Should I compress recorded mixes?
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  1. #1
    Tech Mentor JAC's Avatar
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    Default Should I compress recorded mixes?

    Was having an argument with a friend of mine the other night, he says that whenever he finishes a mix he wants to give to people, he opens it up in audacity and applies compression. According to him, this flattens out the mix and helps keep the volume consistent the whole way through, making it easier to listen to. But to my eyes, this is simply just adding more compression to the existing tracks. I reckon the tracks sound harsh and distorted whenever I do it with a mix.

    He remains adamant, so I thought I'd ask you lot what you think seeing as there are many audio heads out there! To compress or not compress?!

  2. #2
    Retired DJTT Moderator DvlsAdvct's Avatar
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    I add a little compression to iron out where my levels get a little weird. Honestly, the best bet is to listen to it before you give it out and see where you want the levels to be Sometimes it might be necessary, sometimes notsomuch
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  3. #3
    DJTT Moderator Dude Jester's Avatar
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    Mixes recorded in traktor are uncompressed wavs anyway, so when they get turned back into mp3's they are getting recompressed again. I always throw my mixes into soundforge to check if there is any clipping and do a little NR. No shame in that
    Last edited by Jester; 06-08-2009 at 08:52 PM.
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  4. #4
    DJTT Dominator JesC's Avatar
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    i run my mixes thru Sound Forge Wave Hammer to compress the track and the loudest it can go upto is -0.5. I do mild compression to avoid the track sounding distorded
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  5. #5
    DJTT Moderator Dude Jester's Avatar
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    Loooks like you are outnumbered jac
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  6. #6
    DJTT Dominator JesC's Avatar
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    Jac, do a side by side of your mixes. Do a raw mix and burn it to a cd & then do a compressed cd and listen to them while your driving. Listen to the raw cd on your way to work & the compressed one on the way back and you be the judge buddy.
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  7. #7
    Dr. Bento BentoSan's Avatar
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    For starters i think theres a but of confusion going on in this thread as so what compression here that everyone is talking about, there are two different types of compression.

    - Dynamic room compression - this is using a audio compressor to squash the volume level of the track making the quieter parts louder.

    - Storage compression - to make the file fit on a hard driver more easily, like mp3 compression

    I beleive he is refering to the first type of compression and not mp3 file compression.

    Theres no need to do compression if your mix was any good in the first place. The tunes that are being played have already been highly highly compressed in the first place. Basicly a mastering engineer will sit there and compress it as much as he can without without getting any percieved loss of quality on really expensive gear. If you come back with your cheap digital compressor and compress the signal more it is VERY easy to be able squash the track even more and start adding in all sorts of audio artifacts.

    Unless you know seriously what you are doing with the tools you are using then leave them alone Its ok to use compression on a mix but you have to be sooo careful not to destroy a perfectly fine mix.

  8. #8
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    If I recorded a mix live from the club, I would more than likely add compression to it after wards as I'm sure I was all over the place volume wise, but when I'm doing a mix at home and I always keep an eye on my levels so I probably wouldn't end up doing it then

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JesC View Post
    i run my mixes thru Sound Forge Wave Hammer to compress the track and the loudest it can go upto is -0.5. I do mild compression to avoid the track sounding distorded
    +1

  10. #10
    Dr. Bento BentoSan's Avatar
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    Also a tip for getting things louder without compression is to find the highest part of your song, then raise the gain until this peak is sitting just below the digital cieling. If that isnt loud enough then only then should you start looking at compression, or maybe even just redoing your mix if it was bad in the first place.

    A mix put together with the right levels in the first place is going to sound much better than a mix with levels all over the place thats gone though a compressor.

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