Question about compression

you produce a track and last step (aka mastering) you should compress shit out of it? am i right?

Message from relic to other admins: this thread already got flagged by OP to be deleted. I decided to leave it. See my post below.

Absolutely #keepTheLoudnessWarAlive

only kidding. :wink:

A 10,000-foot view of compression in mastering:
“Compressing the shit out of…” your track can (and most likely will) come with the consequence of robbing your track of its dynamics and harmonics. Heavy compression can ofter add “color” to your sound as well which you may not want (or maybe you do). Mastering is one of those disciplines where there is really no right or wrong way of doing things. If you’re looking to add the sort of “glued together” effect that compression can often provide, I would recommend trying to accomplish this in the mixing phase of your production. Having a good mix in my opinion, is a better goal, simply because once your mix is finished and you move on to mastering, anything you have done in the mixdown is set in stone and cannot be changed during mastering. The same goes for trying to achieve loudness, it all starts with your mix. The mastering is only there to help polish off your (or your engineer’s) mixing job.

That being said, there is often a place for compression in mastering, but typically you want to keep it to a minimum. Enough to bring some of the elements to life or smooth things out etc, but not so much that you are squishing the subtle things down.

And now its time for a bad analogy:
Imagine your favorite burger. Maybe it has a nice brioche bun, with a great texture; buttery flakiness on the outside yet soft and delicious on the inside. Now Imaging that you take that whole burger and smash it down with a plate or something. Your bun is squished. Sure, its all nice and stuck together, all of the elements have really got to know each other, but you may find that the things you so loved about that burger, the textures that made you drool every time you think about it, are all gone. It’s also not quite as big, even though all of the elements are still there. The burger just isn’t the same.

That’s what too much compression will do. It will remove the bun pleasures from your burger song.

Here’s a great video regarding the use of compression in mastering. I hope it finds you and your burger songs well and in good health.

Are You Listening? Ep. 3 | Compression in Mastering

In full disclosure, I am in no way a qualified or experienced mastering engineer. Only an enthusiast and a hobbyist. Take nothing I said as the be all end all. Be willing to listen to the advice of those with experience, do research, explore ideas, and be willing to make mistakes. That’s the best way to learn.



I rarely compress anything bar a touch on vocals. As I’m not using acoustic instruments, there is no need to compress anything else. Not being an engineer, I find that my music always sounds better without mastering, so I don’t. That way I don’t lose any of the small amount of dynamics an electronic track may have. I like to listen to music, not have my ears bashed in. Now whenever I go to listen to a track (particularly) on sound cloud, if the waveform looks like a big fat sausage, I don’t even press the play button.

I don’t usually get involved in the “Loudness vs Dynamics” conversation often , as I think a lot of it is totally subjective and depends on who’s doing what and why…meaning the kind of sound they’re trying to achieve. I mention this as Compression seems to take a lot of shit in that debate…like folks are over-using Compression or something…but Compression is just one part of the total production process…and a Compressor is nothing more than a tool…one you have to learn to use correctly…if you don’t, then there’s a very good chance you’re going to fuck things up.

Personally, I tend to do any compression during the mixing phase and treat Mastering as a last coat of polish to the mix. I don’t feel easy slapping Compression on (…or anything else) at that stage, as, because I feel if you’re still trying to “get that sound” when you reach the mastering level, then you’ve done something wrong or left something out along the way.

The real question here is what kind of music do you make (…or do you want to make) ?

Just think about that and let it sink in…the answer should be obvious.

If it’s a genre that sounds “loud”, then try adding a little more Compression on your Master / Sub-Master bus during the mixing stage, on top of any Compression you might have going on each individual track in the mix. This way you give your ears a chance to hear what’s going on in the mix as it’s happening, rather than ending up with a loud track at the end that’s over-compressed and a mess.

Again, I need to point out that a lot of this is subjective in nature and really depends on the kind of music you’re making, as well as how the mix you’re working on sounds at the time you get to mastering it. Each track is as different as the producer who made it and it’s not a case of “one size fits all”.

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I dont tryin to get that sound. I just ask you about compressor on last stage.

Like @TheTeknomage mention i tryna make that edgy waveform look more like sausage.

Also noticed that music on youtube (official videos) vs mp3 sounds different because of that.:smiley::smiley::smiley::smiley::smiley::smiley::smiley::smiley::smiley::sweat_smile::hot_face:

…and I just told you about compressor on last stage.

If all you’re looking for is a sausage-like waveform, then just use Sausage Fattener or the old “Camel Crusher” that’s still floating around out there on the net. Getting that kind of waveform is not about Compression…that’s not what Compression is about…Compression won’t “give” you a sound…that comes from the mixing.

Compression can help make any sound louder by using either a compressor unit or a limiter plugin on the master bus…but if all you want is to “be loud”, then it really doesn’t matter what you do…just crank things up and run with it.

yeah yeah yeahs :face_with_symbols_over_mouth::rage:

I make music for 12 years already dont laugh at me
Just to you know

As AM wrote, the main question is what genre do you want to produce?

In some DJ-friendly genres such as DNB, many big players still push it up to -5 LUFS or similar. To have a good well-defined sound at that level can rarely be achieved by simply turning the limiter or compressor up (even though something like Elevate can help), but also needs arrangement and mix finetuning.

If you produce in a genre that usually keeps things on the low low, pushing your master doesn’t make a lot of sense but will just result in people complaining that you killed all the dynamics in your track.

So if you want to be consistent with other stuff in a specific genre, I would check the releases you like in the genres you produce.

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Dude, don’t be a dick…you asked if, when mastering, should you “compress shit out of it?”…and we’ve tried to give you some pointers/advice on that.

Besides, if you’ve been producing for 12 years, as you say, then you should know this shit already…it’s basic mixing skills 101. :unamused:

yeah i know. we just misunderstood

I’d say that hoping compression/mastering will “make” your song is a bit like polishing a turd, hoping for a diamond.

If your mix is shit, no amount of good mastering is going to make your song sound good.

If anything, mastering done right will make the bad stuff in your mix VERY audible (and thus very painful to hear - I certainly speak from experience here) :slight_smile:


This is a fantastic analogy, actually! :clap:

Why you all shitting me bros why you think i make something wrong maybe any amout of mastering will help you not me ??? I want to close this topic. Ass.

I think maybe we are having some communication issues on this thread.

I don’t think @morphic was trying to shit on you. I think he was just trying to stress the importance of good mixing. He’s was just saying that if ANYONE’s music has a bad mix then the mastering won’t help it. It wasn’t directed at your music specifically.

I think what you were trying to say here was something like “despite having 12 years of music-making experience I have never had much experience with mastering, so don’t judge me.” Does this sound right?

I don’t think you were trying to be a dick. And don’t listen to anyone telling you that you should know the basics by now because this is your journey. I produced music for years without having a good understanding of mixing techniques. Even now, I still learn new stuff every day, which is why I love being a part of this community.

Once again, I think there were some communication issues here, and maybe even a language barrier contributing to that.

I don’t think anyone here was trying to talk shit about you or your music, and IF that was their intention from the start, well… they can fuck off. But I really don’t believe that to be the case.


My mix is fine , track all the more so
. Thanks for reply everyone.

My post was in no way intended to attack or berate you. I am sorry if you thought it was. I was just mentioning things I have learned in my “musical life”, from professional mastering engineers and all kinds of studio professionals to mistakes I’ve made along the way.


As for master compression…

I have the compressor on my Master before i start any track.

think logically what is the point of tweaking and carving your mix as perfectly as you can only to later throw a compressor on as an after thought totally ruining/altering all those careful mix decisions you made.

So i always mix into the compressor from the moment i start a track.

To be honest i grew out of all that mastering lark long ago, it all about the mix.

If you can keep one simple thought in your head “The perfect mix doesn’t require mastering”, it goes along way.

Mastering is more a concern to me getting a number of tracks to a certain level so theres uniformity in volume on an album, but track wise it only ever adds the last 2%.

Yes I’ve learnt something from professional mastering engineers too,

the fine art of charging ÂŁ500 to put your track in Ozone :rofl:


In every profession there are charlatans with no respect for themselves or their clients.

@canecreek: Edited to add: I’m not dumb enough not to know how to use Ozone myself. What I can tell you is that, if one cannot hear the difference from someone like me (not a professional engineer who actually studied engineering and has a degree on the topic) using an Ozone preset versus a Mastering engineer actually doing their job, well, that means that:

  1. they’re just a bit deaf
  2. wow I managed to write a song that is mastered properly in all the right places throughout the song over the full frequency spectrum, with a single Ozone preset. I must be REALLY good.
  3. Maybe my song only contains one instrument.