To Compress or not to Compress? That is the Question.


May 5, 2010
Hey Everyone,

I wanted to get some perspective from the forum members on compression. A friend of mine calls compression the magic key to a good mix. I'm sure he has good reason. I personally like a little compression on a mix and especially on vocals. I read a book that said to never go over a 2:1 ratio. I'm not sure what they where mixing. Of course this is all subjective, but what works for you? Do you have a magic key to your mix?

Happy Recording

Massive Mastering

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2004
The magic key is to do what the mix is telling you to do. Whether in the mixing *or* mastering phase. But especially the mixing process. Ratios are dependent on what you have vs. what you want vs. what the source is actually capable of (that's the part a lot of people forget about). 2:1 means nothing without another reference. You can have 2dB of gain reduction at 2:1 and 2dB at 10:1. Nothing close to similar though...


Real guitars are for old people.
Well-Known Member
Jan 23, 2010
I compress the most obviously dynamic tracks to blend properly with the least dynamic tracks. I use whatever ratio, attack, release and knee are required to get the sound I want. That could mean anything from just taking a little edge off to squashing the heck out of a track. Then I apply a "mastering" limiter on the main bus to get the RMS level to some arbitrary target, not for any big affect on the sound.