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Evening out instrumental with compression?


Alphabet Beats

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Hey all. I've been sticking to analog direct recordings with Logic to make songs (I use a Jupiter 80) but every time, the full mix sounds very soft because the recordings are very soft. When I use compressor individually on the parts, the master is still incredibly soft. Does anyone know of a good compressor setting/plugin that can even out the sound of the whole instrumental? I don't know how else to fix this so I'm assuming compressors can do the trick. The problem is that I have to have my own volume at nearly 100 just to hear the track as it would sound normally... so thanks in advance.
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To ask a naive question: if your individual tracks are soft, why not raise their levels? Or just raise the level of the mix? Is the problem that you have peaks which prevent the tracks or mix being made louder without distortion?

Yes, I want to prevent distortion while having the whole mix sounding at normal volume without me having to be at 100 volume level.

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Assuming you've already applied compression to the individual tracks, it sounds like you may want to use a limiter / volume maximizer on the stereo bus. I use Ozone's Maximizer plugin for this purpose, but Logic's Adaptive Limiter should also serve as a free option.

So this would be better than just making the volume of the master track louder? And yes I have individually applied compressor.

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Adding level to your master bus will work until the normalization point - where the loudest part of your track (probably a peak) hits 0dbFS. Any amplification after that will result in distortion.

That's also part of my problem. One part of the whole track hits a peak, while the rest of the track is very soft so it normalizes to that level. I should've clarified in the OP, but this is the source of my problem. Would a compressor fix this?

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Yes, that's one of the main applications of compressors. If the peak is a "spike" rather than an area of music I suspect that a limiter would be the best tool. (But in the end a limiter is just a compressor with a high ratio.)

Yeah it's just a spike rather than a part of the actual song. Which compressor would you recommend me to use? Thank you so much!

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