Many people think that compression is the key to great results when mixing. Compression is a very useful tool but it will not fix a bad mix. The truth is you need to know how to build a good mix before you apply compression.
What is compression for anyway?
A compressor is used to control the dynamic range of a signal, closing the gap between the loudest and quietest sounds. This helps prevent clipping or distortion, controls transients, and keeps things from jumping out in the mix.
Compression can be corrective or creative.
An example of corrective compression would be using it to smooth out the spirited playing of the bass player or a wildly dynamic singer who goes from a whisper to a scream.
Examples of creative compression are using compression to create loudness or to add the particular characteristics of the compressor to color the track or mix. A little compression on the overall mix can increase headroom when mixing live sound, and compression can help to pull a...