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Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Mastering

4. Compression

Like other dynamics processors,
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressors
generally take either a
MonoSingle-channel sound recording or mix, as opposed to multi-channel formats such as stereo and surround sound.
mono
or stereo signal and connect to a conventional mixing
ConsoleA device through which audio signals are routed for mixing, monitoring, processing and re-routed for either recording, amplification or both. A console contains a number of channel strips and a selection of auxiliary, monitoring and main outputs.
console
via an ‘insert’ socket. Doing so breaks the signal path in the channel, sending all of the
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
audio
to the
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressor
for processing, and then returning it back to the same point, before it reaches the EQ and
FaderVariable level control in the form of a slider usually found on audio mixing consoles, allowing attenuation of audio signals, also used on control surfaces for control of a variety of parameters.
fader
. In simple terms, a
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressor
allows you to automatically adjust the
TrimThe initial gain control on a mixer or other audio device such as a mic preamp, often labelled 'gain'. Trim/gain adjustment is crucial to maintaining a clean gain structure and good signal-to-noise ratio.
gain
of your
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
audio
, making the louder sections quieter, and the quieter sections (apparently) louder, thereby evening out the overall level of the
Track1) The act of making a recording as distinct from mixing it. 2) An individual recorded song or other piece of music, as opposed to an album containing many such tracks. 3) The recording of an individual instrument or sound source within a multi-track recording.
track
. A typical model will have a number of controls that allow you to modify how the signal is affected, in particular when and how quickly the
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressor
starts to change the dynamics, by how much, and also how quickly it
DrawbarThe main controls in an electronic organ, derived from the stops on a church pipe organ which determine which pipes are used to create the sound. Drawbars (usually 9, as on a Hammond B3 organ) are 8-step volume faders that allow you to mix together sine wave of different frequencies.
stops
processing.

Focusrite RED 3 Compressor

Threshold

Adjusting the
ThresholdThe parameter in dynamics processing defining the level which an input signal must rise above (or fall below) to activate the circuit. A compressor is activated above the threshold, whereas an expander or gate is activated below the threshold.
threshold
sets the level at which the
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressor
starts to reduce the
TrimThe initial gain control on a mixer or other audio device such as a mic preamp, often labelled 'gain'. Trim/gain adjustment is crucial to maintaining a clean gain structure and good signal-to-noise ratio.
gain
of the
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
audio
being fed to its inputs. In the context of
MasteringThe process of preparing an audio recording for release, often involving expert application of EQ and dynamics processing and, for vinyl releases, cutting the master disc from which all pressings will be made.
mastering
, if you want to reduce only the
PeakThe highest point of an audio waveform, or one of the highest points of an audio waveform.
peaks
of a
Track1) The act of making a recording as distinct from mixing it. 2) An individual recorded song or other piece of music, as opposed to an album containing many such tracks. 3) The recording of an individual instrument or sound source within a multi-track recording.
track
without affecting the rest of the music, then you would set the
ThresholdThe parameter in dynamics processing defining the level which an input signal must rise above (or fall below) to activate the circuit. A compressor is activated above the threshold, whereas an expander or gate is activated below the threshold.
threshold
to slightly above the average level of the music. In this way, only the
PeakThe highest point of an audio waveform, or one of the highest points of an audio waveform.
peaks
are compressed, while the rest is left unaffected.

RMSRoot Mean Square: a way of calculating the average power over time to give a meaningful value representing the power of an audio signal. Generally thought to be the most meaningful way of measuring amplifier power output.
RMS
or Peak

The part of the
Compression1) Process reducing the dynamic range of audio. 2) Process of reducing the size of a data file by removing superfluous data or representing it in more efficient, coded form.
compression
circuitry that ‘listens’ to the incoming
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
audio
is called the ‘sidechain’, and this controls the
Compression1) Process reducing the dynamic range of audio. 2) Process of reducing the size of a data file by removing superfluous data or representing it in more efficient, coded form.
compression
that is applied in conjunction with the settings on the front panel. Typically, the sidechain measures the
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
audio
detected in one of two ways:

  1. ‘RMS’ (Root Mean Square) determines the average signal level, in a similar manner to that experienced by the human ear.

     

  2. ‘Peak’ responds to brief signal
    PeakThe highest point of an audio waveform, or one of the highest points of an audio waveform.
    peaks
    , ensuring that they are more accurately controlled.

Generally,
RMSRoot Mean Square: a way of calculating the average power over time to give a meaningful value representing the power of an audio signal. Generally thought to be the most meaningful way of measuring amplifier power output.
RMS
detection works best when you are using a
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressor
to raise overall apparent level, being more subtle in its
ActionThe feel of an instrument, usually relating to the physical effort required to create and/or strike a note. On keyboards, it refers to the pressure required to press the keys - pianos often have heavier actions than electronic keyboards - while on stringed instruments it refers to the distance between the strings and the fingerboard.
action
, while
PeakThe highest point of an audio waveform, or one of the highest points of an audio waveform.
peak
detection works best for applications where you are using limiting (see below) to prevent signal overloads. Most
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressors
only offer one type of detection, but some have a switch to let you choose which type of response you want.

Ratio

This control determines how much
Compression1) Process reducing the dynamic range of audio. 2) Process of reducing the size of a data file by removing superfluous data or representing it in more efficient, coded form.
compression
is applied once the
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
audio
exceeds the
ThresholdThe parameter in dynamics processing defining the level which an input signal must rise above (or fall below) to activate the circuit. A compressor is activated above the threshold, whereas an expander or gate is activated below the threshold.
threshold
. The ratio knob is usually marked with values such as 4:1, 3:1, 2:1 etc, the typical range being from 1:1 (no
Compression1) Process reducing the dynamic range of audio. 2) Process of reducing the size of a data file by removing superfluous data or representing it in more efficient, coded form.
compression
at all) to infinity:1 (denoted as an ‘8’ on its side), which means that the output level is never allowed to rise above the
ThresholdThe parameter in dynamics processing defining the level which an input signal must rise above (or fall below) to activate the circuit. A compressor is activated above the threshold, whereas an expander or gate is activated below the threshold.
threshold
setting - this is also known as limiting. An intermediate ratio such as 3:1 will cause the output signal to rise by only 1dB for every 3dB the input signal exceeds the
ThresholdThe parameter in dynamics processing defining the level which an input signal must rise above (or fall below) to activate the circuit. A compressor is activated above the threshold, whereas an expander or gate is activated below the threshold.
threshold
.

AttackThe beginning of a sound. Attack defines the time taken for the sound volume to go from silence to maximum level; a critical consideration when applying processing such as compression, gating, etc.
Attack
Time

The
AttackThe beginning of a sound. Attack defines the time taken for the sound volume to go from silence to maximum level; a critical consideration when applying processing such as compression, gating, etc.
attack
time controls how long the
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressor
takes to pull the
TrimThe initial gain control on a mixer or other audio device such as a mic preamp, often labelled 'gain'. Trim/gain adjustment is crucial to maintaining a clean gain structure and good signal-to-noise ratio.
gain
down once the input signal has exceeded the
ThresholdThe parameter in dynamics processing defining the level which an input signal must rise above (or fall below) to activate the circuit. A compressor is activated above the threshold, whereas an expander or gate is activated below the threshold.
threshold
level.
AttackThe beginning of a sound. Attack defines the time taken for the sound volume to go from silence to maximum level; a critical consideration when applying processing such as compression, gating, etc.
Attack
values are usually shown in milliseconds ranging from around 0.1ms to 200ms. Fast
AttackThe beginning of a sound. Attack defines the time taken for the sound volume to go from silence to maximum level; a critical consideration when applying processing such as compression, gating, etc.
attack
settings control the signal almost immediately, whereas slower
AttackThe beginning of a sound. Attack defines the time taken for the sound volume to go from silence to maximum level; a critical consideration when applying processing such as compression, gating, etc.
attack
times allow the start of a
TransientA non-repeating part of a waveform, usually at the very beginning of a note or sound, which is usually of a higher amplitude than the rest of the sound and plays an important part in determining the overall subjective quality of the sound.
transient
or percussive sound to pass through unchanged before the
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressor
starts acting. Allowing a deliberate
OvershootIn electronics, overshoot describes the condition when a signal goes beyond its maximum permitted value or headroom, which may result in distortion or unwanted artefacts being introduced into the signal path.
overshoot
by setting an
AttackThe beginning of a sound. Attack defines the time taken for the sound volume to go from silence to maximum level; a critical consideration when applying processing such as compression, gating, etc.
attack
time of several milliseconds is a much used way of enhancing the percussive characteristics of
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
audio
, making the
AttackThe beginning of a sound. Attack defines the time taken for the sound volume to go from silence to maximum level; a critical consideration when applying processing such as compression, gating, etc.
attack
stand out and giving it much more ‘punch’. For most musical uses, an initial
AttackThe beginning of a sound. Attack defines the time taken for the sound volume to go from silence to maximum level; a critical consideration when applying processing such as compression, gating, etc.
attack
setting of between 1 and 20ms is typical. However, when treating less percussive sounds, vocals in particular, a fast
AttackThe beginning of a sound. Attack defines the time taken for the sound volume to go from silence to maximum level; a critical consideration when applying processing such as compression, gating, etc.
attack
time generally gives the best results, because it brings the level under control very quickly, producing a more natural sound.

Soft/Hard Knee

This term applies to what happens when the input signal approaches the
ThresholdThe parameter in dynamics processing defining the level which an input signal must rise above (or fall below) to activate the circuit. A compressor is activated above the threshold, whereas an expander or gate is activated below the threshold.
threshold
. A hard
KneeThe point on the graph of a compressor's output plotted against input that represents the compression threshold. In a soft knee compressor, the compression ratio increases gradually from this point, producing a curved graph, whereas hard knee compressors implement the full selected compression ratio as soon as the signal crosses the threshold. Some compressors have a variable knee control for precise control of the response.
knee
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressor
does nothing to the signal until it crosses the
ThresholdThe parameter in dynamics processing defining the level which an input signal must rise above (or fall below) to activate the circuit. A compressor is activated above the threshold, whereas an expander or gate is activated below the threshold.
threshold
, at which point
Compression1) Process reducing the dynamic range of audio. 2) Process of reducing the size of a data file by removing superfluous data or representing it in more efficient, coded form.
compression
is applied according to the
AttackThe beginning of a sound. Attack defines the time taken for the sound volume to go from silence to maximum level; a critical consideration when applying processing such as compression, gating, etc.
attack
time and other settings. Soft
KneeThe point on the graph of a compressor's output plotted against input that represents the compression threshold. In a soft knee compressor, the compression ratio increases gradually from this point, producing a curved graph, whereas hard knee compressors implement the full selected compression ratio as soon as the signal crosses the threshold. Some compressors have a variable knee control for precise control of the response.
knee
models give a gentler transition by starting to apply
Compression1) Process reducing the dynamic range of audio. 2) Process of reducing the size of a data file by removing superfluous data or representing it in more efficient, coded form.
compression
as the signal approaches the
ThresholdThe parameter in dynamics processing defining the level which an input signal must rise above (or fall below) to activate the circuit. A compressor is activated above the threshold, whereas an expander or gate is activated below the threshold.
threshold
, gradually raising the ratio to reach its full set value once the
ThresholdThe parameter in dynamics processing defining the level which an input signal must rise above (or fall below) to activate the circuit. A compressor is activated above the threshold, whereas an expander or gate is activated below the threshold.
threshold
is crossed. The
AttackThe beginning of a sound. Attack defines the time taken for the sound volume to go from silence to maximum level; a critical consideration when applying processing such as compression, gating, etc.
attack
of a hard
KneeThe point on the graph of a compressor's output plotted against input that represents the compression threshold. In a soft knee compressor, the compression ratio increases gradually from this point, producing a curved graph, whereas hard knee compressors implement the full selected compression ratio as soon as the signal crosses the threshold. Some compressors have a variable knee control for precise control of the response.
knee
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressor
is less subtle, but can be useful creatively, and in
PeakThe highest point of an audio waveform, or one of the highest points of an audio waveform.
peak
limiting. As with RMS/peak detection, most
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressors
only offer one type, but some models have a switch to choose between the two.

ReleaseThe final stage of an envelope, that in synthesizers determines how long a sound will continue to play after the key has been released. In a compressor, release is the parameter that defines how long compression will continue once the input signal has fallen back below the threshold level.
Release
Time

The
ReleaseThe final stage of an envelope, that in synthesizers determines how long a sound will continue to play after the key has been released. In a compressor, release is the parameter that defines how long compression will continue once the input signal has fallen back below the threshold level.
release
control sets how long it takes for the side chain to start measuring the input signal again once the
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressor
has kicked into
ActionThe feel of an instrument, usually relating to the physical effort required to create and/or strike a note. On keyboards, it refers to the pressure required to press the keys - pianos often have heavier actions than electronic keyboards - while on stringed instruments it refers to the distance between the strings and the fingerboard.
action
(or how long it waits before telling the
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressor
what to do again). If the
ReleaseThe final stage of an envelope, that in synthesizers determines how long a sound will continue to play after the key has been released. In a compressor, release is the parameter that defines how long compression will continue once the input signal has fallen back below the threshold level.
release
time is too fast, the signal level may ‘pump’ - in other words, you are very aware of the level of the signal going rhythmically up and down (although this is sometimes desirable as an effect). If the
ReleaseThe final stage of an envelope, that in synthesizers determines how long a sound will continue to play after the key has been released. In a compressor, release is the parameter that defines how long compression will continue once the input signal has fallen back below the threshold level.
release
time is too long, a greater
PeakThe highest point of an audio waveform, or one of the highest points of an audio waveform.
peak
than the one on which the
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressor
is currently acting may go unprocessed, or
Compression1) Process reducing the dynamic range of audio. 2) Process of reducing the size of a data file by removing superfluous data or representing it in more efficient, coded form.
compression
may continue for too long when the signal has fallen back below the
ThresholdThe parameter in dynamics processing defining the level which an input signal must rise above (or fall below) to activate the circuit. A compressor is activated above the threshold, whereas an expander or gate is activated below the threshold.
threshold
. A good starting point for
ReleaseThe final stage of an envelope, that in synthesizers determines how long a sound will continue to play after the key has been released. In a compressor, release is the parameter that defines how long compression will continue once the input signal has fallen back below the threshold level.
release
time is between 0.2 and 0.6 seconds.

Auto Mode

This disables the
AttackThe beginning of a sound. Attack defines the time taken for the sound volume to go from silence to maximum level; a critical consideration when applying processing such as compression, gating, etc.
attack
and
ReleaseThe final stage of an envelope, that in synthesizers determines how long a sound will continue to play after the key has been released. In a compressor, release is the parameter that defines how long compression will continue once the input signal has fallen back below the threshold level.
release
controls and instead automatically adjusts these settings depending on the characteristics of the incoming signal. This is especially useful when processing stereo mixed tracks, where the material and its dynamics may be too complex for fixed manual settings.

TrimThe initial gain control on a mixer or other audio device such as a mic preamp, often labelled 'gain'. Trim/gain adjustment is crucial to maintaining a clean gain structure and good signal-to-noise ratio.
Gain
Reduction Metering

CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
Compressors
usually have either a series of
LEDLight Emitting Diode: an electronic component that emits a narrow spectrum of light (single colour) when an electric current flows through it, used for many display/indicator applications including instrument panels, power indicator lights, audio meters and flat panel displays. Like all diodes, LEDs allow current to pass in one direction only.
LEDs
or a VU
MeterAn electrical or electronic device for measuring the properties of electrical signals, such as voltage and current. In audio, level meters measure audio signals against an appropriate reference.
meter
to indicate how much
TrimThe initial gain control on a mixer or other audio device such as a mic preamp, often labelled 'gain'. Trim/gain adjustment is crucial to maintaining a clean gain structure and good signal-to-noise ratio.
gain
reduction is being applied at any given time. To show this, the metering moves ‘backwards’ - more
LEDLight Emitting Diode: an electronic component that emits a narrow spectrum of light (single colour) when an electric current flows through it, used for many display/indicator applications including instrument panels, power indicator lights, audio meters and flat panel displays. Like all diodes, LEDs allow current to pass in one direction only.
LEDs
light up or the VU
MeterAn electrical or electronic device for measuring the properties of electrical signals, such as voltage and current. In audio, level meters measure audio signals against an appropriate reference.
meter
needle moves from right to left to show how far the unit has turned your
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
audio
down.

Makeup Gain

Because the
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressor
reduces the levels of the
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
audio
exceeding the
ThresholdThe parameter in dynamics processing defining the level which an input signal must rise above (or fall below) to activate the circuit. A compressor is activated above the threshold, whereas an expander or gate is activated below the threshold.
threshold
, the
PeakThe highest point of an audio waveform, or one of the highest points of an audio waveform.
peak
output level will often be lower than the input level. Most
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressors
provide an ‘Output’ or ‘Make-Up’
TrimThe initial gain control on a mixer or other audio device such as a mic preamp, often labelled 'gain'. Trim/gain adjustment is crucial to maintaining a clean gain structure and good signal-to-noise ratio.
gain
control to allow you to match the overall apparent level of the compressed signal with the original uncompressed input signal. This of course increases the level of any
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
audio
below the
ThresholdThe parameter in dynamics processing defining the level which an input signal must rise above (or fall below) to activate the circuit. A compressor is activated above the threshold, whereas an expander or gate is activated below the threshold.
threshold
, which is why quieter signals can seem much louder once the signal has been compressed, and gives rise to the popular misconception that
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressors
make quiet sections of
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
audio
louder as well as making the loud sections quieter. As a result, a vocal (for instance) will stand out more in relation to the rest of a
Track1) The act of making a recording as distinct from mixing it. 2) An individual recorded song or other piece of music, as opposed to an album containing many such tracks. 3) The recording of an individual instrument or sound source within a multi-track recording.
track
. This phenomenon is often used to advantage on music played on the radio and television, where the competitive advantage of having your
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
audio
stand out by being louder than other’s is obvious (see ‘The Loudness Wars’). Increased loudness is also an important factor at the recording stage - when recording to analogue tape,
Compression1) Process reducing the dynamic range of audio. 2) Process of reducing the size of a data file by removing superfluous data or representing it in more efficient, coded form.
compression
can help to raise the level of the signal being recorded to an optimum level above the
DistortionIn most cases distortion is an undesirable alteration to a signal which occurs when a piece of equipment is driven with a input level that is too high for its operating level. Sometimes, as in the case of guitar distortion, this can be an intentional and desirable effect.
noise
floor of background tape hiss, and when recording to a
DigitalAll digital equipment, formats and systems represent audio in numerical code or form. Digital information is a precise way of expressing any of information that can be quantified in some way.
digital
medium,
Compression1) Process reducing the dynamic range of audio. 2) Process of reducing the size of a data file by removing superfluous data or representing it in more efficient, coded form.
compression
can ensure that the signal is encoded at the highest possible level where more bits are used, so that better signal definition is achieved.

Stereo Link

When processing stereo signals, it is important that both channels are treated exactly equally - the stereo image will ‘wander’ if one channel receives more
Compression1) Process reducing the dynamic range of audio. 2) Process of reducing the size of a data file by removing superfluous data or representing it in more efficient, coded form.
compression
than the other, or is compressed at a different time. The stereo
Daisy ChainThe patching of the output of one piece of equipment to the input of another, which can be repeated indefinitely in theory. Common practice with guitar effects pedals, and with MIDI equipment where the Thru of one device is connected to the In of the next and so on.
link
switch of a dual channel
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressor
simply forces both channels to work together, based either on an average of the two input signals, or whichever has the highest level at any one time. When the two channels are switched to stereo, one set of controls usually becomes the
Master1) The final version of an audio recording or album that has been prepared for release. 2) The physical medium on which this recording is stored or transferred, such as a glass master CD, CDR or vinyl master from which a production run will be replicated or pressed.
master
for both channels – though some manufacturers opt for averaging the channels’ control settings, or for reacting to whichever channel’s controls are set to the highest value.

MasteringThe process of preparing an audio recording for release, often involving expert application of EQ and dynamics processing and, for vinyl releases, cutting the master disc from which all pressings will be made.
Mastering
with a Compressor

Although you might use
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressors
most frequently on individual instruments such as
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
guitar or vocals to even out the dynamics and make them sit better with other tracks, applying
Compression1) Process reducing the dynamic range of audio. 2) Process of reducing the size of a data file by removing superfluous data or representing it in more efficient, coded form.
compression
to an overall mix is a rather different matter. Here you must consider that all of the individual parts have come together with their own dynamic differences - extreme
Compression1) Process reducing the dynamic range of audio. 2) Process of reducing the size of a data file by removing superfluous data or representing it in more efficient, coded form.
compression
settings might work well to control some tracks, but the knock-on effect on the rest of the mix is unlikely to be good. A general rule is to start by applying a low ratio with medium
AttackThe beginning of a sound. Attack defines the time taken for the sound volume to go from silence to maximum level; a critical consideration when applying processing such as compression, gating, etc.
attack
and
ReleaseThe final stage of an envelope, that in synthesizers determines how long a sound will continue to play after the key has been released. In a compressor, release is the parameter that defines how long compression will continue once the input signal has fallen back below the threshold level.
release
settings, and then setting the
ThresholdThe parameter in dynamics processing defining the level which an input signal must rise above (or fall below) to activate the circuit. A compressor is activated above the threshold, whereas an expander or gate is activated below the threshold.
threshold
and makeup
TrimThe initial gain control on a mixer or other audio device such as a mic preamp, often labelled 'gain'. Trim/gain adjustment is crucial to maintaining a clean gain structure and good signal-to-noise ratio.
gain
so that the compressed signal has a similar perceived loudness to the original, allowing you to make more objective judgements when comparing or ‘A/Bing’ the two. When completing an album, a mix engineer will often leave this process to the
MasteringThe process of preparing an audio recording for release, often involving expert application of EQ and dynamics processing and, for vinyl releases, cutting the master disc from which all pressings will be made.
mastering
suite, as applying overall
Compression1) Process reducing the dynamic range of audio. 2) Process of reducing the size of a data file by removing superfluous data or representing it in more efficient, coded form.
compression
will affect each track’s individual level, and therefore the artistic decisions relating to song order,
Track1) The act of making a recording as distinct from mixing it. 2) An individual recorded song or other piece of music, as opposed to an album containing many such tracks. 3) The recording of an individual instrument or sound source within a multi-track recording.
track
to
Track1) The act of making a recording as distinct from mixing it. 2) An individual recorded song or other piece of music, as opposed to an album containing many such tracks. 3) The recording of an individual instrument or sound source within a multi-track recording.
track
contrast and the overall album concept.

Multiband Compressors

The
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressor
that we’ve considered so far is termed a ‘full range’ or ‘broadband’ dynamics processor as it operates over the entire audible frequency range - it responds to the incoming signal regardless of where in the frequency spectrum
PeakThe highest point of an audio waveform, or one of the highest points of an audio waveform.
peaks
may be occurring. Multiband devices make it possible to control separately the dynamics of individually defined frequency areas by splitting the
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
audio
up into independent bands. The end result is that separate frequency areas of a mixed
Track1) The act of making a recording as distinct from mixing it. 2) An individual recorded song or other piece of music, as opposed to an album containing many such tracks. 3) The recording of an individual instrument or sound source within a multi-track recording.
track
, the bottom end for example, can be compressed more heavily than if a single,
BroadbandA form of telecommunication in which a wide band of frequencies is available to transmit information. The term has become synonymous with the fast internet connection speeds of ADSL.
broadband
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressor
was used.

In a multiband
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressor
, a
CrossoverA device that splits an audio signal into two or more frequency bands for more efficient amplification.
crossover
splits the
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
audio
into different frequency bands, then separate
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressors
process these individually before they are summed back together to provide a full range signal. Because these bands contain different amounts of energy, they can be compressed using substantially different settings. A clear advantage of this system is that a loud, low-frequency sound will only
TriggerAny event or signal which triggers another event, or the device by which this takes place. Drum 'triggers' are microphones attached to a drum kit; their output is not processed directly but rather used to trigger synthesised/sampled drum sounds.
trigger
TrimThe initial gain control on a mixer or other audio device such as a mic preamp, often labelled 'gain'. Trim/gain adjustment is crucial to maintaining a clean gain structure and good signal-to-noise ratio.
gain
reduction in the low-frequency
Compression1) Process reducing the dynamic range of audio. 2) Process of reducing the size of a data file by removing superfluous data or representing it in more efficient, coded form.
compression
band, leaving any mid-range and high-frequency sounds occurring simultaneously unaffected. In contrast, a conventional full band
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressor
acting on a loud kick drum for instance, will pull down the level of any simultaneous hi-hat and snare beats.

Relatively inexpensive dedicated
MasteringThe process of preparing an audio recording for release, often involving expert application of EQ and dynamics processing and, for vinyl releases, cutting the master disc from which all pressings will be made.
mastering
products such as the TC Finalizer are now available which not only give incredibly accurate control over a stereo mix’s dynamics, but also offer a range of instant
PresetA program or patch forming part of a synthesizer of other device's factory-shipped state. Presets usually can't be overwritten, but they may usually be edited and the result stored to a user program.
presets
that can be used as starting points for specific types of material such as ‘Classical’, ‘Commercial’ and ‘Pop’, as well as a built-in ‘assistant’ to help you find the best settings for the job in hand. The
DigitalAll digital equipment, formats and systems represent audio in numerical code or form. Digital information is a precise way of expressing any of information that can be quantified in some way.
digital
technology employed means that a whole range of tools aimed at the
MasteringThe process of preparing an audio recording for release, often involving expert application of EQ and dynamics processing and, for vinyl releases, cutting the master disc from which all pressings will be made.
mastering
process can now be provided by a single device - EQ, limiting,
Compression1) Process reducing the dynamic range of audio. 2) Process of reducing the size of a data file by removing superfluous data or representing it in more efficient, coded form.
compression
(usually both
BroadbandA form of telecommunication in which a wide band of frequencies is available to transmit information. The term has become synonymous with the fast internet connection speeds of ADSL.
broadband
and multiband), gating, and stereo width and balance adjustment. These products have allowed smaller studios and home-based musicians to add ‘polish’ to their recordings without the expense of using a professional
MasteringThe process of preparing an audio recording for release, often involving expert application of EQ and dynamics processing and, for vinyl releases, cutting the master disc from which all pressings will be made.
mastering
house.

TC Electronic Finalizer

An additional and unique
DigitalAll digital equipment, formats and systems represent audio in numerical code or form. Digital information is a precise way of expressing any of information that can be quantified in some way.
digital
feature is the facility known as 'look ahead', where the processor is able to detect the incoming signal a fraction before it arrives at the
TrimThe initial gain control on a mixer or other audio device such as a mic preamp, often labelled 'gain'. Trim/gain adjustment is crucial to maintaining a clean gain structure and good signal-to-noise ratio.
gain
control section of the
CompressorA device which reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
compressor
, by ‘buffering’ the
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
audio
- this allows oncoming
PeakThe highest point of an audio waveform, or one of the highest points of an audio waveform.
peaks
to be dealt with faster and more intelligently. One note of caution – although it’s very satisfying to hear your music mastered at home, if you think there is any chance of it being released professionally, always keep an ‘unmastered’
BackupTo make a copy of data and store for safe keeping, implying that a copy is held in case the original is lost or damaged. Two instances of the data must exist (the original and the copy) for it be called a backup.
copy
of the mix, so that a professional
MasteringThe process of preparing an audio recording for release, often involving expert application of EQ and dynamics processing and, for vinyl releases, cutting the master disc from which all pressings will be made.
mastering
engineer has some dynamics left to work with!

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