Foundations of Audio: Compression and Dynamic Processing

with Brian Lee White
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Foundations of Audio: Compression and Dynamic Processing
Video duration: 0s 2h 25m Appropriate for all Updated Jan 10, 2014


In this first installment of the Foundations of Audio series, author Brian Lee White shows how to improve the sound of a mix with compressors, limiters, gates, de-essers, and other dynamic processors. The course explains the fundamentals of sound waves, and amplitude, explores common compressor controls, and shows how to eliminate unwanted noise using gates and expanders. The course also demonstrates best practices in compression and limiting in a variety of audio applications and covers sculpting the attack and decay of individual notes with transient shapers and applying frequency specific dynamics control with multiband compressors. Exercise files accompany the course and include special Get in the Mix session files.

Topics include:
  • Measuring amplitude
  • Understanding dynamic range
  • Introducing compressors
  • Utilizing compression ratios
  • Applying attack and release
  • Evening out a vocal performance with compression
  • Adding punch and sustain to drums
  • Using compression presets intelligently
  • How to record with compression
  • Solving common mix problems with limiters
  • De-essing a vocal track
  • Using gates and expanders
  • Controlling frequency content with multiband compressors
  • Using sidechains creatively
  • Keying gates and compressors
  • Fixing overcompressed tracks
  • Using mixbus compression
  • Working with parallel compression
  • Compression and limiting best practices
Audio + Music


Hi! I am Brian Lee White and welcome to Foundations of Audio: Compression and Dynamic Processing. In this course, we'll look at the most common dynamics processors, including compressors, limiters, de-essers, expander gates, and transient shapers. I will start by covering the fundamentals of sound waves and amplitude. Then I will break down the common controls of the compressor and show you how to add punch and sustain to tracks in your mix. (music playing) I will demonstrate how to maximize mix loudness using brickwall limiters, use a de-esser to de-ess a vocal track, and apply gates and expanders to eliminate unwanted noise and bleed on your tracks.

I will then explain how to best utilize multi-band compressors and use transient shapers to scope the attack and decay of individual notes. (music playing) I will cover techniques including parallel compression, ducking compression, side-chain setups, mixed-bus compression. and using software models of vintage hardware. Lastly, I will discuss best practices for when and how to use compression and limiting in your mixes.

Throughout the course I will also provide you with guided exercise content in the form of Get in the Mix demonstration sessions that you can open up in your own digital audio workstation. Watch the video about the Get in the Mix content to learn more about this unique learning experience. Now, let's get started with Foundations of Audio: Compression and Dynamic Processing.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Foundations of Audio: Compression and Dynamic Processing .

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Q: This course was updated on 1/10/2014. What changed?
A: The Get in the Mix videos have been updated to the most recent version of Pro Tools. Also, the course now includes free Get in the Mix sessions for two more DAWs: Logic Pro X and Pro Tools 11.
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