I love compression.

I think it’s is a fabulous tool.

Also, I HATE over-compression. (Too much of a good thing and all.)

That said, compression is one of the most enjoyable tools I use during recording and mixing.

And here are some of my favorite uses:

#1 Bass

I haven’t found a bass track that doesn’t love to be squashed. Compression helps even out the performance and create a big, thumpin’ bass track.

#2 Vocals

It’s hard to hear the lead vocal over a nice full mix, no matter how much you adjust the volume. Compression allows you to bring out the consonants in a vocal, so you can actually understand what he/she is singing.

#3 Electric Guitars

I love using compression to add sustain to my big electric guitar tracks. Big guitars have a lot of sustain to begin with, but compression can help ’em ring out even longer (sounding even more huge than before).

#4 Drums

The sound of kick and snare drum that you hear in modern recordings? It’s hard to get that sound without compression. You can literally change the tone of a snare drum DRAMATICALLY by simply changing the compressor settings. It’s pretty wild.

I also LOVE using compression on the drum bus. This usually allows me to use less compression on the individual tracks.

#5 Reverb

I’ve only started doing this recently, but in a big mix, sometimes it helps to compress the reverb track. It lets you hear the reverb without having to crank it up and wash out the entire mix.

So, those are five of my favorite uses for compression.

Of course, one of the reasons I really enjoy compression is because I understand how to use it.

And it really is a lot of fun.

Wanna learn more? Clicky-click here:


Joe Gilder