Ask any mastering engineer, excessive and poorly used pre-master compression is a mood killer. Bad use of compression will take a beautiful dynamic track with lots of depth and squash it into a small boring ball, if you do that with every track in your project, you will end up with a small lifeless song!
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HOW DO I SAVE MY MIX FROM OVER COMPRESSION?
Practice the Zen art of compressing sparingly on individual tracks
Try using paralell compression, it will change your life. Duplicate the kick drum (for example) and apply a heavy compressor with EQ to that track, subtly blend the compressed kick in with the original kick. Works on ANYTHING especially percussion and vocals.
Perhaps try eq, you don't always need to compress, there might be a problem frequency that is making it sound like the dynamics are fluctuating too much
Multiband compressor, another great trick it is basically an active EQ, when there is too much of a certain frequency in the track the compressor will compress it. Just make sure you know your way around a compressor and set appropriate attack/ release times and move the bands to the frequencies you need to compress, don't use the presets!
Mix with compression on your master bus but TURN IT OFF before exporting
Hope you guys enjoyed this article. Compression is definitely an art, one that we still practise every single day! As always feel free to ask addition questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and have a great day!