I gotta admit, I’m a huge fan of the TV show “The Office.” (More specifically, the first five or six seasons…not such much the latest stuff.)
If you’re not familiar with the show, it essentially centers around an idiot boss named Michael Scott, who is constantly making bad decisions.
In one episode in particular, it’s “Pretzel Day” at the office. This guy shows up once a year with a pretzel cart and gives out free hot pretzels to everyone in the office.
Michael waits in line all morning for his pretzel, and when he finally makes his way to the front of the line, he has to decide what toppings he wants.
The pretzel guy rattles off at least fifteen different options.
Michael shyly replies, “Is there any way I can get…all of them?”
The guy proceeds to give Michael “the works” — more sugar than any human should ingest in one sitting. Needless to say, a sugar rush is soon to follow…and more hilarity.
But what can a bumbling boss on a sugar high teach us about recording?
We all have a tendency, like Michael, to overdo things. We eat too much sugar. We watch too much TV. (Oops, busted.)
When it comes to recording, it’s easy to take a good song and add so much garbage on top that it becomes a big mess.
This is especially easy to do with compression.
Compression is like sugar.
You get a little taste of it, and you fall in love. “This makes everything sound better!!”
So you compress more and more — track after track — until you realize that suddenly your mixes aren’t sounding good anymore. They sound dull and lifeless.
Is more compression the answer?
You need to back it down. Show some moderation. Take a simpler approach.
I’m a firm believer that “less is more.”
And it seems to have paid off for me and my mixes.
Home Studio Corner
P.S. Have you heard about Dynamic Range Day? Okay. Stop what you’re doing and check it out here:
My buddy Ian Shepherd puts this on every year, and it’s awesome.
You can learn all about WHY dynamic range is important in your mixes (and why too much compression is a bad thing), plus there’s a huge giveaway. Prizes include free copies of two of my videos: Understanding EQ — www.UnderstandingEQ.com — and Understanding Compression — www.UnderstandingCompression.com.