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Is compression killing your music?

Is compression killing your music?

First of all, what is dynamic range compression (DRC)? It is a process that music producers do to limit the volume to a preset range. A traditional compressor will target the loudest sounds and make them sound softer so the overall average volume is softer. This makes the quieter bits seem louder even if they haven’t been altered.

They are definitely very powerful tools when it comes to audio dynamics, however, there is such a thing as overcompression. So, how should you tweak the parameters to avoid altering the original audio too much?

As you start tweaking, it is key that you keep in mind what you are trying to achieve. Are you trying to adjust the dynamic range? Do you want to make the difference between louder and quieter parts more noticeable?

No matter what your goal is, you must preserve the original character or the audio transients. Your focus must be on bringing out the natural dynamics of the original file. It is very important you understand the fundamental principles and controls before you start compressing any audio file.

What happens to audio quality when you upload a video on social media? When you say audio quality we are referring to how closely the audio delivered through the social media platforms matched the original uncompressed audio file.

Yes! You understand it right, when you upload a video file with audio on social media, this file is compressed. The aim is to smooth the video playback. However, in exchange for smoother playback, there is a risk of compression artefacts such as less clarity in high-frequency sounds, weaker bass and undesired noise.

The audio codec selection, sample rate, and bitrate all contribute to the quality of the audio encoding. Moreover, the compression system also varies across platforms. Thus, you may want to test the final result and make the necessary adjustments to the original file so when it is compressed it has the highest audio quality possible.

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