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Compression Explained

14 Tutorials (2hr 0min 57sec)

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If you produce and mix music, you've got to understand how compression is the glue holding everything together. In this all new, in-depth video tutorial series, studio expert Dave Askew teaches you everything you need to know about compression from the beginning to end.

NOTE: If you purchased the original version of "Compression Explained", log in now to download the new version for free!

This series sets out to explain what compression is, how compressors work, and how to use compression in sound design, mixing, and mastering.
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Dave's videos highlight using native and DSP-based software compressors, as well as hardware compressors, so you can use this information with any DAW or hardware compressor unit.

Dave starts out with a primer on the basic components of an audio signal, which leads into an explanation of the basics of dynamic range. After that, Dave offers a brief history of how compression developed into the staple of audio production it is today.

Next, Dave explores the kinds of compressors in use today, and the electrical components that control them, as well as the components the software versions emulate. That leads directly into videos on the specific controls common to most compressors: threshold, ratio, and makeup gain.

Dave now covers the more creative compressor controls by showing you how to shape your sound with various types of envelope controls. He reveals the different "knee" behaviors, where the threshold meets the compression ratio, and explains how you can control your compressor using a different signal via the sidechain input.

Dave continues with a video on alternate compressor types, such as multiband compressors, upward compressors, and limiters, as well as how you can stack compressors using parallel or serial compression.

Finally, Dave wraps up the series with videos showing you how to apply everything you've learned. He shares his approach to mixing with compression, and what goes into his decision making process. Then he shows you how to use compression when mastering audio for final release to the world.

Knowing how to use compression can be the difference between a muddy and dull sounding mix or a polished and exciting one. If you've ever wanted to master these vital dynamics techniques, watch "Compression Explained" today!

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Dave Askew

1. When did you start dabbling in music?

I've been a musician since a very early age starting with playing the trumpet, guitar, bass, and piano. Not the drums though, my brother got those genes. I am an excellent finger drummer though to say the least!

2. What training have you had?

For formal training I took regular music lessons in grade school and high school which were fortified with training from private tutors. After school I joined the Army band and went through the Army School of Music as well. I'd like to say that most of what I've learned though came through experience and having hands-on opportunities.

3. When did you get into recording?

During my stay in the Army I was the live sound manager. I loved operating the mixing board but I loathed the 'live' environment. I truly enjoyed making things sound great but I didn't like the fact that there is so little room for error in the live setting. I had wished for more time to invest in being able to make something that sounds ok, turn into something phenomenal. I started by recording our Army band performances on a Yamaha AW1600 for fun, but really enjoyed that I could capture that moment then take my time to make it sound amazing without having to worry about the crowd booing. The rest is history!

4. People you have worked with/for?

A few musical highlights have been running live sound for the President of the US, and doing some on the side tech work for the band Dope. I also was able to work with Virus on one of his side projects. Over the years though my focus has been mainly in customer service and tech, so I've talked with thousands of industry professionals on a daily basis which have truly been too numerous to name individually.

5. Why are you so good at training people?

Growing up I always felt that I spent a lot of time training myself how to do things, but oddly enough I always thought I'd never make a great teacher even though I'm a geek through and through. In the early part of my career I turned down so many opportunities to teach music and engineering. I think part of that came with my own insecurity of not having the formal education that society tells us that we need to succeed. It took a lot of time, practice, and personal education to get me past that hump of feeling confident in trusting that what I taught myself was legit. I've finally reached a point where I feel like I have a lot to offer in terms of knowledge, but most of it has come through investing the time with having the hands on experience that not even formally educated people get sometimes. I truly believe the best way to learn something is to get your hands on it and immerse yourself in every little detail. Groove 3 is a great avenue to be able to share that knowledge.

Compression Explained is rated 5.0 out of 5 by 9.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from That's how tutorials and courses should be Great explanation of the type of compression, useful additional material. great view examples of the diferent types of compressor and how they affect the signal, sonically and also visual. I would see some of the videos time to time when I need some ideas how to use some of my compressors and to give explanation to people that ask me how they work
Date published: 2016-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Video Thank you for this wonderful video. As a producer, I've always struggle of understanding how compression work. However, after watching this tutorial, it has given me an insight on how a compression works and what type of compression to use... this tutorial will definitely be my referencing video, to improve my compression skills.
Date published: 2016-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent subject First off Dave has an excellent voice - yes. I've listened to many on YouTube and like the kids in the car saying "Are we there yet?" Sometimes a 5 min video felt like 25 minutes. Dave kept it interesting throughout the tutorials. Compression is a plug-in I avoided for many years cause it was too complicated. Dave took the time thru each video (with graphics) to break it all down to something understandable. Couldn't wait to get to the next video.
Date published: 2016-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Review on this Topic Yet! I've watched quite a few tutorial series' on this subject and this is by far the best. The tutor explains all you need to know in a relevant and cogent way, not neglecting to make key concepts seem easily digestible and understandable.
Date published: 2016-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from another great tutorial. the tutorial on compression was just what I needed to make the penny drop, thanks.
Date published: 2016-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great Yes Yes great video / leaned a lot easy to understand
Date published: 2016-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Learned a lot I've always kind of felt my way around compressors, but having a much clearer idea of what they do and how they work is going to be really helpful going forward.
Date published: 2016-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Explained the different compressor types I was always wondering what the difference was between VCA, FET, Vari-Mu, and Optical compressors. This was a breath of fresh air! Great coverage of all the things that other compressor tutorials leave out. My only gripe was that the sample song files were corrupt and would only play about the first minute of the songs but they will probably have that corrected.
Date published: 2016-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Compression Demystified! One of the best basics on compression that I have heard. Dave Askew knows his subject and is able to provide a comprehending tutorial for any musician desiring to improve audio in recording.
Date published: 2016-07-03
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