Popular Compression Mistakes

I’m in this audio business long enough so that I could say that there are a lots of mixing mistakes behind me, and I’ve also seen a lots of people making the same mistakes as I did. So I would like to help you prevent the same mistakes we did. It will make your life easier. Compression can definately make your song to sound amazing, but also it can completely ruin it.

So let’s start!

Popular mistake no.1 is that people put too fast attack time. I’ve already wrote about that, but quick reminder anyway… Attack knob determines how much time does the compressor need to start working after the signal hits the treshold of the compressor.

So when you hear that compressor on your channel is making everything worse, try to slow the attack time, because if it is very fast, then compressor is just killing the dynamic of the signal. It reduces every transient, and things just become squashed. Your compressor want let any part of the signal to just go by, not being compressed.

I don’t say that it’s wrong to use fast attack time while mixing. I just want you to be careful, and to get this into your mind while mixing, and maybe if you notice that something is wrong, just try to slow up the attack time.

Mistake no.2 is related to the mistake no.1. at some point. Second mistake that people also do a lot, is setting the treshold to low. The trehsold is the line which determines that every signal that is going above that line is going to be reduced.

So it’s in our power to determine how much are we going to compress, depending on how low are we going to put the treshold. And while you’re raising up the treshold, focus on the gain reduction meter to check out how much of a signal are you reducting.

So this are two popular compression mistakes. Watch out, and try to avoid them. Now you’re aware of them. In the part 2 I’ll write about a couple of more compression mistakes, so check it out!

If you liked the article and find it helpful, please share it with your friends, because if it help you, then probably it could help to somebody else.


Thanks for being part of sound investigation!
Mihael Vrbanic

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