Compressing Audio for a Live Music Performance Video

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rocker danny meaker rolling up his sleeves in preparation for his songsmiths audition

Compressing Audio for a Live Music Performance Video


Most of us know what it sounds like when you’re sitting in a room, listening to someone play acoustic guitar and sing. So, when you see a video of a guy in a room playing a guitar and singing, you have an expectation of how it should sound. That’s my theory anyway.

The first time I recorded a music video like this I processed the voice and instrument like I normally would as a sound engineer mixing a song destined for the radio and iTunes. But when I added the audio to the video, it didn’t work. The sound didn’t match the picture. Seeing the musician playing in the room…I “knew” how it should sound and reducing the compression was the key to marrying what I was hearing to what I was seeing.

Note that I said I “reduced” the compression. The audio on the Songsmiths videos has compression and other effects on it. A completely natural sound wouldn’t be good enough for something representing a professional recording studio. What I find works best is an idealized version of a natural sound. To that end, Danny’s and the other Songsmiths’ videos all have compression, eq and reverb on them. 

The moral of the story? Build a million-dollar room or get a really good reverb…and compress lightly.

Great job and good luck, Danny!

To see and hear all of the Songsmiths auditions, visit the Songsmiths website.

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