Dynamics! We’re fond of dynamic sound even if we don’t realize what it is in particular and how the engineer managed to achieve such a result. In far years steeped in legends when the loudness war hadn’t broken out yet, and audio engineers hadn’t started compressing mixes with a limiter for a couple of excessive decibels of loudness, it was a lot more simply with dynamics. The dynamics just was! It was natural just because compression was first and foremost used as a creative element but not for loudness.
But today when our hearing got used to music sound subjected to hard limiting, it’s also possible to revive it with this simple technique. I can’t remember even one mix in which I didn’t use it.
So, how to add dynamics to a mix?
You only need just to set up a transient shaper on the master channel at the very beginning of the processing chain. Then you should adjust it to the shortest release time and set the attack time at around 50 ms – on average the drum sound lasts approximately the same. Then push transients up a little bit. Even a little enhancement of around 0.3 dB will revive your mix noticeably. But do not get carried away too much – maximum 0.9 dB enhancement will be more than sufficient.
It’s important! The transient shaper is at the very beginning of the mastering chain; consequently, the entire subsequent processing of the master channel will be influenced by its work. However, it’s an unnecessary rule; for some mixes, the enhancement of transients directly before maximization worked out much more interesting.
This trick is fit for any genres, even for EDM music where excessively compressed sound became the norm. What’s more, the work of the transient shaper is unnoticeable until you turn it off. Try it yourself!
I wish all of you dynamic mixes!