Understanding Compression 2.0

Your Guide to Using Compression With Confidence

Hey, I’m Joe Gilder from Home Studio Corner. I invite you to read this page and see if Understanding Compression is right for you.

But first, let me put this out there.

This is a paid course. The price is $47 if you buy before May 20, 2016. That may seem awkward for me to mention that up front, but lately I’ve been on a bit of an honesty kick. I’d rather you read the rest of this page without feeling like I’m trying to pressure you into something. If at the end of this page you think Understanding Compression would be a huge help for you, by all means place the order. I’d love to have you as a customer. But if it’s not a good fit, that’s totally fine. Just make sure you check out all the free stuff over on HomeStudioCorner.com if you haven’t already. One way or the other, I’m committed to helping you make better music.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about…


That’s the name of the game, right?

Lack of confidence is an uncomfortable place to be. I wasn’t a very confident guy in my teens. That’s what made it so odd when I called up this cute blonde girl named Pam one night, and I got straight to the point, “Would you like to have dinner with me Saturday night?”

I didn’t dawdle, I didn’t stutter. I didn’t talk about the weather for ten minutes. I just asked her. And she said yes, and we just celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary. Confidence is cool, indeed.

It’s one thing to summon enough confidence to ask a girl out ONCE. It’s completely different to be confident about something you do regularly. (Thankfully, Pam said yes and I didn’t have to get good at asking girls out regularly.)

Now I’m talking about making music.

Think about your favorite musician. Do you have him/her in your mind? What are some of the things that attract you to him/her? Is it talent and ability? Sure. But I bet confidence would rank high on the list.

We’re attracted to people with confidence. We want our leaders to lead with confidence. We want our band members to be confident that they can play their parts well. We want to be confident in our ability to go out there and perform well.

That’s not the kind of confidence you can muster when you need it. It’s the kind of confidence you have to work for and maintain.

The same is true of recording and mixing music. The more confidence you have, the more songs you write, the more songs you record, the more mixes you attempt, the better you get.

It’s kind of a Catch-22, though, isn’t it? “How can I have confidence without experience?”

That’s the bajillion-dollar question. You’d like to crank out amazing mixes, but you feel like you need to crank out amazing mixes first in order to get hired to crank out amazing mixes. But you’re NOT cranking out amazing mixes, so you feel stuck. Your confidence is shot.

THAT, mi amigo, is why training and practice are so helpful. My goal with Understanding Compression is to teach you about compression, sure. But the bigger goal is to instill more confidence in you, to help you believe that you CAN do this. That you already have what it takes, you just need a little guidance and a little extra practice.

Let’s talk about practice for a second.

“Practice makes perfect,” they say. They talk about the 10,000-Hour Rule. And it’s sorta true. I can’t expect to be a great guitarist if I don’t pick up the guitar and practice. And the formula says to practice 10,000 hours and I’ll be an expert.

But there’s a flaw in that tharr logic.

If all I ever practice is playing an A power chord for 10,000 hours, I suppose I would only be an expert at playing the A power chord. (I could play approximately one-fourth of each of AC/DC’s songs, but that’s it.) But I wouldn’t be a guitar expert, not even close.

Mixing (and especially using compression) can be the same way. Just putting in the hours won’t necessarily help you improve IF you’re not working on the right stuff, or if you’re always taking a random “let’s twist these knobs and see what happens” approach. You may stumble across something cool from time to time (the whole blind squirrel/nut thing), but you won’t make the progress you want to make.

Compression seems to be especially tricky. It’s one thing to understand the concept of what it does and how it works, but with so many knobs it can get overwhelming quickly. First of all, you need to know WHEN to use compression and when NOT to use it. Then you need to know where to set the ratio, threshold, knee, attack, release, and make-up gain knobs.

Contrary to what some people might tell you, a preset won’t get you there, pumpkin. There are too many variables. My brother-in-law Joel is a math teacher (he’s also my trusty bass player). I asked him how many possible settings there are on a compressor, mathematically speaking. Even if we go super conservative on the numbers, assuming there are only 5 ratio settings, 3 attack and release settings (slow, medium, and fast), and two knee settings (slow and hard), that STILL leaves us with 27,000 possible settings for that compressor. If you get more realistic with the numbers, it jumps way above 1 billion possibilities pretty quickly.

I don’t mean to get super nerdy, but my point is simple: the chances of a particular preset that came with your software being the exact setting you need for a track are slim. Slim, slim, slim. Can presets be good starting points? Perhaps, but only if you know how to adjust the various controls to get what you need. Otherwise, you’ll be randomly twisting knobs again.

It stands to reason that the only logical way to get better at using compression (and therefore, to get better at mixing) is to develop a solid understanding of what compression is and how to use it in the real world.

That’s where Understanding Compression 2.0 comes in. (I’ll explain the 2.0 part in a minute. Hold your horses.)

Now…am I saying that after going through this course you’ll be a compression Jedi? Able to control mixes with your mind?? Not exactly. What I CAN promise you is that you will walk away with a deeper understanding of how to use (and how NOT to use) compression. And as you continue to practice, using the simple skills that I’m going to teach you, your confidence (and your mixes) will improve like gangbusters. (Confession: I don’t know what the word “gangbusters” means, but it seemed fitting.)

If you’re still reading, then I assume this sounds interesting to you. So let me quickly give you the skinny on what’s included with Understanding Compression.

What’s With the 2.0??

I released the first version of Understanding Compression back in 2010. It has been one of my most popular courses. Lately, I’ve been itching to update it, because I’ve learned lots of new compression tricks AND I’m much better at teaching this stuff now.

Hence, Understanding Compression 2.0.

Cute, right?

What’s Included?

Understanding Compression includes core videos plus some really cool bonuses, each designed to help you both understand and use compression more effectively.

Video #1 – Intro to Compression

What is compression and what does it do? This video answers that question. It also gives you a framework for how to think about compression when approaching a mix.

Video #2 – Dismantling the Compressor (What do those knobs actually do?)

Do you know when to reach for the ratio knob vs the threshold? Do you know what changing the attack time does to the sound? Do you know the best way to think about the release knob? In this video, we’ll dive into each component of the compressor and discover not only what each of them does (that’s fairly boring, right?), but we’ll also go over what situations call for changes to each parameter.

Video #3 – What Does Compression Sound Like?

In this video I pull up a mix and show you what compression sounds like, what to listen for, and what overdoing compression can sound like. You’ve got to know what compression can do before you decide when and where to use it.

Video #4 – How to Know When to Use Compression (and When NOT To Use It)

This is probably the most important video in the series. I share with you 4 words to sum up my entire mixing approach. If you can master this, you’ll be less likely to overuse compression.

Video #5 – Using Compression – The Process

Here’s where I walk you through my process for setting up compression on a track. While no two setups are the same, we’ll go through how I approach using compression, the things I pay attention to, and which parameters I tend to adjust first. I also share with you my default compressor settings (as my starting point).

Video #6 – Real-World Mixing with Compression

This video was the most fun to make. When I created my Understanding EQ course, I ended it by doing an “EQ-Only Mix.” I did an entire mix using only EQ.

Now, for Understanding Compression I’m going to take that very same EQ-only mix from Understanding EQ and do a compression-only mix.

I’ll start with the EQ’d mix, and I’ll add compression where it’s needed, demonstrating everything I showed you throughout the Understanding Compression material. This is a real-world example of exactly how I approach compression to get great-sounding results.

Bonus #1 – Multi-Tracks to “Told Me So”

After watching me work through the compression-only mix in Video 6, you’ll want to get your hands dirty. That’s why I’m providing the multi-track audio files to the same song “Told Me So,” so you can mix it too! It’s one of my favorite songs from my album Better This Way.

Bonus #2 – Live Compression Q&A Session

A few weeks after launching Understanding Compression 2.0, I will host a live Q&A session to answer YOUR questions from the course. If you can’t make it live, you’ll be able to submit your questions beforehand, and the whole thing will be recorded.

Bonus #3 – Collection of Expert Interviews

I’ve asked a few of my buddies from around the world to do some special interviews with me to talk about different aspects of compression. These will be added to the members area in the future.

Multi-Band Compression Explained with Ian Shepherd (from Production Advice and Home Mastering Masterclass)

What’s the Deal With High-End Compressors? with Ronan Chris Murphy (from Recording Boot Camp and Ronan’s Recording Show)

More to Come? – TBA

Bonus #4 – Understanding Limiters

Limiters are like extreme compressors, but they can be a bit confusing. In this video I’ll explain the ins and outs of how to use them.

Bonus #5 – Understanding Gates & Expanders

Gates and expanders, while not technically compressors, are still valuable tools for certain situations. They behave somewhat like a compressor in reverse. In this video I give you the down-low on how they work.

Bonus #6 – How to Maximize Volume with Compression

Sometimes you want to simply use compression to get a volume boost out of the signal. This is especially true when dealing with spoken word audio. In this bonus video I show you how I use compression to get the most out of podcast and sermon-like audio.

Ready to dive in?

If you think Understanding Compression is right for you, you can get it today for just $47. Plus, I’ve put together some sweet packages for your consideration.

1-YEAR Guarantee

Before you place your order, you should know that I offer a 1-Year Guarantee on all my products. Take your time, work through it, and if you don’t feel like it was worth every penny, if your mixes don’t improve, then you can email me 365 days from now, and I’ll issue a refund. Cool?

Understanding Compression – $47

Get everything listed above for just $47 if you sign up today. The regular price is $147. You’ll save $100 if you sign up before May 20.

To Buy

Compression + EQ Bundle – $97

Understanding EQ is the sister product to Understanding Compression. The two courses go hand in hand together. Remember, I featured an EQ-only mix video in Understanding EQ and continued working on that same mix in Video #6 of Understanding Compression. These two go together like peas and carrots.

Normally they each sell for $147 ($294 total), but you can get them BOTH today for just $97. (You save $197.) Remember, this offer expires on May 20.


Super Duper Deluxe Bundle – $197

I can only sell a limited number of these bundles due to schedule constraints. Here’s the deal. With this bundle, you’ll get everything above (Understanding EQ AND Understanding Compression).

In ADDITION, you’ll get a 30-Minute One-on-One Skype Session with me. We can talk about your specific questions, listen to some of your mixes, whatever you want. We’ll book a time to sit down together and focus on YOU and your music/mixes.

After you place your order, I’ll contact you about setting up some times to connect.

You can get all this for just $197. (That’s a sweet deal, by the way.)

Again, this deal goes away on May 20 (or sooner if my schedule fills up too quickly).


Thanks for reading this whole thing. I really do hope Understanding Compression is right for you. If not, no problem. We can still be friends. 😉

But if you’re thinking about jumping in, I say go for it. You have a full year to get your money back if it’s not worth it, and you could be a few short hours away from having way more confidence in your mixes.

Either way, thank you for taking the time to read this.

Joe Gilder

Home Studio Corner

P.S. There’s something else you need to know. Whenever you buy one of my products, you get lifetime access to it. That means if I release a fancy shmancy Understanding Compression 3.0that includes a virtual reality tour of compression and some magic potion you drink to transform you instantly into a better mixer, you’ll get access to it for free. Seriously, though. Folks who bought Understanding Compression 1.0 way back in 2010 are getting access to all this new material FOR FREE. That’s how we roll around here.