What In The Hell Is "Compression" Exactly?

Posted by Aaron Davison on Thursday, October 30, 2014 Under: October 14

Today's post is a guest post from How To License Your Music.com's resident music production expert, Gary Gray on the topic of compression.

Hi Guys, it’s been awhile.  Life has been moving extremely fast lately, and I wanted to take a moment to share some really interesting information with you.  This is my first year as a Voting Member of the Grammy Recording Academy. In between recording sessions, I’ve been listening to a lot of great music!

The more I learn, the more there is to learn it seems.  One of the biggest lessons I learned recently has been HOW IMPORTANT basic simple true education and knowledge about Music Production and Engineering really is.  And HOW LITTLE of it is available. 

Case In Point:  Last month I was asked to speak to a California based MeetUp.com group of Producers and Engineers which has over 800 members.  One of their many members who is a fellow subscriber to HowToLicenseYourMusic.com, Keith Kehrer, invited me to speak to their group. Keith had taken our courses How To Produce Music That Will Get Licensed and Make You Money and Mysteries Of Mastering Solved

I figured it would be an interesting experience to speak to active Professional Producers and Engineers in the heart of the music industry.  At first I was a little nervous (some Producers and Engineers can be very opinionated and passionate – and no one, it seems, can stop a stubborn passionate tirade from an overzealous producer once they really get going!)  Music, being an invisible subjective art form invites all kinds of opinions – good, bad and ugly.  So, yes, I was a little nervous.

Overall, the experience went much better than I expected.  During my talk I showed a short video that is included in the course Mysteries Of Mastering Solved, called “The End Of All Confusion Concerning Compression” – also known as, “What The HELL IS Compression EXACTLY??! (And How Do I Use A Compressor Correctly??)”

As I spoke and then showed the video, I could see the faces of those in attendance, several of whom had this sort of smug “I know this sh*t already” look in their eyes.  I thought to myself, “well, at least some of the beginners may appreciate my talk.”

And then came the shocker, a real eye-opener – AFTER I finished speaking.

On my way out, a few of the most qualified professional producer/engineers in attendance took me off to one side, each individually, and each one basically said the same thing to me:

“I didn’t want to admit it in front of everyone else tonight, but that video you showed on the complete definition of Compression, Compressors and Dynamic Range was amazing.  I’ve never seen it explained so thoroughly, simply and clearly before.  You have got to make this video available to more people in our industry.  I wish I could have seen that  video years ago.”

It brought into focus something I’ve been teaching all of my students directly: Not fully understanding Compression, Compressors and Dynamic Range before studying the subjects of mixing and mastering is like not knowing everything you can do with a paint brush before studying how to be a painter.

Since my talk that day, I’ve been working on a new edited version of the exact video I showed.  It’s now completed, and I’m very happy to be able to share this hard-fought knowledge with you -- and with as many people as I can. 

So, with Aaron's help, I present to you for the first time, free online, the video. If you like this video and are interested in learning more, be sure to check out the courses I created with Aaron, How To Produce Music That Will Get Licensed And Make You Money and Mysteries Of Mastering Solved.  

Both courses are 20% off the full price between now and Sunday.

Get either Our Production Course: 

Or are mastering course: 

Or, get both courses and my new ebook for one low price!

Here's The Video:

In : October 14 

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