When should you compress vocals?

When to compress vocals

Are you wondering when is the right time to compress your vocals…or alternatively, do you feel unsatisfied every time you compress your vocal? It’s not a big deal anymore; we’ve got you sorted. In this article, we are going to look at when should you compress vocals? Just be sure to adhere to every detail after reading the whole of this article to your full understanding.

Photo by Blue Track Audio / CC BY

Compression basically refers to an audio signal processing action, which reduces loud sound volumes or amplifies sounds which are quiet thereby either compressing or reducing the dynamic range of an audio signal. Compression is frequently applied in reinforcement of live sound, recording and reproduction of sound, in broadcasting etc. The application of compression however, demands knowledge of when to use it. The following is an attempt describing when to compress vocals:

Compress the vocals when the level of a signal of an audio is too high and its amplitude surpasses a definite threshold.  The threshold is normally set in units called decibels. When the level of the signal rises beyond the threshold, compress the vocals by delaying the attack setting. This will happen for a timeframe which is determined by the release when the input signal falls under the threshold.

A compressor makes available the phases of attack and release.  Therefore, compress the vocals when attack is needed. Attack is the duration when the compressor is reducing gain in reply to increased level of the input. Compress the vocals also when you want to release. Release is the interlude when the compressor is increasing the gain in reply to the reduced level of the input.

Compression of vocals is used when in need of either hard knee or soft knee selection. This control function is used to determine whether the bend available in the curve of response which is in between the above and below threshold is abrupt or gradual. The soft knee gradually increases the ratio of comprehension as the level increase and ultimately arrives at the ratio of comprehension set by the user.

Stereo linking achievement will require you to compress your vocals. A compressor in stereo linking mode uses similar level of gain reduction to both the two channels. This is very pivotal in order to prevent the probability of occurrence of image shifting which may occur if each channel was to be compressed solely.

Make up gain will make it necessary to compress the vocals. This is so since the compressor reduces the gain of the signal. The capacity for adding a fixed make-up gain amount at the level of output is normally provided to enable the usage of an optimum level.

The function of look-ahead is intended to defeat the dilemma of being compelled to finding the middle ground between slow rates of attack which produce smooth-sounding changes in gain, and fast rates of attack with the ability to catch transistors. For this to take   place, it’s imperative to compress the vocals. It helps to split the signal and to delay one side.

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