The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
do you guys find yourself using more compression when talent is not that good?
Old 21st December 2011
Lives for gear
mikeyrad's Avatar

do you guys find yourself using more compression when talent is not that good?

So when you guys get less than steller clients in your studio, do you tend to use morte compression to get the sound your looking for? Or do you find yourself going through the same paces and letting your skill shine through?

Instruments being played all over the place dynamically as opposed to in the pocket and on time?

I know its easier to mix a band when the players are great, but what when they are not? How does that affect your mix process?

Any insight or tips when you cant tell the musicians or if you get pre recorded stuff to mix would be awesome!
Old 21st December 2011
Gear Nut

The short answer is yes, the long answer is not necessarily.

Short answer: Yes, you compress bad singers because their dynamics do not mesh with the intent of the song.

Long answer: Not necessarily; some great singers (Beyonce, Patrick Stump, certain screamo guys, etc...) are loud because it's the only way they can produce the tones in their voice that they intend to record. Compression, in this case, is more like an artistic liberator: it allows for loud tones to be bumped down in the mix while still retaining their emotional intensity.

At the end of the day, I say you should make your decision based on the style of music in light of the skill of the singer. If you think the singer is ill-suited to the style of music and poor dynamics are a reflection of that, then chances are you'll need to do more than just compression to make it work. On the other hand, if you think the singer has a ton of emotion going for him and just needs to be smushed, then go for it. Remember, this whole thing is an art form.
Old 21st December 2011
Lives for gear

i would say no.

these days i'm in a phase where i use a lot of compression on everything. modern music is as dependent on mixing as it is on anything else.
Old 21st December 2011
Gear Nut

yes, yes and yes. also a direct relationship between no. of overdubs and amount of compression used. For me more live tracking, better musicianship, and less use of headphones all can lead to less compression
Old 21st December 2011
Lives for gear
kelvyn's Avatar
Isn't it more a case of 'the right tools for the job'. Dynamic playing in the right context can be very interesting. Sometimes we need to tame the beast and sometimes the beast needs to roar
Old 21st December 2011
Oh hells yeah, when I'm the "talent" I have the compressor dialed up so hard it's pumping out square waves! If it's good enough for 99.99% of modern pop production then it's good enough for me :D.
Old 21st December 2011
Lives for gear
mikeyrad's Avatar

Thanks for the replies guys now I feel like I'm not the only one.

I do use compression what I feel like its needed but also If i feel like I'm using it more when the client is not as good to get the song rockin and glued
Old 21st December 2011
Lives for gear
cavern's Avatar

Not just compression.
The worst the talent,the higher the plug-in count.
Old 21st December 2011
Lives for gear
Slikjmuzik's Avatar

Yes, when the talent sux, your job is still to find a way to make what the layman hears as special. Same thing Dr. Luke does with Ke$ha.
Old 21st December 2011
I find myself using more "muting".
Old 21st December 2011
Gear Head

I guess so coz I've found I use limited to none when I have great musicians
Old 21st December 2011
Gear Maniac
taherbert's Avatar
IME, use of compression totally depends on the style of music, density of the arrangement, where you want the vocal to sit psychoacoustically in the mix, and the consistency of the vocalist/musician.

I use compressors (and sometimes limiters) for several things:
1) To make the volume level more consistent between soft and loud passages
2) To make the place where the vocal sits in the mix more consistent at different playback levels (limiters especially useful for this)
3) To emphasize the proximity effect and/or feeling of intimacy on a vocal and make something seem closer in the mix
4) As an effect to alter the tone of a track, pump it a little, or affect the attack/decay envelope to bring out certain features of the sound (though I generally do this more with guitars, bass, and drums than vocals).
5) Compensate for bad mic technique of a vocalist or wildly dynamic bassist or guitarist in getting consistent levels to tape.

So of these considerations, only #5 depends on the talent, but yeah, it does play a role.

I generally do not find compressors useful as a tool to keep a vocalist from getting too loud or overloading the signal chain. For that I use a pad switch, gain knob, etc. If they consistently go from too quiet to too loud in the same take, I either split the track up into sections or try to find a mic/mic position that evens out the dynamics.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.

Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread Starter / Forum
Quint / So Much Gear, So Little Time
Guy Gabriel / Rap + Hip Hop Engineering and Production
serenity1 / So Much Gear, So Little Time

Forum Jump
Forum Jump