way that the artist/band/producer wants.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
If you are having to do 'Insane Equing' as you put it, something else is going on
and the fix is not compression. Mazybe its the insane EQ that you are that is making it lose its boidy and warmth.

Let me ask you this, if the mix already has body and warmth, then its something you are doing to make it loose it., like 'insane EQ'

Sound levels and compression are not the same. Levels have to do with how loud or soft something is and compression is dynamics. The central part of mixing is to make each track in a song work together with all the other tracks in the song in a way that the artist/band/producer wants.
Sorry, I meant to say that the individual sounds are very warm, rich etc. But together they all take up too much of the sound spectrum and create a muddy mix that isn't airy and clean. So then I find I have to do insanely complicated eq-ing to make all sounds fit, but at the same time they start to sound thin and hollow.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
Quote:
But together they all take up too much of the sound spectrum and create a muddy mix that isn't airy and clean.
Then you should try Complimentary EQ techniques and make a 3D stereo image.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
Then you should try Complimentary EQ techniques and make a 3D stereo image.
Alright, well I'll try find how do that. Thanks!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
SRS
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SRS's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bomberjacket View Post
So I find I'm losing the body and warmth of my mixes, always having insane equing going on. Maybe I should start compressing more during mixing? Since mixing is a lot about having correct sound levels, shouldn't compressing be a central part of it? Do you compress a lot during mixing?
Going back to your original post, start with getting the overall levels between each track right before you do any heavy EQing or comp on individual tracks. Use your faders and volume controls first. And the final question is if compression is used a lot during mixing. It can be, or it cannot be. Don't forget that during tracking that Comp and EQ among other techniques are used all the time to get the sound right at the onset, preventing further mix processing.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
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Owen L T's Avatar
This also sounds like a production/arrangement/sound-design issue. Yes, instruments do overlap some, and some complimentary EQ is an inevitable part of mixing. But chord voicings and arrangement are also a huge part of it. If a MIDI piano is muddy, and fighting with the bass, you could reach for the EQ; but you could also reach for the MIDI piano roll, and try moving the bottom note of the chords up and octave. Or the bottom two notes. More than once, I've found that to be the answer to what I though was an EQ problem. (See also: chord voicings on guitar.)
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