Become a member
Become a member
Continuer avec Google

or
Log in
Log in
Se connecter avec Google

or
learning

Expanders, De-essers, Limiters and Dynamic EQs

A guide to mixing music - Part 52

In this penultimate article dedicated to managing dynamics during mixdown, I'll briefly mention some other processing options sometimes used at this stage, as well as the reasons why I won't look into them in detail.

View other articles in this series...

Not so dynamic

Let's start with the expanders. The principle behind this type of processor is the opposite of that of a compressor, in other words, an expander seeks to restore some dynamics into a rather lifeless signal. However, in real life, expanders are usually used more like an alternative to noise gates. What's more, noise gate plug-ins often feature expander options. Consequently, I don't think it's necessary to look into them more deeply: Whenever a situation calls for the use of a gate but the results are a bit too aggressive, try an expander for a bit more delicacy. Do note however that, besides the usual parameters of a noise gate, expanders also have a ratio control. The lower the ratio, the more subtle the processing.

De-essers are something I won't be dealing with either. First, because they are usually very easy to use and, second, their scope of application is pretty limited. Nevertheless, you might find it interesting to know that, besides reducing the sibilance of vocals, this kind of processor can also be useful to make a hi-hat, or any other cymbal, less aggressive on the overhead tracks.

Let's move on to limiters now. As far as I'm concerned, you should never use a limiter during mixdown. Forgive my vehemence but, in my humble opinion, the use of such processors at the mixing stage is the best way to shoot yourself in the foot. Why, you ask? Well, first of all, a limiter in the master bus will only encroach on the mastering engineer's work, which is obviously not a good thing. On the other hand, by limiting a track, you risk completely deforming the original sound without realizing it. Especially since you might succumb to the charms of the "it's louder so it's better" effect and your headroom will irremediably be reduced, limiting you leeway sooner or later. Not to mention the obliteration of any variations in dynamics, which will suck the life out of your music. Trust me, using a limiter during mixdown is plain wrong.

To finish, just a couple of words on dynamic EQs. There are several reasons why I won't expand on this topic here. First, this kind of processor is usually more of an EQ than a dynamics processor, so it would be somewhat off-topic. Second, grasping how they work is not that straightforward, so it's easy to make more harm than good if not used wisely. As a consequence, I don't deem it adequate to talk about them in a "Getting Started" series. Third, it just so happens that I have never used a dynamic EQ because every time I feel like I need one I always realize that the problem lies elsewhere. And once I solve the actual issue I no longer need a dynamic EQ.

The next installment of this series will be the last one dedicated to dynamics, and after that we'll move on to other mixing topics.

← Previous article in this series:
The Best Noise Gate Plug-Ins
Next article in this series:
How to Make Good Use of Presets →

Would you like to comment this article?

Log in
Become a member
cookies

We are using cookies!

Yes, Audiofanzine is using cookies. Since the last thing that we want is disturbing your diet with too much fat or too much sugar, you'll be glad to learn that we made them ourselves with fresh, organic and fair ingredients, and with a perfect nutritional balance. What this means is that the data we store in them is used to enhance your use of our website as well as improve your user experience on our pages (learn more). To configure your cookie preferences, click here.

We did not wait for a law to make us respect our members and visitors' privacy. The cookies that we use are only meant to improve your experience on our website.

Our cookies

Cookies not subject to consent

These are cookies that guarantee the proper functioning of Audiofanzine and allow its optimization. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

Website preferences

We store your preferences so that you do not have to re-enter them every time your come back (forums options, dark or light theme, classifieds filter, standard or buzz news, newsletters popups...).

Log in

This one makes sure you don't have to re-enter your credentials every time you visit Audiofanzine.

Analytics

This data allows us to understand the use that our visitors make of our website in an attempt to improve it.

Advertising

This information allows us to show you personalized advertisements thanks to which Audiofanzine is financed. By unchecking this box you will still have advertisements but they may be less interesting :)

We did not wait for a law to make us respect our members and visitors' privacy. The cookies that we use are only meant to improve your experience on our website.

Our cookies

Cookies not subject to consent

These are cookies that guarantee the proper functioning of Audiofanzine and allow its optimization. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

Website preferences

We store your preferences so that you do not have to re-enter them every time your come back (forums options, dark or light theme, classifieds filter, standard or buzz news, newsletters popups...).

Log in

This one makes sure you don't have to re-enter your credentials every time you visit Audiofanzine.

Analytics

This data allows us to understand the use that our visitors make of our website in an attempt to improve it.

Advertising

This information allows us to show you personalized advertisements thanks to which Audiofanzine is financed. By unchecking this box you will still have advertisements but they may be less interesting :)


You can find more details on data protection in our privacy policy.