An aquarium full of your favorite fish

I was at Steve's tonight with Davis listening to the next round of mixes. We're up to 5 of 11 now and should be done Monday. They sound great. However, when I asked Steve what exactly compression sounds like (apparently there's a lot of compression in the latest mix) he had this to say ...

"Imagine you have an aquarium full of all your favorite tropical fish. You also have a plexiglass vacuum-sealed plunger perfectly fitted to the opening of the aquarium tank. You place it on top and push down on the water a bit. This pushes the water more than gravity alone and the fish expand slightly as the water level compresses. As you keep pushing down on your plexiglass plunger the water gets smaller and the fish get bigger until eventually you don't see any water. All you see is all the fish ... at once. That's compression."

I don't exactly know what that means, but I like the story. Steve also told us that when you compress the shit out of a track, as he did with this one, the mix bounces along and reacts to it and such ... and most important (to me anyway) in Protools the file doesn't have any black space outside the mix any longer. It's all saturated colored tracks. Like a bunch of colorful fish squished together into a solid block of audio tofu. If you're like me a visual is probably most helpful. Here's our aquarium full of squished tofu fish:


3 comments

  • supadupadave

    supadupadave

    If I understand right compression makes the LOUD tracks quieter by reducing the dynamic range. You do the opposite to quiet sounds and track by using an expander. It’s an art form to use both but not too much. Otherwise you’ll get something that really does have a squashed sound, or no dynamic range. A really good book at explaining all of this is called the “The Sound Reinforcement Handbook” by Yamaha. :)

    If I understand right compression makes the LOUD tracks quieter by reducing the dynamic range. You do the opposite to quiet sounds and track by using an expander. It’s an art form to use both but not too much. Otherwise you’ll get something that really does have a squashed sound, or no dynamic range. A really good book at explaining all of this is called the “The Sound Reinforcement Handbook” by Yamaha. smile

  • H Heinze

    H Heinze

    At what point do you have too much compression and just end up killing all the fish? If I want to hear dead fish I will just listen to some ColdPlay. Can't wait for the album to arrive - compressed or not.:laugh:

    At what point do you have too much compression and just end up killing all the fish? If I want to hear dead fish I will just listen to some ColdPlay.

    Can't wait for the album to arrive - compressed or not.laugh

  • Davis

    Davis

    *No fish were killed in the making of this album.

    *No fish were killed in the making of this
    album.

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