Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mastering Compressor Tips And Tricks

Time for another book excerpt, this time from Mixing And Mastering With T-RackS: The Official Guide. Here are a few mastering compressor tips that I don't think you'll find anywhere else.

Now for the record, I strongly advocate that you always send you final mixes to a qualified mastering engineer since that's where you'll get the best job done. That said, there are those times when you just don't have the budget or ability to do that, so you have to do the mastering yourself. That's what the Mixing And Mastering With T-RackS book and the Audio Mastering Handbook's are all about; doing it yourself when you have no choice. So lets take a look at a few insights that will help you do a better job.
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Adjusting the Attack and Release controls on the compressor and/or limiter can have a surprising effect on the program sound.
  • Slower Release settings will usually make the gain changes less audible but will also lower the perceived volume. 
  • A slow Attack setting will tend to ignore drums and other fast signals but will still react to the vocals and bass.
  • A slow Attack setting might also allow a transient to overload the next plug-in or piece of equipment in the chain.
  • Gain changes on the compressor caused by the drum hits can pull down the level of the vocals and bass and cause overall volume changes in the program. 
  • Usually only the fastest Attack and Release settings can make the sound “pump.” 
  • The more bouncy the level meter, the more likely that the compression will be audible.
  • Quiet passages that are too loud and noisy are usually a giveaway that you are seriously over-compressing.
If you're interested in more mastering info, here's a post on the 4 rules for EQing when mastering, the mystery of mastering, and a video on how to do your own mastering.
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1 comment:

Compressed Air said...

Thanks for the post, great tips and information...

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