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How Compression is Like Getting into a Fistfight

I was talking about compression the other day and this analogy popped into my head.

Using compression is like getting into a fist fight with somebody.

I don’t get into fist fights anymore. I’m not interested in being sued for battery, and I’m also a fucking adult so I leave fist fighting to memories of teenage bar brawls in the midnight sun of Northern Iceland.

However, if you have to fight you’d preferably want to win, or at least come out fairly unscathed on the other side.

And if you’re backed into a corner you need to get your punches in. But you don’t want to hit so hard that you kill the other person.

The same goes with compression. You want to fight the instrument and put in its place but you don’t want to hit it so hard you kill it completely. Nothing’s worse than a lifeless drum sound with all the dynamics taken out of it.

You want to make gain reduction to both keep the signal steady while leaving in the dynamics. You also want to tweak the attack and release so that it fits the signal you’re feeding into the compressor. Some instruments like a fast attack that cuts of the initial transient. Some signals need that initial attack to come through for added punch.

This is all stuff everyone needs to know about compression, which is why I added it as a bonus to my EQ Strategies Plus package. In my Compression Masterclass I teach you:

  • How to use all those buttons on your compressor
  • How to use compression to smooth out dynamics (and how you can see it visually)
  • How to use the attack and release to create shape
  • How to use serial compression to squeeze dynamics without squashing the signal
  • How to use bus compression to glue your instruments together
  • How to use parallel compression for extra punch
  • How to use different compression types in series to achieve different goals
  • How to use multi-band compression to affect different frequency areas
  • How to use mix-buss compression to glue your mix together from the start

It goes hand in hand with my EQ Strategies – The Ultimate Guide to EQ training to help you make better EQ and compression decisions:

Take a look at it here:


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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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