Mixing Tutorial

Compression Explained®

  4.8   (51)  - log in to review
14 Videos | Length: 2hr 0min 57sec
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    Tutorial 1

    Introduction

    1:13

    Welcome to Compression Explained! Let's get to know each other and learn the best way to approach this course.

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    Tutorial 2

    Audio Signal Anatomy

    4:27

    Before we can understand how compression works, it's important to understand the basic components of what make up an audio signal. We take a look at audio signals, and learn more about levels and metering.

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    Tutorial 3

    Dynamic Range

    3:27

    Learn the basics of Dynamic Range as we continue exploring how to read an audio meter.

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    Tutorial 4

    A Brief History

    2:57

    Find out how compression started as a tool, and ended up becoming one of the necessary staples of recording equipment.

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    Tutorial 5

    Compressor Types

    14:12

    Learn about the 4 types of compressors and the electrical components that control them. We'll take a look at some classic staples that paved the way for the industry.

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    Tutorial 6

    Threshold, Ratio & Makeup Gain

    9:53

    Get out your abacus! Its time to do some audio math and figure out what these important controls do to our audio signal.

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    Tutorial 7

    Envelope Controls

    10:25

    Learn how to shape your sound by exploring the different types of Envelope controls.

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    Tutorial 8

    The Knee

    7:06

    Explore the area where the threshold meets the ratio, and see how it plays an important role on the sound and behavior of the compressor.

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    Tutorial 9

    The Sidechain

    11:56

    Control your compressor from a different audio signal and learn about the sidechain input.

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    Tutorial 10

    Alternative Compression Types

    13:23

    Learn all about alternative compression types like multiband compression, upward compression, and limiting.

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    Tutorial 11

    Stacking Things Up

    12:54

    Parallel compression vs. Serial compression. Find out what these techniques and concepts are all about and learn what to watch out for when using compression.

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    Tutorial 12

    Mixing with Compression Pt. 1

    5:56

    Learn about the approach to mixing before compression is applied. Now that you know how to compress, learn when to compress.

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    Tutorial 13

    Mixing with Compression Pt. 2

    9:20

    Learn about the essentials when using compression in a mix. Find out what goes into the decision making process when applying compression to different tracks.

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    Tutorial 14

    Mastering with Compression

    13:48

    When it comes to mastering, its important to have a grasp on what goals we are trying to achieve through the means of compression. Learn about average loudness, level matching, Mid-Side processing, and stereo linking!

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.

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!

J.K. Bartlebaugh
Submitted 4 days ago

Great Graphical Examples

I really enjoyed this series of videos. I like the brief history of compression and the graphical examples shown in the video. My knowledge of compression has definitely improved by watching. I may have missed it in the videos but who is the band used in the audio examples?

I am a: Hobbyist, Semi-Pro, Musician, Producer, Audio Engineer, Cakewalk Sonar, Pro Tools

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ravechoe
Submitted 1 week ago

Quality production and good overview of compression

Very well produced videos, good intro into compression basics

I am a: Hobbyist, Beat Maker, Ableton Live, Logic Pro

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BGBeatz1
Submitted 3 weeks ago

very informative

It help me in learning the fundamentals of compression

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MSTRBLACK
Submitted 1 month ago

Learned a Lot...

This course goes into detail about compression, its history and modern contemporary uses. I learned how a compressor works with its circuitry, its signal flow and what exactly it does besides turning a signal down. I learned about the different types of metering used and some techniques for De Essing, gluing tracks together and overall level control. However, they could have definitely gone over how to compress instruments in the context of a mix much more thoroughly by giving examples and doing it in real time.
I disliked how the Mix and Master sections were handled. Rather than show you how things were done, they have you go and listen to 3 reference mixes and return to the lessons for a gloss over of how the mix sounds different without actually going into what was done to change the mix. Then they rehash what was already gone over and you don't get a full understanding of how compression changes the sound of instruments in relation to each other. I particularly didn't like the "plugging" of specific brands for the tools used, almost like an advertisement for the products. These are minor gripes though compared to the whole package which is why I only removed one star, as a beginner will definitely get there feet wet, I just prefer to be a little more soggy than I got.

I am a: Hobbyist, Musician, Producer, Beat Maker, Audio Engineer, Sound Designer, Logic Pro, Reason

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turraf
Submitted 2 months ago

Great primer

In a nutshell: what is compression, what are compressors and how you can use them. Everything is covered, no stones left unturned. Great for beginners and great for seasoned producers who need some review.

I am a: Hobbyist, Musician, Ableton Live


multimarty
Submitted 3 months ago

well explained intro

Very good primer to a beginner to understand compressor.

I am a: Student, Beat Maker, FL Studio

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SimonHerring
Submitted 4 months ago

Excellent!

I got a lot from this tutorial. Everything was clear, concise and well presented. One very useful aspect was what the difference is with all the different compressors out there and ideas about when you might use them.

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svegliando
Submitted 5 months ago

Great resource on compression

Excellent tutorial and will also make a great reference. The topics are presented logically and easy to follow. The best part was that I could practice with the concepts (between videos) which is very useful for learning. It is definitely not a series that you want to rush through.

I am a: Semi-Pro, Musician, Producer, Sound for Film/TV, Cubase

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Goldfish
Submitted 5 months ago

Great tutorial

Lots of useful details - even for a seasoned pro :-)

I am a: Professional, Musician, Audio Engineer, Sound Designer, Sound for Film/TV, Logic Pro, Pro Tools

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aimmedu
Submitted 6 months ago

Very Educational

Great for note taking

I am a: Beginner, Student

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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.

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Compression Explained® is rated 4.8 out of 5 by 51.
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Great Graphical Examples I really enjoyed this series of videos. I like the brief history of compression and the graphical examples shown in the video. My knowledge of compression has definitely improved by watching. I may have missed it in the videos but who is the band used in the audio examples?
Date published: 2018-02-19
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Quality production and good overview of compression Very well produced videos, good intro into compression basics
Date published: 2018-02-16
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from very informative It help me in learning the fundamentals of compression
Date published: 2018-02-05
Rated 4.0 out of 5 by from Learned a Lot... This course goes into detail about compression, its history and modern contemporary uses. I learned how a compressor works with its circuitry, its signal flow and what exactly it does besides turning a signal down. I learned about the different types of metering used and some techniques for De Essing, gluing tracks together and overall level control. However, they could have definitely gone over how to compress instruments in the context of a mix much more thoroughly by giving examples and doing it in real time.
I disliked how the Mix and Master sections were handled. Rather than show you how things were done, they have you go and listen to 3 reference mixes and return to the lessons for a gloss over of how the mix sounds different without actually going into what was done to change the mix. Then they rehash what was already gone over and you don't get a full understanding of how compression changes the sound of instruments in relation to each other. I particularly didn't like the "plugging" of specific brands for the tools used, almost like an advertisement for the products. These are minor gripes though compared to the whole package which is why I only removed one star, as a beginner will definitely get there feet wet, I just prefer to be a little more soggy than I got.
Date published: 2018-01-13
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Great primer In a nutshell: what is compression, what are compressors and how you can use them. Everything is covered, no stones left unturned. Great for beginners and great for seasoned producers who need some review.
Date published: 2017-12-14
Rated 4.0 out of 5 by from well explained intro Very good primer to a beginner to understand compressor.
Date published: 2017-11-11
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Excellent! I got a lot from this tutorial. Everything was clear, concise and well presented. One very useful aspect was what the difference is with all the different compressors out there and ideas about when you might use them.
Date published: 2017-11-07
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Great resource on compression Excellent tutorial and will also make a great reference. The topics are presented logically and easy to follow. The best part was that I could practice with the concepts (between videos) which is very useful for learning. It is definitely not a series that you want to rush through.
Date published: 2017-10-10
Rated 4.0 out of 5 by from Great tutorial Lots of useful details - even for a seasoned pro :-)
Date published: 2017-09-30
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Very Educational Great for note taking
Date published: 2017-09-01
Rated 4.5 out of 5 by from very helpful 10
Date published: 2017-08-01
Rated 4.5 out of 5 by from Very good! Really good, many useful pro tips and also basics. Fast pace which is good, so you dont get bored or loose trace.
Date published: 2017-07-28
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Good Stuff! If you don't know how to use a compressor, this is the video for you. Very informative!
Date published: 2017-07-24
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Very helpfull! Finally got my All-Access pass and I'm already learning alot. Looking forward to seeing what other fine tutorials I find.
Date published: 2017-07-05
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Really a lot of information Fantastic course, I learnt a lot, nice examples for everything, I will definitely watch it once again soon to revise everything :)
Date published: 2017-06-27
Rated 4.0 out of 5 by from Great introduction this video made the mysterious world of compression clearler. Yet the topic is complex enough to go back to some tutorials more than once
Date published: 2017-06-16
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Pretty self explanatory Clear examples, with loads of usefull information
Date published: 2017-06-11
Rated 3.5 out of 5 by from great info but solid info tutorial but a bit overwhelming for a beginner
Date published: 2017-06-11
Rated 4.5 out of 5 by from Cool stuff! really helpful High quality lectures here
Date published: 2017-06-10
Rated 4.5 out of 5 by from I purchased this as part of a very low cost suite of videos that were advertised on Face Book. I was half expecting to be ripped off. Definitely not the case. This is a very good set of video clips which progressively take you through Compression. Recording is one of my hobbies. It can be an expensive hobby, including the cost of training, so I am self taught. I use Protools. Very few of the examples were using Protools but it didn't really matter at all. The theory could still be applied within Protools. More in depth than I expected and some things I may never use, but great to have a knowledge of them none the less.
Date published: 2017-05-19
Rated 3.0 out of 5 by from helpful Sometimes I wish it would be even more emphasis on the important stuff. I believe that some things are more important than other things. Also some more space between each sentence please. Let me have the time to think about what was just said, before next sentence. But overall, it is for sure good education. It's worth the money, and has so much good stuff.
Date published: 2017-05-02
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Nicely Explained I finally understand the different types of compressors!!! Thank you!!!
Date published: 2017-05-02
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Great! Not complicated / complex but detailed enough to cover the right basics, with a logical sequence in topic build-up. Geared more towards newbies, it is however also a short and useful 'refresher' for anyone who wishes to tweak their existing knowledge and know-how.
Date published: 2017-05-01
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Excellent presentation for a beginner chock full of info but flows smoothly from topic to topic
Date published: 2017-03-29
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Extremely helpful....Something that i thought was difficult, became very easy to see. I dabbled in compression, but without the specific knowledge of what, and how it is used. Now this video has opened up a brand new view.
Date published: 2017-03-17
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Great. Everything is well explained. All you have to know about compression.
Date published: 2017-03-06
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Wonderfully informative tutorial from Mr Askew I've done a few of Dave's tutorials - mostly related to Cubase and in a very short timeframe these complex technologies have transitioned from being tedious foes to becoming old friends. He has a perfect blend of knowledge depth and experience, the ability to convey complex ideas and the energy to make it compelling. In this series the graphics are very well done and really work for visual people. As I progress through this course I am starting to feel very comfortable with the 'dark art' of compression. Finally, after years of messing around and confusing myself with conflicting 'Tube clips and forums, I'm feeling like I'm getting somewhere here. I am very impressed and highly recommend this course.
Date published: 2017-02-08
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Great Tutorial on Compression I needed a refresher course on compression and this one served very well
Date published: 2017-02-03
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from A crystal clear explained in depth tutorial. I finally understand compression 120% great clear smooth tutorial.
Date published: 2017-01-19
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Super clair ! Les fondamentaux sont expliqués clairement, dans un anglais accessible aux non-natives speakers. Puis, ces fondamentaux sont articulés dans l'exploration d'une utilisation concrète des sus-dits comp. Que du bonheur ;-)
Date published: 2017-01-19
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Compression explained perfectly Explained all the way down to how equipment worked. This was one of the best courses on Groove3
Date published: 2017-01-12
Rated 4.0 out of 5 by from Very good Deep background knowledge about compression. Sadly the last parts about mixing and mastering with compression where a little hasty. I would have appreciated going more into detail there. That why I give it 4 of 5 stars.
Date published: 2017-01-11
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from An absolutely excellent series A great series of lessons on compression and its uses. This series of lessons is good for all levels of engineers from beginners to experts. There are so many techniques described in this series, I would say it's a must for anyone wanting to understand how compressors work, and the techniques involved in using them. From FX, to mastering, this series covers a huge range of subjects. Make sure to have your audio coming out of something better than Laptop speakers so you can really hear what is being demonstrated
Date published: 2017-01-08
Rated 3.0 out of 5 by from i don't think this was taught exceptionally iwell Is there a subtle art to teaching? Do different students have different perceptions of what artful teaching is? Bottom line: I don't think this course was conveyed well. It is difficult for me to say this because aesthetically/transitionally it was very well put together...but what else can I say- this guy didn't really convey the information well (in my opinion). Some good fundamentals were laid down on compression though. But a lot of it dragged for me. (i have been home recording for one year (using Logic Pro X), i am by no means an expert. I am an amateur (heavily devoted, but no professional training))
Date published: 2017-01-08
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Very good overview on compression While I have picked up things here and there form various sources online, this series really is the most comprehensive and straightforward overview on compression I've ever gone through.
Date published: 2016-10-28
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Perfect Powerful explaination of how to use compression and all the ways to use it. Fantastic!
Date published: 2016-10-15
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from One of the best explanations of compression I'm one of those people who has struggled with compression for years. Yes, I understand how the controls work... but how, why, and when do I actually use compression? This video series helped me out big time. Here was the key insight for me: it's all about keeping the quitest sounds above the noise floor, and the loudest sounds below digital clipping. So imagine you have a recording that has a whisper sound, and a train going by. If you increase the level so the whisper is above the noise floor, the train sound is going to be clipping. But if you lower the level so the train sound isn't clipping, then the whisper sound is going to be drowned in noise. Compression to the rescue! It was in the first few videos here that compression clicked for me – finally! Then the instructor shows examples of using compression to modify bass sounds, drums, and complete mixes... very very useful.
Date published: 2016-09-03
Rated 4.0 out of 5 by from Thorough, but... This tutorial series is very thorough, but when you teach what attack means you're not entirely correct. Attack is not how long the compressor waits to start reducing gain. Attack is how long the compressor takes to reduce the gain. Gain reduction is happening from the moment the threshold is crossed, and the attack time is how long it takes for the reduction to complete. An attack time of 15 ms means that as soon as the sound crosses above the threshold, it will take 15 ms for the sound to be pushed down. It doesn't mean that it will wait 15 ms to begin reducing gain.
Date published: 2016-08-22
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Great course! Really helped me to learn and fully understand compression
Date published: 2016-08-17
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Great explanations and compression demos Dave gives really clear and understandable explanations with good examples throughout.
Date published: 2016-08-10
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from From A to Z This is an excellent tutorial in that it will teach the newcomer to compression and push the veteran engineer into new thinking. I loved it
Date published: 2016-08-02
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from De-mystifies Compression A great class to really clarify an often confusing subject. Well done!
Date published: 2016-07-31
Rated 5.0 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 5.0 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 5.0 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 5.0 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 5.0 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 5.0 out of 5 by from great Yes Yes great video / leaned a lot easy to understand
Date published: 2016-07-07
Rated 5.0 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 5.0 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: 2016-07-06
Rated 5.0 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