AES London 2010
Recording Industry Event T9

Tuesday, May 25, 09:00 — 10:45 (Room C2)

T9 - Compression FX—Use Your Power for Good, Not Evil

Alex U. Case, University of Massachusetts Lowell - Lowell, MA, USA

Dynamic range compression, so often avoided by the purist and damned by the press, is most enthusiastically embraced by pop music creators. As an audio effect, it can be easily overused. Reined-in it can be difficult to perceive. It is always difficult to describe. As a tool, its controls can be counterintuitive, and its meters and flashing lights uninformative. In this tutorial—rich with audio examples—Case organizes the broad range of iconic effects created by audio compressors as they are used it to reduce and control dynamic range, increase perceived loudness, improve intelligibility and articulation, reshape the amplitude envelope, add creative doses of distortion, and extract ambience cues, breaths, squeaks, and rattles. Learn when pop engineers reach for compression, know what sort of parameter settings are used (ratio, threshold, attack, and release), and advance your understanding of what to listen for and which way to tweak.