Although I’m getting happier with my productions, they still don’t sound quite right to me. It is definately something to do with the mixing/mastering stage of production. For a while I’ve been pretty much ignoring these things called ‘compressors’. Part of the reason for doing this is because I’m still not fully sure about what a compressor actually does. I’ve watched tutorials and read some articles and I think I’m finally understanding what a compressor is.
According to tuts, an online music production magazine “Compression is the process of lessening the dynamic range between the loudest and quietest parts of an audio signal.” I quite like this definition because it’s one of the few that I’ve seen that is not filled with jargon that’s unknown to me. I would call it “balancing the loud bit and the quiet bits of a track to make it sound cleaner”… But that’s just me.
I think my problem with learing compression is partly because I struggle to hear any real difference in sound when one is applied unless the gain and threshold sliders are drastically changed. One thing I’ve picked up whilst producing is that it’s very easy to over-do effects.
When I have previously applied compressors to my sounds they have only been applied to an instrument each, mostly a kick drum or a clap. However today I watched this tutorial (below) which not only gave me some pointers on the general mixdown of my tracks, but also some compression techniques to try.
Like most terms in music production this is an overly confusing piece of jargon designed to slow the learning process and annoy many people. A ‘Buss’ refers to a group of sounds, for example the drums.
My own groups tend to follow the structure below.
DRUMS – Kicks, Snares, Hi Hats & everything else you hit with drums sticks
AMBIENCE – Spooky noises, white noises, just wierd noises in general
SYNTHS – Synthesised Pianos, Guitars, Brass instruments and loads of electronical sounds.
BASS – The lowest frequency sounds that I include in my tracks
So the ‘DRUMS‘ group would be refered to as a ‘Buss’. Buss compresssion is when you apply a compressor to this collection of sounds instead of just one sound. I am going to experiment with this form of compression during the next couple of days and see what effect this has on my mixdowns. Hopefully this will glue certain elements of my tracks together and result in a tighter sound overall.