How To Use Compression | Rob Mills’ Mixing Blog # 2
How To Use Compression and More| Rob Mills’ Mixing Blog Week 2
The second week of the mixing and mastering course opened with an even more relaxed atmosphere, as everyone had got to know one another a little from the previous session. This week we were to learn about dynamics and Al chose to begin this topic by teaching the class about noise gates. Accompanied by a further array of diagrams displayed on the large monitor behind his desk, he explained from the very basics how a noise gate works, whilst demonstrating his points simultaneously in Logic. For those who have never bothered to delve beyond the world of presets when it comes to dynamics processing, getting to grips with a noise gate is a simple way in – and the vast collection of diagrams that Al has sourced to illustrate almost every point provided useful visual aids.
Before long we were applying what we had been shown to mixing a drum kit in our DAWs. The files we had were of a live kit, so we able to use the noise gates to reduce the bleed of the other drums and create a much tighter sound. We were also taught about how to focus the frequencies a noise gate responds to – an invaluable tool for taming the bleed from a snare or high-hat. Another thing Al demonstrated that I had never experimented with before was side-chaining a noise gate to provide a stuttering effect. This trick greatly improved what was, to me, a dull synth track in a tune I was mixing in the class.
Despite the dull summer we were blessed with a warm afternoon. The class lunched together at a pub by a green, accompanied by Al and Dave. Hot sun and good food kept spirits high. Because so much of the class involves listening to our instructor, or mixing on headphones at our desks, I can only stress again that it is nice that an effort is made to make the course a pleasant, sociable experience.