Compression & make up gain

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#1
I was wondering should i be setting the make up gain of my compressed audio to match what the gain reduction meter is saying? or should i be setting it to match the level of the audio before being compressed as indicated by the channel's meter?

obviously setting the makeup gain correctly is an important part of compression soo.. any help??
 

SafeandSound

Mastering Engineer
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#3
This is the article for you : )

http://resoundsound.com/effective-techniques-to-learn-compression/

Compression drops the volume of the track being compressed, make up brings the level up post compression. What is important
is the compressors action, learning to hear this means the make up gain is vital so you can A/B the before and after compression sound.
Make up gain makes it possible to hear the action of the compressor as opposed to the obvious level drop.

cheers
 
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#4
cheers for the responses but im already familiar with these articles however reading the second one again it suggested that i use make up gain to match the level of the signal pre compression to be able to hear the difference (i get this - louder is not better), the problem with this is that if i have the attack around 30-40 ms then the transient getting through will mean the channel's already peaking very close to the original pre compression level even if i have a decent amount of gain reduction happening (3-4db) ...... which leads me back to my original question should i be using the make up gain to match the level of the pre compressed signal even though it would be much smaller than the ammount the gain reduction meter is telling me? alternatively should i be matching the make up gain to the gain reduction meter which makes the compressed signal much louder than the uncompressed signal?

i have a feeling im either asking a really stupid question or im doing something very wrong :oops:
 
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#6
I'm not entirely sure what your question is, perhaps your over complicating it. Turn your compressor off on a channel and use your ears, if it sounds louder then you have too much make up gain, switch on and off (A/B) until you get to a point where the audible volume sounds the same. In terms of a digital guide the channel meter is going to be better than trying to set make up gain to the gain reduction meter in your compressor, but still your ears should be fine....they're the best meter you got ! :)

Your second post confuses me more, if you are setting a longer attack then yes, it will let the initial transients through and not do anything to them. Not sure what you're aiming at there? (perhaps you need a shorter attack time on the compressor or perhaps a different tool altogether like a transient shaper?)
 
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#7
It depends on whether you're trying to make your compressed channel louder, or whether you just want to remove the "punch" or dynamics from the channel. In most cases, compression is used to raise the volume of the otherwise quieter parts of a channel, in which case the gain is reduced on the loudest parts of the track while the overall volume is increased. If description fits what you are trying to do with a compressor, use the "auto-gain" option on your compressor, or if it doesn't have one adjust the gain so that the compressed meter reading matches the uncompressed "dry" reading when the compressor is disabled.
 
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