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Old 14th May 2019
  #6
Lives for gear
I'm not really seeing why someone would bus compress only the vocals... unless you just happen to really like the sound of that bus compressor.

In my opinion, when you bus compress... you're compressing other elements of the song together to glue them up. So for me.... I would first manually lower the volume of the hook inside the DAW (lower the gain... not fader... this is part of gain staging) so that it's level with the verse. Then use whatever regular compression I enjoy on the vocals. I would then use an EQ to find the sweet spot of the vocals, determine that frequency, and carve that frequency out of other elements of the beat that compete with it by 3-6db to create more space for the vocals.

THEN... I would bus compress the vocals & beat on the master out for the glue.

That's just how I would approach it.

I would use a VU meter set to K-14 for everything to make sure the needle stays in the ballpark of 0VU, before bus compression. After my levels are good, the mix is practically complete (but not loud yet) and I'm ready to bus compress... I don't care much about the VU metering anymore, at that point. I push it and apply a limiter to make sure I don't digitally clip. (Digital clipping is dreadful.)