Dynamics and limiting on vocal tracks


New Member
When I record vocals I tend to sing in an almost explosive manner, the starting syllable will be loud, with the word or phrase tapering down in volume and distinctness afterwards. Then, by making the vocals prominent enough in the mix, the particularly loud consonants become too loud, unpleasantly so. To combat this, I use gain automation to make a dip in volume where the 'splosive is (I use gain as I retain the use of the volume fader).

To me, this sounds good, but I looking back, I wonder if I'm just doing a manually intensive DIY compression/limiter job. I don't like the idea of compression use because of how so many people lord the importance of dynamics in a song, which I agree with, given my limited knowledge.

Am I losing dynamics in a similar way by doing this?

The track I specifically refer to is this one:

ADMIN EDIT: dead link removed

(The vocals start at 1:20).
Last edited by a moderator:
Compression can be your friend, balancing things out, adding more sustain to parts, or creatively crushing things, if that is what one wants.

On vocals, 2 or 3 to 1 compression can really help a track out, ESPECIALLY with an unexperienced vocalist. Many good engineers know how much compression to use and also how to ride a vocal up and down while mixing a track, in order to achieve a dynamic and intentional increases and decreases in levels, in order to make a mix breath the way they want.

Just to not like using a compressor because other people do, in my opinion, shows a lack of understanding in what compression is, and how it can be used.

I would suggest taking a look online for a tutorial on how compression works, and how it is used (or rather can be used, since the way things can be compressed, even the exact same part, can number in the hundreds, depending on what the engineer wants, compressor used, wether equalization is being added before or after, using more than 1 compressor at a time in order to balance a vocal to the mix, etc).

End of rant/lesson/opinion.
Oh, don't get me wrong! I don't claim to have anything more than a very vague understanding of compression, which is mainly why I avoid using it. I've tried reading about it, but when it comes to using it I really don't have a fine enough ear to understand what it's doing. I'll give it another attempt though, thanks.