How Mixing & Mastering Actually Works

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(Last Updated On: February 27, 2018)

De-esser can also be used to soften the voice timbre in the frequency range from 2k to 4k. People who have a harsh timbre or not very professional vocalists with loud singing and speaking often a noticeable rise in this range takes place. In case when the sound engineer decides to smooth it with an equalizer, it will affect the entire signal, even in places where it is not needed.

Previously Shared: How Mixing & Mastering Actually Works

How Mixing & Mastering Actually Works

While di-esser allows you to soften exactly those areas of acapella that need it, due to the correct selection of the threshold level. You can accidentally make the vocalist lisping if you use this tool unprofessionally. When you are mixing audio it is necessary to carefully select the depth of the threshold, and also carefully treat the compression ratio

Compressor. It is usually put after the equalizer, but there are many points of view on this matter, and the polemic in this matter can be considered incomplete. Compressor, as a means of compressing the dynamic range, bringing it to about one level. This level is the threshold of the compressor, which must be correctly selected by the sound engineer. If the threshold is too high, the vocal will not be compressed at all, and if it is too deep, it will be pinched on the contrary, which will cause the effects of overloading on the signal.



If the different parts are sung or with sufficiently different levels and this is included in the overall musical concept of the song, then it is necessary to divide the increasingly quieter and louder parts into separate tracks and process them accordingly by different compressors with their threshold levels.

There are several common approaches to vocals compression:



– “Natural” compression
– Strong and noticeable compression

With natural compression, the vocal part retains its character. The work of the compressor in this case is almost invisible and serves its direct purpose – smoothing out the peaks. If the task is: to leave the vocalist as “alive” and airy as possible, then the compressor uses a very fast attack and a very fast release, while the threshold value is very high. In the event that this value is excessively understated, then the voice will be more compressed, in the voice there will be a nasal sound.

Strong and conspicuous compression serves to change the nature of the vocal. For example, if the vocals or speech are sluggish, unconvincing, with the help of an average attack, a rather deep threshold and compression ratio of the compressor, you can make them more accented and expressive. If you make the attack, release too large, and the threshold is sufficiently understated, then you can accidentally shift the stresses in words.

It also happens when two compressors are used on one vocal track: the first one for highlighting accents, the second one for general alignment of the part or vice versa (sequential compression). Possible manipulations with devices of dynamic processing have a wide field for the creativity of the sound engineer. Music mixing – the work of dynamic tools and especially the compressor, is very thin and inexperienced person can’t hear it. We can say that the main thing in the approach to compression as well as in other types of processing is the main command of the sound engineer – not to harm.


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