3. The use of audio compression only as an insert effect
Even after detailed automation and multi-layer compression the engineer can find out that some separate words are still not legible, especially in contemporary music. The purpose of its mixing is density maximum of literally all the music instruments of which the sound wall is comprised. The situation gets worse with the use of spatial processing as delays and reverberation cover up the vocals and sink it in music. In professional vocal mixing and mastering services practice, there’s a technique that has been solving this problem easily for decades without bringing any distortions in music – parallel audio compression otherwise known as New York style compression. In other words, during mid side mixing techniques maximum density is achieved with a compressor (or a series) set as insert; and then a new aux bus to which target sound will be sent is created. Exactly here, the vocal mixing services engineer can and must literally force all the life out of the vocals and flatten it out till the complete dynamics loss but he gets incredibly consistent audio signal. That’s okay as during further mixing this signal will be mixed to the basic vocal track in a small proportion – lower down the fader of the aux channel to the max and then raise it smoothly until you notice that the sound of the parts which disappeared earlier is apparent. In professional vocal mixing and mastering studios practice, parallel audio compression is used not only for the vocals but also for drum, guitar (and so on) compression, practically for any instrument. Mixing novices are recommended to check final settings by turning on/off aux bus a couple of times – if vocal stability effect is obvious, everything is correct.