The theory and practice of studio audio compressors and compression in dance music. Studio compressors form an absolute essential part of any dance musicians set-up. Hardware or software, what was once an imperceptible processor, it has become central to the sound of dance music today. However, there is more to using compression than just dropping it onto an audio trackCompressors are designed to be a transparent processor. If they’re used correctly, they shouldn’t be noticeable but this also makes it one of the most least understood processes in music production. After all, if you can’t hear it, how do you know you’ve applied it correctly?
For this sessions tutorial we lift the lid off what is often considered one of the most confusing processes in the studio. We not only examine the controls and how they affect the audio, we also look into the different types of compression from Opto to VCA, FET and MU, and discuss the audible differences between each to help you decide which is the best type of compressor to use in your projects.
We also discuss how compression has moved from being an imperceptible processor into an obvious audio effect that is now requisite for most dance music styles, and how to use as such. A thorough and concise understanding of compressors and audio compression will not only improve the sound of your mixes but also help in all stages of the production process from recording to mixing.
Tutorial Contents: Session 01: Compressors and Levelling Amplifiers: 20 minutes.
In this first session, we introduce the principle of musical dynamics and why compressors were introduced into recording studios
Session 02: Compression Theory: 38 minutes.
Here we examine the theory of compression including a look at logarithmic scales, decibels, threshold, ratio’s, attack, release, make-up gain and how knee’s operate on a compressor.
Session 03: Acoustic Science: 25 Minutes.
For this session we take a look at some basic acoustic science and discover how our hearing reacts to different stimuli alongside examining the principles of Phons and Sons
Session 05: Practical Compression: 40 minutes
We now put all the theory we’ve discussed into practice and look at how we set up and use a compressor to prevent peaks and also level audio.
Session 05: Different Compressors: 70 Minutes
Any discussion about compression leads to the subject of harmonic distortion and different compression artefacts. Here we discuss the differences between Opto, FET, VCA and Vari MU compressors alongside listening to some examples of these compressors in action.
Session 06: Compression Techniques: 22 Minutes
We take a quick look at some advanced compression techniques consisting of parallel compression, serial compression, EQ/Sibilance control and the now ubiquitous production method of pumping a mix .