During mastering, the goal of audio compression is to control the dynamic range of a mix by reducing the level of the loudest parts and increasing the level of the quietest parts. The best method for audio compression during mastering depends on the specific characteristics of the mix and the desired end result.
Here are a few general guidelines to consider when choosing a method for audio compression during mastering:
Use a high-quality compressor:
It’s important to use a compressor that has a transparent sound so it doesn’t add unwanted coloration or distortion to the audio.
Set the compressor’s threshold and ratio appropriately: The threshold determines the level at which the compressor starts to reduce the gain of the audio signal, while the ratio determines how much the gain is reduced. It’s essential to set these parameters appropriately to achieve the desired amount of compression without over-compressing the audio.
Use a moderate attack and release time:
The attack time determines how quickly the compressor responds to transients (sudden, brief changes in the audio level), while the release time determines how quickly the compressor returns to its normal gain once the transient has passed. Using a moderate attack and release time will help preserve the punch and clarity of the mix.
Use subtle compression:
It’s generally best to use subtle compression during mastering, as heavy compression can lead to a “squashed” or lifeless sound. Use just enough compression to control the dynamic range and give the mix more consistency and clarity.
Experiment with different compressor settings:
Every mix is different, so it’s important to experiment with different compressor settings to find the best sound for your specific mix.