Kim Lajoie's blog

Multiband compression

by Kim Lajoie on January 12, 2015

Multiband compression is a complex and subtle tool. Compression itself is one of the more complex processes commonly used in mixing. Multiband compression multiplies that complexity. Compared to regular compression (also called ‘full band’ compression), multiband compression is much more complex because it works by applying several compressors in parallel, each operating on its own […]

Using compression and saturation to increase loudness

by Kim Lajoie on November 3, 2014

The second-most powerful sound-shaping tool (after EQ) available to mix engineers is compression. This is most commonly used to reduce the dynamic range of a sound. More extreme compression can be used to reduce the crest factor of a sound. Unlike EQ, excessive amounts of compression might not sound unpleasant. Here, it depends on the […]

A basic primer on compression

by Kim Lajoie on October 6, 2014

Compression is a very important tool to a mix engineer. Unlike volume and EQ, however, compression can sometimes be difficult to hear. Where EQ adjusts the tone of the sound, compression adjusts the dynamics. The simplest way to understand compression is as a process that automatically turns the volume down when the input sound gets […]

What is sidechain compression?

by Kim Lajoie on June 30, 2014

Sidechain compression is a special variant of regular channel compression. A normal compressor adjusts the output level of the audio based on the input level. Sidechain compression, however, adjusts the output level of the audio based on the level of a different audio channel. This means that the volume of a channel reacts to the […]

Parallel Compression on the Whole Mix… why?

by Kim Lajoie on December 19, 2013

Well this is interesting: We use parallel compression on drums. We use it on vocals. We use it on really anything and everything. So why not on the whole mix? […] The pros are that you can get a little bit of extra thickness, movement and color in a fairly transparent way. It looks like […]

Compressing rap vocals (and other thick and aggressive vocals)

by Kim Lajoie on March 3, 2012

Speaking of compression, Matthew Weiss: Rap is generally an in-your-face, visceral style of music. The kick is physical, the snare is physical, subtlety isn’t really the overall goal. And the vocals are paramount. I’ve mixed a number of rap records where the vocals are lower in the mix, but never have I thought it was a […]

5 Compression Mistakes That Keep Even “Smart” People Stuck

by Kim Lajoie on March 2, 2012

Joe Gilder: 1. Waiting until the end of the mix to add compression to the mix bus. This is the easiest way to unravel a great mix. If you want to compress the entire mix (which is totally fine to do), make sure you add the compressor to your mix bus EARLY in the process. […]

A simple explanation of compression? No, actually it’s quite comprehensive

by Kim Lajoie on January 15, 2012

And in a good way. Keith Freund: Shorter attack and release times (smaller numbers) will make vocals sound more “energetic,” louder, and will also bring out the breaths between words. Longer attack and release times (higher numbers) will make vocals “punchier” which obviously isn’t as important for vocals as it is for other instruments like […]

6+ ways to get bigger bass

by Kim Lajoie on October 31, 2011

This is about basslines, not (necessarily) the frequency range. The bassline is the harmonic foundation of a track. A solid mix often needs a solid bassline. So how do you get there? How do you stop your basslines from sounding weak or flabby? Here are some techniques to consider: EQ. This is the big one. […]

Different types of limiters

by Kim Lajoie on December 27, 2010

Occasionally I see people confused by all the different kinds of limiters. Words like ‘brickwall’ and ‘Maximiser’ can confusing – especially when marketing material is heavy on hyperbole and light on substance. It’s quite simple really. A limiter is – at its essence – a compressor with a very high ratio and a very fast […]