Adjust the threshold so that the compressor is engaging on almost every word, but then use a low ratio to make sure you are only applying 2-3dB of gain reduction. Tonal Compression Start with a medium attack time around 15ms and adjust to taste. Then, later in the mix, you can use volume automation to make sure the levels are consistent with the feel of the track (for example, louder in the choruses). You do this with automation, NOT compression. You could even add a limiter after the compressor to further control the dynamics. I have a vague idea but want to get it right. Spend plenty of time tuning that in, and adjust it in the mix after you have set the compressor. Approach multiband compression in a similar way to EQ. Squashing the peaks may also take away power from sounds that would otherwise have more impact. The key difference between ‘volume automation’ and ‘gain automation’ is that volume is at the end of the signal chain whereas gain is at the beginning of the signal chain. My good friend Jason Moss explains this well in this video. Rob. Set overall audio quality first. Best DAW 2020: Which Digital Audio Workstation Works Best For You? Drums and bass are the rhythmic foundation of your song, so it’s always good to make them consistent and punchy. Hi Carlos, thanks for your comment! A lot of tweaking will be needed, and sometimes you may have to use completely different settings. It can sound more subtle than applying compression directly to the main vocal – great for lighter genres. First of all, load up a compressor. Try inserting a de-esser early in the plugin chain. Audio professional, musician and founder of Musician on a Mission. This sounds more natural and musical. You still need to be careful not to compress the transients too much, as this will put the vocals further back in the mix. Thanks! This takes a lot of stress off your compressors and limiters. So, if you want to learn the *exact* steps that will take your mixes to a professional standard in under a year…. Mutt Lange (AC/DC, Def Leppard, Lady Gaga, Muse, Shania Twain) has been known to spend a whole day just riding one vocal part. A ratio of 2:1 means for every two decibels over the threshold, the signal will be compressed into one decibel. For rap and most pop super fasr attack times like 1176(microseconds) is necessary. The first compressor uses ‘tonal compression’ to shape the tone, lightly tame the dynamics and add or remove aggression from the vocal. It helps all of your plugins to perform better because the vocal will always be around that -18dBFS sweet spot. Let’s look at the anatomy of a compressor: One of your aims when mixing vocals is to make them as dynamically consistent as possible. Well… Attack Time = 1.81 secs. The stock plugins that come with your DAW are INCREDIBLE. That’s why it’s good to apply light compression with outboard gear when recording if you have the equipment (don’t worry if you don’t). Thank you so much for invaluable information. Any adice? Think about how you would like to increase or decrease different elements and emotions of the vocal. Keep it subtle. Your work is truly world class and I can’t thank you enough for what you’re providing! I don’t know any way to write or talk about compression that leads to an ability to use it without actually using it. Here is the step-by-step process for applying parallel compression: This is a form of upward compression. Learn how to use your time more efficiently in this free training video. Your style is great. Dial in some heavy compression (aim for 6 dB’s of gain reduction or more). Learning about compression, i known now what fast and slow attack and release is, What world is 5 ms a fast attwck time? Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of this great trick: To achieve subtle, natural sounding compression on your vocal it’s best to use multiple compressors throughout the mixing process (this is called ‘serial compression’). If you record with a dynamic microphone, sibilance probably won’t be an issue. How dynamic is the vocal? Thank you for explaining the purpose and techniques of every step. Church Sound | Disclosure and PrivacyCopyright © 2020 Tiger Green Productions, LLC. Repeat this step again, but this time select 'Treble Boost' from the dropdown menu. I carefully balance them with the originl and sum them to another chanel in which I perform: This is opposite to what you suggested. Did I interpret this correctly? But with upward compression, you’re making the quietest bits louder. So in this post we’ll go over a few compressor settings to use when you’re recording and mixing vocals in your studio. Does it need a lot of control, or does it already sound consistent? ContentsWant your mixes to sound pro?Before You Load Up a Vocal Compressor…Front End AutomationWhen To Use Your Vocal CompressorIt’s Crucial to Have a PurposeHow to Use a CompressorTonal CompressionHow to Get Light Tonal CompressionDynamic CompressionHow to Get Great Dynamic CompressionCombining Tonal and Dynamic CompressionBest Compressors for VocalsUsing a LimiterSibilance Sucks… SeriouslyPowerful Parallel CompressionMasterful Multiband CompressionWide Frequency RangeTargeted Frequency RangeSuper Sidechain CompressionHow to Compress Backing Vocals7 Steps to Pro Mixes at Home But for mainstream styles, you can go one step further and apply a limiter to catch any peaks that slip through your compressors. Some mixers don’t use any direct compression on the lead vocal at all and ONLY use parallel compression. It gives you a lot more control over the amount of compression. With this new approach, you’ll know exactly where to spend your time and energy. My mixes sucked for years until I discovered this ONE THING that gave me the ability to make professional quality music at home. You don’t want to compress the transients too much, as this will push the vocals further back in the mix. Thanks,… I got it The emotions embedded in the dynamic range of the music get destroyed. Maybe add an expander??? Are both strategies correct? How much is dependent on the set ratio. This time, the process is slightly different: These two approaches work best when combined. The second compressor uses ‘dynamic compression’ to catch the loudest peaks and add more dynamic consistency. Just keep the volume low. Thank you so much! For heavier styles or dense mixes, you can experiment with more aggressive limiting to squeeze more volume out of the vocal. But what if I told you that you don’t have to be an expert (with years of experience) to make professional music at home? Load up a compressor and send your lead vocal to this new aux. This is amazing tutorial! In most cases, the genre will require you do both of these things. so looking forward to improving my music. Before we continue… I’m guessing you’re here because you want to make music that sounds professional. If your mixes don’t sound as good as you would like, and you are blaming stock plugins – you aren’t ready to upgrade yet. But I propose an alternative – gain automation.   Change it’s output to the ‘Lead Vocals’ aux. Awesome information and focus, thanks heaps. Thanks again! After just one day reading and absorbing some of the content on musician on a mission I must say I am amazed. Thank you so much. Dial in a medium release time of 40ms and adjust from there. If frequency cuts are less than obvious, using compression can be positively counter-intuitive. Just wanted to understand more. But this is what I start with 80% of the time. I wanted you to read that twice so you really take it in. It’s only playing for a limited time – we’re always updating the site and this could get removed soon. Also my back up vocals have been coming in to strong and crowding my lead out so I appreciate the tips on back up vocals and how to adjust them. Thank you again. This approach should use quite a slow attack and release time. This will squash the transients, so the backing vocals won’t sound as aggressive. Definitely been bookmarked. It's more intuitive than setting audio parameters such as audio bitrate or sample rate etc. Applying sidechain compression to guitars, pianos or other midrange instruments is a quick and easy way to create space for the vocals. Also find out what you need to do days before the service. thank you very much, you have no idea how much my mixes has improved. Bill. Here’s the thing… Modern standards of professional production require crazy levels of perfection and consistency in the vocal.