Native Instruments – Solid Bus Compressor set to Auto Release. (.1 s = 100ms). Regardless, as engineers it is our job to try new methods and learn their strengths and weaknesses in our workflow. Instead, the a better order would be to instantiate a compressor on the mix bus prior to diving into the mix treatment. Familiarize yourself with the general differences between VCA, Tube, Optical, and FET compressors, and pick a mix bus compressor that aligns with a sonic goal. Consistent growth is the name of this game. I also do this sort of quick ‘n’ dirty mastering when I bounce final mixes for artists to listen to and give approval. He helps musicians and producers turn amateur demos into professionally produced records they can be proud to release. If a kick drum is the loudest element of the mix and you push its corresponding fader up, then the compressor is causing even more gain reduction to the kick along with the whole mix under it. The first thing to ask yourself is what you want out of your mix bus compression? A lot of the time, 1-2dB of gain reduction is all you need. Win the $999 Black Hole BH2 Microphone from JZ Mics This Week! Once the artist is happy with my mixes, I usually give the songs to my studio partner who does the mastering. Using compression before mastering may or may not be a technique that fits your mix style. How much headroom should you leave for mastering? What is Wave’s Best Tape Plugin: J37 Tape vs. Kramer Tape? In his Mix it Like a Record video, GRAMMY-winning mix engineer Charles Dye suggests that you can get away with more compression—up to 3-4 dB in some sections with fairly high ratios, like 3:1 or 4:1—as long as you put your bus compressor on at the beginning of your mix session and then mix into your compressor. If you own the gear or have the studio budget then the best option would still be to mix through the hardware compressor of choice in real time (as we discussed in “The Order”). I’m hoping you can clarify this for me?”. In this article we will, in simple terms, examine some key ideas surrounding mix bus compression before mastering, and we will go over how to start applying it to your projects. Too long of a release time will flatten the mix by keeping the compressor engaged too long and not allowing it to ever reach unity gain. A high tide floats all boats and the ocean is big enough for all of us to explore. At times mixing into a bus compressor can feel like the faders aren’t doing as much work when the louder elements are pushed. After the attack and release is set properly, the gain reduction meter should move in relation to the tempo and/or groove of the music. If I’m mixing a record that’ll be mastered together I’ll take the mastering processors off and let the mastering engineer do their own magic. Simply upload a finished mix: We'll master your song and send back a 1-2 minute sample at no cost. Incorporate it into your mixing arsenal if it works for you. There are two essential numbers that an engineer must memorize to understand relative attack times. However, once that happens I usually take off the quick ‘n’ dirty mastering chain so that there’s more headroom to work with and the songs can be mastered together to sound like a record instead of just a playlist of similarly loud songs. It is an exciting time for those without the means to purchase the analog compressor that was used in their recent favorite record. Again, … A great starting point when setting an attack time on the mix bus is to use a medium attack time. Pay very close attention to the attack and release settings of your mix-bus compressor because they can really make or break a mix. Too fast of an attack will kill low frequency transient content (punch). Go choose a classic compressor (or digital emulation) for the job and have fun learning! Thanks to Soundtoys and Focusrite for sponsoring this episode. We help home studio musicians and project studio producers make a greater musical impact in their lives by teaching them the skills needed to grow their hobbies and careers. Subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts. How to Get Your Master Loud WITHOUT Distortion. Below 8ms are fast attack times. We will discuss more on proper gain reduction below. Imagine a mix engineer has left the studio and is referencing a mix in the car. Don’t overdo it! A world of compressors with unique variations regarding coloration, circuitry, and control parameters (or lack thereof) are available. That way they won’t feel disappointed in my mixes if they play them next to something else they like. Justin Colletti explores! As discussed earlier, most compression parameters are best left untouched on the mix bus after it has been set. Doing so will allow the engineer to mix through the compressor with intent. Too fast of a release time will sound like the music is pumping in a non-musical way. Regardless of your choice, a stereo compressor or dual mono with a stereo link option is required for effective mix bus compression as both L/R sides need to react in an identical matter. It’s nice to get a second set of ears for the mastering so whenever a band hires us to work with them, they get a separate mixing and mastering engineer, as well as a defined engineer and producer. We help home studio musicians and project studio producers make a greater musical impact in their lives by teaching them the skills needed to grow their hobbies and careers. There are two essential numbers that an engineer must memorize to understand general relative release times. So, If you’ve got a mix bus compressor in your mixdown and it’s become an integral part of the sound of your mix, the mastering engineer might ask you to remove it. The digital replication of analog gear keeps getting better and more accurate. This allows for the referencing of several different mix-bus options. Although, you may find that compression makes your  mix sound different and not necessarily better, so be careful. The ears are always the first line of defense, but keep your eyes on the gain reduction meter and pay attention to its overall push and pull. Audio Issues believes in a society where people strive to understand each other better through the power of great sounding music. The loudest elements that cross the threshold may be the vocal, the kick drum, or a guitar track and will probably be a combination of each those elements at different times. After the attack and release is set properly, the gain reduction meter should move in relation to the tempo and/or groove of the music. Those numbers are 8 and 25. Pay very close attention to the attack and release settings of your mix-bus compressor because they can really make or break a mix. One example would be using a multiband compressor to address very specific issues in a mix. Too fast of an attack will kill low frequency transient content (punch). We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. There are many great options when choosing a compressor for the mix bus. The compressors I use on the mix bus are usually pretty tame. If it doesn’t work for you, then learning about it certainly expands your perspective on how compression treats more complex signals. Or have I got the wrong end of the stick? That is, novice engineers will often instantiate a compressor after they achieve a balanced mix with fader positions and inserts. Some engineers even set their attack and release times to musical values. Many would argue that applying compression to the entire mix is a job meant for the experienced mastering engineer. If you own the gear or have the studio budget then the best option would still be to mix through the hardware compressor of choice in real time (as we discussed in “The Order”).

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