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In most modern music a Mix Buss Compressor is used to make the mix punching in your face, but setting it up improperly can sometimes do more harm than good. In this video I'll show you the correct way to use your Mix-Buss Compressor. First thing to remember is a little bit goes a long way when it comes to using a Mix-Buss Compressor. Let's set one up. So what we're going to do is go over to Dynamics and our native Pro Tools Compressor/Limiter, and let's play for a little bit.
(Music playing) Now the first thing we want to do is set the Attack and the Release time. Now we want it to breed with the track, but it's a little more forgiving on the Mix Buss than it is on individual instruments. So what we can do is actually like we did with the original instruments is bring the Attack and Release all the way to their max positions and adjust them from there. (Music playing) And what we're trying to do is we're setting the Attack until just about the time it begins the sound dull. Once it sounds dull we're going to stop there or even back it off a bit.
(Music playing) Now you can hear that sounds really bad. So we definitely don't want it there. we'll back it off. (Music playing) That sounds a lot better. Now let's back off and Release. It's 5 milliseconds which is way short. Well, let's back this also. It's a little bit longer. (Music playing) Now we can see it's about 6 dB of compression and sometimes it peaks up to 12. That's a lot.
What we're going to do is back off the threshold and now let's listen to this. (Music playing) Usually if we only get 2 or 3 dB of compression 4 dB at the most on peaks that's just about right. We don't want to have too much compression. We just want enough that it glues the mix together. Now the next thing we're going to do is we're going to raise it Gain, because now that we have the peaks under control, now we can add a little bit more Gain to the Master.
(Music playing) Now let's listen to the difference. What we'll do is we'll bypass it, just so you can here what it was like before the compressor and then we'll put the compressor in. (Music playing) The beauty of this is the low- end begins to come up a little bit.
Suddenly the Kick Drum and the Bass are a little bit more in your face and that's the glue that everyone is talking about. That's why everyone likes to use the Buss Compressor a lot. The problem here is if we use too much compression you begin to suddenly suck all of the dynamics and the life out of the mix. So just a little bit goes a really long way. Also, remember that the Ratio Control is usually set fairly low, 2:1, 3:1, 4:1 at most. We don't want that ratio too high. If you set it too high you'll find you'll suck all of the dynamics out of the mix and that's certainly not what you want.
The other thing that is kind of interesting is the Knee control. Now what the Knee control does is it affects when the compressor is going to kick in. Basically, if it's a hard knee, if it's a 0 dB like it is now, it means that once it hits threshold it automatically kicks in. If we we're to move the Knee control up, you can take notice up here what happens is the Knee begins to soften. What that means is the compressor gradually turns on and it sounds a little bit better.
So let's have a listen. (Music playing) So that's how you set up a Mix Buss Compressor to make your mix louder and punchier. Remember that a little goes a long way and the idea is to make the compressor be with the music.
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