Does everything in a track need compressing?

Cat Gas

Aka Basis
VIP Junglist
Messages
3,118
Likes
21
#1
See, i've always wondered, but never asked, do you compress every track in your tune?
Cause i generally don't, infact I tend to use a compressor on a return to sort of glue several sounds together, or on one track just to get a particular kind of noise.

But is it regular practice to compress everything?
 

Mr Fletch

aka KRONIX
VIP Junglist
Messages
3,974
Likes
237
#2
NOOOOOO! Over compression loses alot of dynamics of a track! The only thing I usually compress is my drum racks to help gel the beats together, and sometimes a bass group to gel the split frequencies back together. Thats it.
 
Messages
149
Likes
1
#4
I mildly compress my bass's and drums nearly always helps glue them together and bring them out abit. Other elements i leave if they sit nicely without compression, why try and fix something if it doesnt need fixxing?
 
Messages
35
Likes
0
#5
Hey MN friend! I used to live in St. Cloud but now im in Canada, but hey anyway!

There is not hard and fast rule about this. the best way to determined what needs to be compressed is to understand what the compressor can do for you (transient processing, dynamics control, sidechaining, etc.) and decide if you want to apply those things to change your sound. Every time you put a compressor on, use the "gain" control on the compressor so that you can equalize the peak level of the input/output. then A/B the compressor (like listen to the sound with the comp on/off) and do a blind test so you can determine if you like the sound better w or w/o compression. If you cant tell the difference, tweak the settings or just leave it off. only leave it on if you know you can hear the difference and you like it better with it on. be sure to listen in the context of the whole mix. :)

One more tip: I used to use all different compressors becuase i could download them free etc, but now imo its better to just pick a good one and pay for it (or use the native one with your DAW and save CPU) and stick with using that one so you learn ALL its functions. then your theoretical knowledge will improve and you will be more effective with a compressor rather than just laying them on blindly. I use to just strap em across everythign and it sounded shit. :(

anyway, most important just use yer ears! tweak the knobs in all directions and try to understand! :)

oh and have fun. and enjoy MN winters becuase they are a blessing. we have shit winters in this place honestly. Rain all the time. snow is much better you are lucky ;)
 

Mr Fletch

aka KRONIX
VIP Junglist
Messages
3,974
Likes
237
#6
So would you compress every element in a drum track?
No mate, I would have my drum rack ( In ableton ) with all my percussive elements like Kicks, snares, shakers, hats etc. then I would throw one compressor on the entire rack, and then turn the threshold down a little with a ratio of about 1:3 (guess?!).
 

Fragmentz

New Member
Messages
22
Likes
0
#7
As said above you should never compress everything, that's a sure fire way to screw your track up.
I only ever compress high end drums and when making either a snare or a kick i use some compression but not inside a tune, it makes it dip too much unless that is the effect your going for. Plus any noises that i have put a delay and reverb on so that it brings out the fx on the channel.
There's also that whole trick of sending all your drums to one channel and compressing the shit out of them then turning the mix down to get that body of the drums filled out, only works on tracks that are quite noisy anyway....
 

ApeCat

Human Dubplate
VIP Junglist
Messages
2,931
Likes
134
#8
I only just got into compressors so I only use them when I really need to, on spiky samples and stuff.

I use CamelCrusher for distortion, it's got a knob called "compressor" but seeing as it's just the one parameter you're manipulating I'm not quite sure what it does apart from make everything sound louder.. I usually hit it up on kicks and snares, in moderation, I find it gives the sounds more punch.
 

parsons19

Active Member
VIP Junglist
Messages
1,053
Likes
14
#9
I don't compress much elements in my tracks. Although I use compression on most individual elements of my drums & percussion! It just gives em more punch imo :)

Then I run a plugin called Flux Bittersweet II on the whole drum buss and lean it towards bitter. It doesn't make a massive difference but I like the sound it gives :)
 

1Dotlone

New Member
Messages
26
Likes
0
#10
Hello equil from no where land! Haha I'm in (crap) southwest MN, but may move to st. cloud, I like that city.

On topic, I just tried compressing drum tracks slightly and it does indeed glue them a bit. Thanks for the tip!
 

Alert

Oblivion Fringe
Messages
388
Likes
33
#12
The more you EQ each element of the track (sculpt out what's not needed with low or high cuts), the less compression you will need, as everything will have its own sonic breathing room.

:cool:
 

Skuff

Well-Known Member
VIP Junglist
Messages
1,040
Likes
72
#14
Not in all cases, but most vocals sound better with a touch of compression too.. But like what others have said, the main thing is the drums and percussion
 

logikz

I Am Not The King
Tribal Leader
VIP Junglist
Messages
11,117
Likes
2,984
#15
i dont know any more. compression, its that thing what makes the soundwave look like a block isnt it. i like it a lot less when its blocky, i like dynamic whats it called.
 

Elzerk

00111100 00110011
VIP Junglist
Messages
1,251
Likes
48
#16
I like it blocky and loud, more equal in sound levels.

Unless you have components that vary in levels and compensate each other, then slap the same compress for those and it sounds mad.
 
Last edited:
Top