Matt Weiss’ Mixing with Compression Review

Matt Weiss’ Mixing with Compression Review

One of the complaints commonly heard from music producers, engineers, audiophiles, recording aficionados and enthusiasts is that the music of today is over compressed. Some say it’s too compressed, too crushed and does not sound real. With today’s technological advancements, many producers and engineers are over-compensating the use of compression to hide an inability to properly mix recordings. On occasion, I’ve heard it expressed that well-mixed but fairly composed songs will always out perform greatly composed but poorly mixed songs.

Personally, I have had the hardest time learning the art of mixing. I came from a time when you grabbed your MPC, made a beat and adjusted the levels as needed. This is problematic when you have never been in a professional music studio and never received training. See, a diverse set of skills, patience and ear training are needed to mix records. This is where the tutorial “Mixing with Compression” comes into play.

Matthew Weiss, an accomplished engineer, created a series of mixing tutorials aimed at crafting better sound recordings. The latest edition of his series, “Mixing with Compression” is presented in two parts. This is essential for all producers. As Matt explains it, “You don’t add compression, you change shape”.

Matthew Weiss provides extensive knowledge about compressors, their history, components, uses, differing models and methods to derive the best sounds within the mix. Matt calls this, “Dynamic Processing”. The tutorial delves into each aspect of sound, the shape of sound and how certain characteristics are fashioned to manipulate sound. Ultimately, Matt wants producers and engineers to produce better records by understanding the dynamics instead of simply compressing records.

Matt teaches producers and engineers about the components of compression (Decay, Sustain, Attack and Release) to deconstruct and reconstruct instruments for an improved mix. Without explaining the whole tutorial in detail, Matt has the ability to teach you how to use functions like the knee, sustain, release and other elements to shape sounds for dynamics. In other words, Matt’s tutorial seeks to get producers in the mode of bringing life and movement to records.

While the focus of the tutorial is compression or sound shaping techniques, Matt provides actual mixing applications, ear training examples, samples of sound manipulation and explains what components produce a desired outcome. Matt adamantly expresses that producers and engineers should use their ears and skills to shape sounds. I cannot express that enough. In addition, Matt explains the importance of side-chaining, limiters and gates in creating a proper mix.

Wow! This tutorial has really opened my eyes to all the time it takes to make a properly well produced song. With many options available, I’ve learned that you must possess patience to train your ears. A great hit needs a great mix. The mix must sound balanced. Ultimately, understanding compression will help to provide you with skills needed to take your mixes to the next level. Let’s face it, a great mix can be the difference between hearing your favorite artists on your tracks or wondering why no one requests your music. So head and step your game up!


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