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How Safe Is Your Mix from Being a Loudness War Casualty?

We’ve been talking about the Loudness Wars all week, and for good reason.

Today is Dynamic Range Day, the day we celebrate mixes that actually sound good.

If I haven’t beaten the idea into the ground yet, here’s a video demonstration of what happens with too much compression.

Are Your Mixes a Casualty?

Here are a few things you can do to double-check that your mixes have enough dynamic range.

  • Use Good Reference Tracks – Base your mixes off tracks that have lots of dynamic range. If you’re checking your mixes against an over-compressed commercial track, chances are your mix will suffer for it. If you’re unsure how to use reference tracks, check out How to Use a Reference Track to Improve Your Mixing.
  • Use Good Metering Plug-ins – I use the stock meters in Logic for most of my measurements. They’re probably not accurate enough. Use great metering plug-ins that tell you exactly how much dynamic
  • Leave the Master Bus Alone – Especially if you’re handing your project over to a mastering engineer. The mastering engineer can’t fix a mix that already has too much compression. If you’re bouncing a stereo track, leave the compressor off.
  • Leave the Compressor Alone – On a recent track I hardly used a compressor on the vocals. The only compression was a peak limiter that controlled the peaks. Instead of compressing I used automation to fit it into the track. Certain phrases were quieter than others and I used volume automation to make it work. Sometimes there’s no need for compression.
  • Breathe – Take a deep breath and think about what you’re doing with your compressor. Is it really making your track sound better? I it will sound better.

Have You Missed Anything?

Well, that’s it for this week’s Dynamic Range Day 2012 coverage. I hope you checked out all the DRD posts on the site. Just in case you haven’t, here’s the rundown.

That said, have a great weekend.


Compression is a necessary part of a great mix. It’s easy to overdo it, like the Loudness Wars show. But if you’d still like to know more about using compression correctly, check out for your in-depth video guide.

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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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