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Thread compression?

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1 compression?
I have a digital 12 track recorder (Korg D 12). I had hoped that I could burn a cd that could stand the Pepsi challenge with professional studio cds. It comes out like New Coke. I was told I need a compressor in order to get that sort of quality. I do like a sort of raw recording sound, but my levels can't hang with other cds. Any ideas would be appreciated.
Compression can help you get your volume levels up, but like anything else, it can also screw your mix up real bad. Use too much, and it'll suck the life right out of it!!

Also, if your mix wasn't a good one to start with, a compressor won't help. Your mix needs to sound good BEFORE you add any compression.
The Axeman (##(===> Cuts From My New Blues CD
Is this 'mastering'? Should I not concern myself with it until the mixdown or something? I seem to span levels in some songs and I find I either clip out or lack the uuumph I wanted. Other than my Korg D12, what type of equipment might I want to add?
Thanks a bunch
thanks. Sounds like I can concentrate on trying to get good solid cuts on my D12 and leave the compression and such for a mastering engineer.
I would recommend that you do not apply compression up front, i.e. while your recording. I have found it to be much more flexible to keep the original recording dry, i.e. no effects, or dynamics ( compression, expanders, dessers, etc. ). I then apply compression to individual tracks if necessary. This keeps the compression isolated to *a* track, which can help prevent the overall sound from being destroyed by the compression. Compression can be quite a bugger to work with.

Here is how I do things:
1. Recording.

2. Mixdown. Adding effects, and EQ, dynamics, etc.
2a. Bouncing certain tracks with effects in order to add more effects, etc.
2b. After adding compression to... say... vocals, adjust levels and bounced compressed/level adjusted vocals.
2c. Add any other sounds, tracks, effects, etc.

3. Mastering. After you are happy with all of your track additions, special effects, EQ'ing, etc. You mix down to stereo. For me, the mastering phase involves the final touches on the stereo mix. This step insures you do not have any wholes that you may have missed during mixdown, or were created due to fx additions, etc. Also, compression can be added at this point to bring up the overall volume. BUT, be careful. As I mentioned above, compression can be a tempormental critter and can destroy your mix. Use if sparingly.

I do most of my work on my TASCAM 2488 portastudio, but find PC software good for final polishing when I cannot accomplish it on the portastudio, or if there is a tricky spot that requires me to dig into the freq spectrum.

Good luck and for gosh sakes, have fun!!!