Mix Bus Compression: the pros and cons of using a mix bus compressor

Mix Bus Compression: the pros and cons of using a mix bus compressorUsing mix bus compression is a process which divides many producers. Whilst some swear by using mix bus compression, others avoid it at all costs.

What is mix bus compression

Mix bus compression refers to the process of passing your whole mix through a compressor, which is inserted on your mix bus. Many producers use this process to add a sense of cohesiveness, glue and polish to their songs.

The risks of mix bus compression

However, when it comes to compression, it’s easy to over do it. Adding too much compression can make your song sound dull, lifeless and squashed. So, let’s set out a few basic parameters that you can use as a starting point so that your mix bus compression enhances your mix, and doesn’t impact it negatively.

How to use a mix bus compressor

Generally speaking, mix bus compression should be subtle. To achieve this, it’s usually best to start out with a ratio of about 2:1 or 3:1 at most.

Set your threshold so that you get about 2 – 3dB of gain reduction.

When it comes to the attack time, use a slower attack time. That way, the compressor doesn’t clamp down on the transients. It lets the initial impact undergo a lower amount of compression, helping you to retain the punch in your mix.

Then go for a faster attack time, so that the compressor resets quickly.

These settings offer a great starting point which should give you a nice subtle mix bus compression, without squashing your track. From here, you can tailor the settings to get the compression sounding the way you want.

Not sure if mix bus compression is right for you?

As with many of the various elements of mixing, if you’re not sure whether or not mix bus compression is right for you, then the best thing to do is try it and find out for yourself.

Do you use mix bus compression in your songs?


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