It’s a “tale as old as time”…literally.
(But before we move on, take a few seconds to hum a couple lines from the “Beauty and the Beast” song. You know you want to. I’ll wait.)
Okay, that’s better. 🙂
So the age-old tale is this.
We as humans have a tendency to overdo things.
It’s ingrained in us. We like to take a good thing and take it WAY too far, ruining everything.
Example: Adam and Eve.
Life was just peachy in the garden. But apparently paradise wasn’t good enough.
Out of the bajillion plants they had to eat from, only ONE of them was off limits. But they just HAD to go pushing the envelope.
You and I are the same way.
We think things like:
“If compression sounded good on this lead vocal, it’ll probably sound good on every other track in the session!”
“If a few dB of compression sounded good, then 10 dB of compression will sound so much better!”
“I put compression on every track no matter what.”
‘Tis silly, right?
Compression is an amazing tool.
I absolutely love what it can do on a specific track or to a mix.
I love the way if helps add “beef” to a drum bus or clarity to a lead vocal track.
However, if you overwork your compressors — if you start making that gain reduction light bounce like crazy for no reason — that compressor is gonna make you pay for it.
Like a disgruntled employee who keys his bosses car after getting fired, too much compression will take your mix and reduce it to a lifeless, sterile snooze-fest.
Compression is a fickle beast.
Used the wrong way, it gets angry and makes a mess of things.
Used the right way, it becomes your mix’s best friend. (Awww.)
[Insert another “Beauty and the Beast” reference here.]
To learn the right way to wield thy compressor, go here: