Hearing Compression in Context

Free Video



Your audience only hears your final mix, never the individual tracks of a session.

How often does a compressor or EQ setting sound perfect while in solo and then you unsolo the track and it sounds worse than before you even started? Ben Lindell shows your how helpful it is to be making your mixing choices, especially compression, in context.

Professional engineers know how important it is to be able to hear and make decisions in the context of the whole production, rather than just in isolation. This tutorial while direct your ear to the subtle sonic differences and open your mind to working without the solo button.

Plug-in Used:

  • FLUX:: Syrah


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Ben Lindell

Ben is a NYC based producer/engineer who has worked with artists from MGMT to Soulja Boy, Bebel Giberto to Lloyd Banks, Ryan Leslie, Olivia, Tony Yayo, Red Cafe, Edie Brickell, Carole Pope and hundreds of other artists from around the world. He grew up in Iowa and then attended the University of Miami.

In addition to being a fantastic musician he is also a tremendous geek when it comes to anything technical, be it software, plug-ins, microphones or outboard gear. It's this marriage of musical creativity and technical know-how that makes him an in demand producer/engineer.


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What do you have to say?
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2021 Feb 13
Hadn't heard of M/S compression before this. Interesting.
2020 Apr 23
I really liked this video! I think I will never have enough videos about compression and how to use it properly and better in all its applications. I only have one suggestion: I would prefer A/B comparisons many times while listening to one part, so the difference is clear for not-experts like me :) Thank you Ben for the video!
2020 Jan 14
A/B comparison is awfully difficult to hear if you're always speaking between. Couldn't you simply say the examples first, them play them without stopping? This makes me start to dislike pure mix.
2019 Feb 19
You did this alteration in the would it change going back to a verse? I likely would not have used so much comprehension to begin with. Great job!
2018 Apr 05
Great intro for using compression on individual tracks while hearing it as a whole unit. I agree... I'd like the A-B comparisons done with out stopping.
2017 Aug 26
I'm sorry, but A/B comparisons are totally useless when you stop the audio and start talking in between the processed and unprocessed sounds. I know this is for beginners, but doesn't that make it even MORE important. You've made enough records to know the very short memory of our ears. Otherwise, a nice intro for beginners. -Jim
2017 May 30
This guy ALWAYS does a great job - thanks Ben!!
2017 Mar 27
The compressed signal is actually louder than the uncompressed. you can see it on the actual plugin meters. Would love it if it were level matched :/
2017 Mar 18
Thanks for the video Ben. Very Useful!
Remy David
2016 Dec 31
Ben, that was a great tutorial demonstration! So good it was. That just while listening to it on my 40 inch LCD TV. Coming out it's Precision, one inch by 3 inch Taiwanese speakers. On the back of the TV set. Facing the drapes. Your expert command. Of that compressor plug-in. Was a totally obvious improved difference. Listening to this. From these, high-end, five dollars worth,, of lightweight toy speakers. And it makes a significant difference! It's a fabulous demonstration! That demonstration was so wonderfully relevant. And executed so well. That it made a huge difference! Bravo!
2016 Mar 23
Thanks for the video. Please keep them coming. Oh Yeah!!!
2016 Mar 23
2016 Feb 14
On my laptop I'm not sure I can hear much difference at all, other than perhaps a bit more width with the m/s setting engaged, but I assume that's how most of us will listen. For us amateurs to 'get it' we need to be confident that each move we make is of positive benefit, rather than uncertain. Therefore, I'd appreciate anything that puts it beyond doubt. I concur that soloing the piano would have helped.
2015 May 30
Great! Very useful. Thanks :)
2015 Apr 30
As "Some Guy" said, it would have been interesting to hear the piano soloed, too. Nice video, thank you.
2015 Apr 01
Hi Ben, great input, thanks. Inspired me to just play on the threshold and make up first in the full mix before tweaking on attack/release settings (maybe with an "average" ratio of 4. Might be nice to take a less exotic "compressor" next time for your tutorial. I don't know if you guys are sponsored by plug-in companies, but could be a good idea to use once some good freeware plug-ins, so everybody could download the same plug in to play with in the examples. Also most videos are quite focusing on the big/more expensive companies. I knot, finally the ears are important.
2015 Mar 30
Great job Ben. Very informative and practical tutorial. Also an awesome track as well. Would love to see a tutorial on how you mixed this track. Thanks.
Some Guy
2015 Mar 29
Would've been fun to hear the piano solo'd after the adjustments, just for kicks.
Alberto Rizzo Schettino
2015 Mar 28
@ilter Thanks for the suggestion! We never alter the saturation of the screen cast in post production, because as we all know, it tells you about the kind of breakfast Ben had that day. We'll go at the source and work around more breakfast options in the lobby!
2015 Mar 28
The colors of the Pro Tools mixers are too loud. Could you drop the saturation down a notch, please?
2015 Mar 27
sounded the same on my macbookpro ..
2015 Mar 27
Very nice informative video. Simple things that work well. Enjoyed.
2015 Mar 25
Very nice video BEN, RESPECT!!! It's very interesting and educational, how different sounds the Ben's MIXes and the Fab's MIXes in the same studio!!! Cheers
2015 Mar 24
So great! MIXING is the result of cumulative works. It's not easy...xo
2015 Mar 24
Great vid guys! Always useful and relevant information!