Minimalist Guide To Compression!

Shared from Bjorgvin Benediktsson at


Here's a quick compression trick you might like.

This one's about contrast and how it relates to the volume of the mix, not the volume of your speakers. A great mix is a dynamic mix that takes you on a ride. 

The quiet parts are quiet while still being heard whereas the louder parts are quiet and punchy without being squashed.

This three step tip will teach you a really simple way to use compression and limiting effectively without squashing your whole song.


Step 1 - Mix the LOUDEST part of the song

You've probably read about the importance of getting a great static mix before. Find the loudest part of the song, loop it and go to town on it. 

Mix that part until it makes you cry it's so good. Use all your compressors and limiters to get that part really really rocking.

Once you've got that part of the song sounding really great you can go back to the beginning and mix the rest of the song.

Step 2 - Leave your compressors and limiters ALONE

Mix the rest of the song without touching your compressors or limiters.  If all your hard hitting compression is pumping along nicely during the loudest parts of the song then don't add more compression in the quieter parts.

This method gives your quiet parts a nice dynamic range while giving your loud parts the punch they need. If you add more compression to the vocal during the calm verse then it'll sound squashed and overly compressed in the choruses.

Step 3 - Automate, DON'T compress

Don't think that your instruments need more compression in the verses just because they're quieter. Just automate the phrases that need a little more volume.

And that's it. Try this method for your next mix if you're struggling with trying to get the dynamics just right.

Jordan Murphy