Kim Lajoie's blog

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 […]

Six ways to get bigger beats

by Kim Lajoie on September 13, 2010

Who doesn’t want bigger beats? Well, maybe your neighbours. But maybe you don’t like your neighbours. Who am I to judge? I just supply the tools. It’s up to you to use them ethically. Here are some quick tips: Depth. Separate your drums into two groups – main foreground drums (kick and snare) and secondary […]

Five ways to deal with an ugly vocal

by Kim Lajoie on May 31, 2010

Every once in a while as a producer or engineer, a project will come your way with one of those singers. With an… unconventional voice. Maybe they’re inexperienced. Maybe their voice is just like that. Maybe they’re doing it deliberately because they like it. Whatever the reason, you’ll recognise this kind of project by that […]

What’s wrong with transient shapers?

by Kim Lajoie on April 19, 2010

Transient shapers are processors that adjust the dynamics of a sound. Rather than changing the dynamic range like a compressor, transient shapers operate only on the initial onset of the sound – the transient. The initial smack of a drum. The plink of a piano. The pick of a guitar or bass. They don’t work […]