Better Proper A/B testing with precise gain matching is a must in this situation. A great starting point when setting an attack time on the mix bus is to use a medium attack time. Using compression before mastering may or may not be a technique that fits your mix style. Native Instruments – Solid Bus Compressor set to Auto Release. As discussed earlier, most compression parameters are best left untouched on the mix bus after it has been set. Again, … Business Bureau. Doing so will allow the engineer to mix through the compressor with intent. How to Get Your Master Loud WITHOUT Distortion. 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. It would also be practical to take a completed mix to a studio and run it through several of their hardware mix-bus compressors that you probably do not own. Use your eyes too… (Hint: Gain Reduction Meter) Also be prepared to convert from milliseconds to seconds and vice versa. 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. 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. Do not shy away from mix bus compression. Although, you may find that compression makes your  mix sound different and not necessarily better, so be carefu. For example, if a song tempo is at 100bpm then a 1/16. Whether an engineer uses mix compression or not, is not all that relevant; how an engineer uses it is. This allows for the referencing of several different mix-bus options. Those numbers are 100 and 300. 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”). Incorporate it into your mixing arsenal if it works for you. Start with a low ratio – 2:1 is often plenty. Then, when I’m satisfied with the mix I’ll add my mastering processors, like multi-band compression, Ozone and the like, until I’m satisfied with it sounding like a final master. For example, if a song tempo is at 100bpm then a 1/16th note value is equal to 150ms and a 1/8T (T=triplet) note value is equal to 200ms. - compressing instruments that perhaps don't "need" compression at an unmastered RMS level, but with the understanding that dealing with those extra couple db of swing on individual tracks will then optimize how the mix hits my bus compressor, and in turn make the mastering … If your ear is not keen to the effects of compression across complex signals, then you could very easily put yourself on a road to a worse mix without realizing it. Pay very close attention to the attack and release settings of your mix-bus compressor because they can really make or break a mix. Some people find it helpful to think about the numbers 10ms and 30s for an approximate reference that is easier to memorize. Give Me Six Weeks And You'll Never Doubt Your Mixing Skills Again, Here's My Perfect Solution for Taming Your Low-end, 3 Things You Must Do for Better Vocal Recordings, Why Persistence is More Important Than Talent in Music. That way they won’t feel disappointed in my mixes if they play them next to something else they like. 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. It’s common fact that mastering typically involves final mix compression as one of its processes. We do this by offering simple and practical music production and success skills they can use right away to level themselves up – while rejecting negativity and gear-shaming from the industry. The Waves API 2500 does a nice job at emulating the classic punch of its hardware predecessor. Get a Free Mastered Sample of your Mix Today >. 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. Don’t overdo it! Contrary to “The Order” above… There are times when using a compressor on the mix bus after achieving a mix is acceptable if done strategically. Too fast of an attack will kill low frequency transient content (punch). Using Too Much Gain Reduction. a book people have been calling a “mind-opening book on mixing.”. At Audio Issues you’ll learn simple and practical audio production tips you can use right away to improve your music from your home recording studio. However, if you have the means to purchase the real thing, that is really cool too! Should You Be Concerned If You Don’t Have Haters? In either case, a multiband compressor could very effectively help address a specified problem that wasn’t addressed in the studio mix session. Gordon’s question is in response to a previous article about making things ready for mastering, where I say, “Don’t leave your Ozone mastering plug-ins and buss compressors on the master bus when you bounce your mix down to a stereo track. Pay very close attention to the attack and release settings of your mix-bus compressor because they can really make or break a mix. Next adjust the threshold while looking at the gain reduction caused by the compressor. The most effective option would be to return to the studio and address the problems on a specific track or channel, but that costs time and money, which may or may not be available. It is important to keep in mind that the faders will behave differently once the compressor is on the mix bus. Looking for a punchy bus compressor? Between those numbers are medium attack times. Setting these two parameters is quick and straightforward for mix bus purposes. 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. Subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts. This is true in both the analog and digital realm, and the good news is that many of the highest quality digital plugins are aiming emulate the brilliant circuitry and components of classic analog hardware. It is imperative to know how much gain reduction the compressor is performing when the mix is at its loudest point. It will largely be dependent on project style and genre. (.1 s = 100ms). Above 300ms are slow release times. 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. If I’m mastering a single song I’ll master the mix at the end, using specific mastering processors. One example would be using a multiband compressor to address very specific issues in a mix.