Mastering Compression, drums changing volume?

Hi, basically when I use a compressor on the output in an attempt to glue the whole track together, I notice that the drums keep getting quieter in the chorus when everything gets a little louder or when there’s more instruments.

I’m barely using the compressor, there’s maybe 1-2DB of reduction, I can make out the glueing effect it’s having but I don’t want the drums to keep changing in volume, they’re supposed to be the solid foundation for the song! Is there a way I can avoid this? Thanks!

  • Dan
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This usually means your “ratio” setting is too high. Because drums are peaking too much in comparison with other instruments, its compressing a lot more too. Try to experiment with it. Also try to compress drums individually as well.

I used a lot of compression on my tracks. But all of them are just subtle for more natural. When you make a compression, make sure you pull your make gain up enough. On the drum, i love to make a parallel compress the drum buss to make more punch and energetic ( pop, rock, dance, …).
1-2db is too small in my opinion. At least i compressed at 3db. I use at least 2 compressors for harmonic purpose.
it’s no rule here if you know the basic rule. Just good or bad sound. Hope it help you. Cheers.

If you are a newbie. Please search Youtube for drum compression. Merry Christmas.

Hi @dan_wilkie90. I use a compressor on the output buss to glue the tracks together as well. I can’t guess what might be the issue. I thought I would share my general settings - just as a reference check. I usually go with a moderately slow attach (~10 ms), fast release (~0.2 ms), and a low ratio (2dB or less). Just checking…are you increasing your Makeup Gain to offset the Compressor Gain Reduction?

The only other thing I can think of is not really related to Glue Compression. Make sure that other instruments are not drowning your drums in the chorus section. Maybe you have some frequency masking happening there.

Hope you find the problem. Happy Holidays :slight_smile:

If you want the chorus to be louder you could always automate the master gain +1dB on the choruses.

Typically if you have more going on in the chorus (more and louder instruments) and you’ve set the master compressor to sound nice and full in the verses, the additional amplitudes going into the master bus in the choruses will just add up to the ceiling and everything will be pushed down by your compressor (or limiter). If you have headroom to spare you can automate the compressor in the choruses and lift the threshold a bit. Just make sure you’re not clipping - if you’re using a compressor with a limiter for example.

Another solution is to lower volume on all tracks in the chorus except the drum track. It all depends on what you’re going for - contrast, evenness, transparency, etc.

Finally, sometimes it’s not about amplitude but about how you perceive different sounds. I believe the term some people use is “psycho-acoustics”. If your drums are centered, for example, adding a lot of wide stereo sounds in the chorus can make the brain think the drums are placed further back in the mix. Reverb and delay also plays in, less reverb brings an instrument closer. Also adding other instruments with higher frequencies will make the drums sound softer. If you want to make sure the drums are up front you should make sure they have some low and high end domains of their own, and make them wide enough so no other track sounds “closer”.

Good luck :sunglasses:

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