what compresion ratio for mastering?


Well-Known Member
Aug 19, 2004
Just checking to see what ratio is normally used in rock for boosting volume without squashing the song too much. I just finished a song and applied a 2:1 stereo compression to it. Its still not loud but has very prominant dynamics. (sounds good in my opinion but just not very loud). Is a 3:1 ratio considered too severe in today's rock music?

Massive Mastering

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2004
Totally dependent on the song, the dynamics, crest factor, current RMS level, "projected" RMS level -

(A) Just start at around 1.1:1 and work your way up to 10:1.

(B) Stop where it sounds good.

(C) I usually wind up at around 1.5:1 for a lot of rock stuff.

(D) Never master your own mixes.


Firstly AYPK don't confuse compression with limiting.

Limiting catches any peaks and should only light occassionaly.

Personally I'm not a great fan for compressing final mixes, but when/if I do, I use between 2:1 and 4:1.

(Ccertainly never mix into a compressor. Get the mx first , then try the compression)

Depending on the sound you want, what I find works better is not increasing the ratio, but lowering the threshold.
ie 20dB gr at 2:1 (-10) "sounds" very different to 5dB gr at 5:1 (-6)
(sorry rubbish example figures but it's 2am).

Try it and tell me which you think is louder, has more energy an dwhichproduces the better mix. Don't be surprised of they don't follow each other ;-)

I prefer the more gentle but global approach.

Personally I aim "not" to global compress at all. I much prefer to get the individual tracks cooking and just mix it.
I might tickle a 2:1 at 4dB and use a limiter at -0.5dB to catch any remaining peaks.

For me, I find this method retains dynamics, often improves perceived loudness and doens't sound squashed to f... but has high energy.