“Should I use a buss compressor on my mix ?”
That’s a question I get asked a lot, and as a mastering engineer, I’m conflicted about what advice to give. The follow-up, “should it be single or multi-band ?” is easier to answer, though.
First of all:
Why would you use a buss compressor over your whole mix anyway ?
This post started out as a comment on The Recording Revolution about buss compression, and Graham’s video from that post (above) gives a good explanation.
He’s pretty clear that you should compress your whole mix, and the truth is that almost all “name” engineers in the pop, rock and indie genres, will slap an SSL or similar buss compressor over the mix as one of the first things they do when setting up a mix.
Simple, right ?
Well… maybe. A great buss compressor used on a great mix will often “glue it together” nicely, as Graham says. It’s a tried and tested technique that has been used on a huge number of hit records.