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Multi-chaining compressors in mixing/premastering

hi everyone

please allow me to pick your brains on a few vexing questions..

what is the benefit of having 2 or more compressors in a chain? i have gleaned that during mixing, a couple of compressor inserts can be used on one track (e.g. the squashing acoustic topic).

would this be (+plus double tracked) for example the full and fat sound on smells like teen spirit (old, i know, but a classic and i would like to learn how all the classic sounds are done) after the drums come in?

also, i hear that around 10 compressors are sometimes chained when pre-mastering. is this overkill, or can this sound be emulated (on a not-so professional basis) using the uad-1? which leads me onto my final question....

how much better is high end equipment? would a world class sound engineer/producer be able to produce a world class mix using uad-1 and powercore effects, indistiguishable (to everyone but other world class sound engineers)? :?

p.s. any experienced powercore and uad-1 owner want to compare compressors? i think that they sound very similar, the exception being the fairchild which has an additional warmth too it.

there, the floor is all yours. :wink:

thanks for any responses, appreciated..


MASSIVE Mastering

Active Member
I know I'll get a lot of flack for this, which is a bummer, as I'm a HUGE fan of the UAD stuff. S'wonderful, S'marvelous, but IMHO, and indeed most of the industry, an analog mastering chain is superior. Especially when it comes to compression. Plugs don't have the headroom. If the \"volume wars\" weren't destroying so much music (TEN compressors on a mix buss? That's a new one on me), then digital isn't so bad. But when sheer volume is so damn important, I'm sorry... It's analog all the way.

The difference between high-end and low-end gear is hard to explain... It's not usually what it does - It's what it doesn't do. It's the incredible headroom that digital doesn't understand. And that \"organic magic\" that 1's and 0's don't have. Alas, as usual, I digress...

Chaining a couple compressors on a track certainly isn't anything that unusual... Settings will vary widely - Experimentation is key.
thanks john,

i sorta guessed that high-end stuff would be a lot better, but it is good to get it confirmed. :(

i got the 10ish (probably less know i think about it, but i cant remember) compressor in a row thing from either future music or music tech in an article bout premastering. they said that the last compressor in the chain did about 50% of the work. :?

and folks, what about the \"standard\" mixing techiques for distorted guitar? do you compress the group channel if double tracking and what compressors (uad/poco) work for you guys? for full and fat rythm?

cheers, i'm a bit of an audio processing newbster, but i find i learn a lot from forums, and help is appreciated! :)



Active Member
10 compressors? Yikes.

Well, two compressors (plugins or analog) on a vocal is really cool.

The first one set with fast attack and the second one with a much slower attack. Mess with the releases to get to where things sound right. I've found you can really make a vocal pop out this way.

1176 for sounds great on distorted guitars, on the individual tracks. Sometimes I use a LA2A on the distorted guitar bus to make things blend better, that tends to be when there are quite a few guitars, for me.

At times depending how distorted things are I may compress very little if at all. EQing is key with distorted guitar IMO, work with filtering freq. out below certain freq: 80hz, 100hz, even 150hz or a bit higher may work on a particular track. Let your ears be the guide.


Established Member
...and let your soul be your pilot. :)
cheers mpc, i'll give this a bash.

i have sold my soundcard and am waiting for the replacement to get delivered so i'm outta action for a few days though. :cry:

and sniper, i have no soul, i had to sell it to buy my daw! :D

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