2. Single compression in use
So, the loudness automation is ready, and you can be sure that the compressor is fed with a consistent audio signal. At this stage, the mixing mastering audio novice makes a successive mistake by setting a device aggressively – around 10 dB of gain reduction of the audio. The result is the same – a dull and terribly overcompressed vocal sound. But how do experienced online mixing studio engineers achieve an incredible density level without damaging music? Their secret is in serial dynamics processing when each next device compresses audio by 2–3 dB carefully. This approach to vocal mixing and mastering gives enormous music density and keeps its transparency and processing transparency. It’s practically the norm in modern studios to use 2–3 devices in a series, and there is more to come. Some engineers bring their number up to five to realize their creative concept (even more sound coloration and higher music compression level by keeping its “transparency”).
To get acquainted with this technology, you should start with careful audio compression of around 2–3 dB (whereas ratio is in the range of 2:1, attack – around 5–30 ms, release time – around 50 ms). These settings are often used before vocal online mixing and mastering services, at the stage of vocal recording. It won’t definitely be sufficient, and another stage comes – compression of the music (with the same level of gain reduction) with much faster settings. On the whole, professional vocal mixing engineers often experiment on device order in processing chain by placing compressors in different order. To start with much faster settings is considered to be the standard in mixing. It’s used for cutting sudden and ragged peaks to make the next dynamics processing device work softer.