Finalizing my song; question about compression

Finally, putting the finishing touches on my first n-track recording (lots of great info from this forum btw). My question is this: I have applied compression and a limiter to the master channel to raise the overall volume of the final track.

After applying those effects, during playback the play meter is all the way in the upper red regions (but not acutally clipping). Is this a good thing? It sounds good to my ears after loading it up on my mp3 player, but I guess i’m just sort of wondering if ntrack is showing the playback in the upper red regions, is my output too high on the compressor?

Quote (lbra73 @ Feb. 24 2005,16:03)

It sounds good to my ears after loading it up on my mp3 player

This is probably the most important thing.

Although try playing it back on a number of different systems (make an audio CD and ply it back on your hifi, car cd player, PC speakers etc)

If it sounds good to you then that is the main thing.

If it was clicpping it would probably not sound good to you (unless that is a sound you like or were wanting...)

If you compress and limit then depending on the amount of compressoin you use there will be a lot more of the song in the red section of the playback VU's
this isn't a bad thing necessarily, but it will mean that you may have less dynamic range than you originally did.

Again, if this doesn't sound bad ot yo and sound ok then it is ok - generally speaking


Remember that over-compression tends to cause listener fatigue.

Quote (TomS @ Feb. 24 2005,07:40)
Remember that over-compression tends to cause listener fatigue.

What does that mean? listener fatigue?

YOu ears get tired. Esentially, the ears can only take so much of a beating. If you compress something so much that it turns into a jack hammer on someone, they will get fatigued. One thing a lot of newbies don’t know or get right off is compressing things before mastering. I find a lot of folks have hihats or shakers that can simply be turned down or be compressed that would get them a lot more head room and allow the mix to be turned up more on the master channel and need less compression in mastering. Listen to yur mixes in mono and often times you will find hats and shakers sticking way out that in stereo isn’t as pronounced. You can bury some of those high frequency percussive things often times and they will sit in the mix just fine. I have found, I can cut the hats 10 db many times and they sit just fine. Those high end transients just stick way out and don’t need to be as cranked as folks often have them.

What bubba said! Thing is, the first time you hear it totally compressed it will sound great. Like stuff on the radio. But after a few listens folks will get tired of the sound. I’ve had this trouble with most pop music released in the last 10-15 years. Makes me edgy.

Re: compressing individual elements - one thing that really can help taht I’ve been experimenting with lately is compressing drums and bass together in a group. Makes it easier to use a lighter hand when finalizing. IMHO, YMMV, etc. :)