Audio compression 101 for music producers

What does compression do to sound?

Compression reduces the quantity of components of a sound that exceed a sure threshold. In different phrases, it makes the sound quieter general. The extent of the sign is then boosted again as much as restore the peaks to the identical loudness. Which means that the quietest components of the sign find yourself louder than they had been earlier than. This will make the sign really feel louder general.

Confusion usually arises right here. Compression is usually regarded as making issues “loud.” However keep in mind: within the first occasion, it tends to make issues quieter. It’s solely together with a achieve enhance that compression can add loudness to your combine.
<h2=”compression-purpose”>What’s the function of compression in music?

Compression can serve quite a few functions in your music. The largest mistake you can also make is to make use of it with no clear aim in thoughts. We’ve all performed it: you drop a compression plug-in into your sign chain and it appears to make issues somewhat louder. “Cool,” you assume, and transfer on to the following job, by no means touching the compressor once more. Usually, this type of purposeless compression is including little or no to your monitor. It’d even be making issues worse.

For finest outcomes, all the time have a particular aim in thoughts when utilizing compression. Every aim calls for a distinct compression method. Let’s check out a number of frequent makes use of of compression.

1. Controlling dynamics

The commonest use of compression is to even out dynamics in your monitor. The precept is straightforward: use compression to make the loud components of a channel or bus quieter, thereby lowering the dynamic vary general.

Bear in mind that not each instrument in your combine wants compression. Some sounds, resembling distorted electrical guitars, naturally have little or no dynamic vary. However there are numerous situations the place controlling dynamics is important: vocals, for instance, or many acoustic devices.


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