Compression: Do We Really Mix For Radio?

Bob Katz Leave a Comment

From: Richard Webb


I’m quite impressed with your revised article on compression, Bob. Quite a few examples which should help educate the public. I thought it was a good piece before, but the revisions have made it even better. Examples from current films help make the point to those who aren’t familiar. You wouldn’t believe how many times I have to explain to a layman that the commercials aren’t really louder than the shows.

During the last week, I’ve read your article and a piece from Fletcher’s (Mercenary Audio) web page which was entitled “What have they done to my art?” and one of the answers to his questions in that article has to do with over compression directly. When the buying public knows better, they’ll demmand better, and we can’t blame radio for all of the problem, as many folks don’t listen to radio these days, except for news and other information. STill, we mix for radio, and that’s where the education needs to start.

Do we mix for radio? I’ve found you can get a very good sound on the radio if you just mix for it to sound good at home. This has been true for many many years. People seem to have forgotten the sound of great records from the 50’s through the 80’s. Are we growing a new generation that’s somehow gotten used to overcompressed, squashed sound? There are, of course, certain considerations that one should think about to obtain hit quality on the radio. Musical arrangements that are less “dense” tend to sound better on radio and on smaller systems. This is only because the sound tends to get “confused” in a smaller box.

I’ve already had some musicians from a band I’ll be working with next week read it. I think we’ve changed their views. Little by little, we’ll educate our clients, one at a time.

A must read for everyone in the business.

I’m sure copies will come off my printer and fall into the hands of more than one musician who doesn’t have web access.

Thanks again.


Richard Webb

Electric Spider Productions

Fabulous! Taking it one day at a time, also, here. I just mastered a “heavy metal” album that’s heavily compressed, no question about that, but the transients have a lot more impact than many metal albums I’ve heard. Even giving it one or two dB more peak to average ratio gives even this extreme genre a little more room to breathe. (Yes, the musicians and client were happy).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *