I'm intrigued by your 'transparent distortion'. Would you care to divulge more about what instruments/sounds it works well on, what tools you use and whether each 'coat of paint' is different?

Ott responded on 02/08/2012

It isn't anything terribly mysterious. Most sounds benefit from a good kicking from a compressor but most compressors start to sound a bit obvious when they're made to work hard. Also it isn't always possible to find a setting which compliments every aspect of the sound.

So, a setting which improves the front of the sound, for example the transient portion of a snare drum, might not work so well for the body or release portions of the sound.

The answer to this problem is to use two or three different compressors with different settings in different passes, possibly days apart as your mix progresses.

Approached this way it is possible to beat your sounds to a pulp without the effect ever overpowering what it was you liked about the original sound. Approaching compression in layers rather than hoping to achieve the full effect in one visit allows you to use much more than you otherwise could.

1000 characters remaining