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Compression - yes or no


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I have found that by compressing some loops I can bring them to a better volume. So then I wnt nuts and applies compression  to loads of things

When I exported as MP3 I noticed the track is overall more quiet than my previous exported song as MP3.  

Is this solely because of using a lot of compression or is it something else?

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Compression is gain reduction, literally. That's why you have the Make up gain knob. So always compare by bypassing the compressor so you can hear the difference and what the plugin does to the source.

But too much compression can also ruin a sound by killing its transients, especially on percussive stuff.

And when you bounce, make sure Normalize is set to Off.

Edited by triplets
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Compression allows you to reduce the dynamic of an audio signal so that the "peaks" are reduced in gain, allowing you to then end up with a louder sound without clipping. The counterpart is that you're softening the peaks: the attacks, the transients, the high frequency content.... so you may end up with a sound that's duller, less punchy, less defined.. 

So while compression may at first appear like it's making everything magically louder without clipping, if overused it may ruin an audio signal or a mix. 

So as with most things, it's best used in moderation, and only when needed. The best way to know when and where to use it is to practice using it and really listening to everything the compression does to a sound: changes in volume, but also frequency, attacks, sustain etc...

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Well, I have also noticed – as did the OP – that audio characteristics can also affect "the other type of compression."  Namely, what MP3 uses to make the file-size smaller.

If you compare in-project playback to an MP3 made from that project, the results can be very different.  Or not.  (I am not knowledgeable of exactly what the algorithms are, so as to be able to say exactly what input-differences cause the effect, but of course all digital compression algorithms are very-affected by the characteristics of their inputs.)

Edited by MikeRobinson
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