Kim Lajoie's blog

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 […]

Saturation – transient sounds vs sustained sounds

by Kim Lajoie on June 2, 2014

Saturation is what happens when audio is turned up too much – so much that the next device in the chain can’t handle it. The result is that the loudest parts of the sound are distorted and the quieter parts of the sound are left unchanged. This dynamic behaviour is similar to a compressor, except […]

Mastering for loudness. Don’t do it. Or if you have to, try this…

by Kim Lajoie on May 5, 2014

While mixing is the process of making sure the sounds in a mix are clear and well- balanced, mastering is the process of making sure each song on a release is clear and well-balanced with the other songs on the release. The tools available to a mastering engineer are similar to those used by a […]

The 3 ways that I use saturation in a mix

by Kim Lajoie on July 25, 2013

This post was originally published on Resoundsound. Saturation is a wonderful tool for mixing. This is especially true for computer-based DAWs, which allow us to go from transparent clean digital sound through to smeared murky smashed sound. And everywhere in between. The variety of available plugins and different approaches give producers and engineers a huge […]

Do you mix dirty or clean?

by Kim Lajoie on June 23, 2013

I like to mix dirty. Give me some thick compression. Overdrive everything. Add some hair. Bring in some mojo. Bring in some funk. Make it a bit ugly. Make it big, alive and breathing. But not everyone shares my taste. When I started mixing for other artists, I had a few situations where I’d added […]

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. […]

Five secrets to making your mix louder

by Kim Lajoie on February 22, 2010

Don’t dismiss this post yet! Even if you’re in the ‘more dynamics’ brigade, these tips will give you clearer mixes that suffer less in mastering. That means better-preserved dynamics and higher fidelity! For those of you who really do want your mixs SUPER LOUD, this tips will let you push more volume without your sound […]

What is saturation?

by Kim Lajoie on July 27, 2009

Saturation used to be something that happened in the analogue world. Typically, this is when a gain stageĀ is overloaded – the signal level exceeds the available headroom. When this happens, the signal is saturated. Basically, the sound gets distorted because you turned it up too high. The result of this is that the parts of […]

Limiting vs Clipping

by Kim Lajoie on July 7, 2009

Limiting is an extreme approach to compression. Where compression reduces the degree by which sounds can go louder than the threshold, limiting is designed to stop sounds from being any louder than the threshold at all. Limiters usually have simpler controls to compressors, but are functionally similar to compressors with high ratio and fast attack. […]

Vocal processing

by Kim Lajoie on May 1, 2009

My usual vocal processing chain consists of several stages: Gate, EQ, Compression, De-Essing, and reverb (as a send). Gate This is first in the chain so the gate has the full dynamic range of the original audio. The more natural the dynamic range available to the gate, but easier it is to set the threshold […]