jaminem wrote:Alternative (and apparently not as popular) opinion
Benefits of compressing on the way in:
- Getting a 'sound' you like - usually by driving the compressor - yes you can do that afterwards, and that's fine, but committing to something on the way in, does sometimes effect the way you work in a positive way by avoiding the 'so many many plugin in options not sure which to chose and takes loads of time to do it' creative blocker
- As others have said - you need to know what you're doing, but you ain't gonna know what you're doing unless you practice - so benefit 2 is it helps you learn how to compress on the way in!
- Controlling singers with piss poor mic technique and big transients - yes its better for them to learn good mic technique but I'm not giving them a lesson in that if they're in full flow and I just need to capture it.
I'd agree with all of these.
Whereas in the days of analogue tape it was pretty much essential to compress wide dynamic range sources for technical reasons before recording them, we no longer need
to do that simply because digital recording systems have such a wide dynamic range capability.
And for the inexperienced it is generally 'safer' to record flat without compression, and then mess about with unadulterated signals in the DAW where you have an undo option. So I would generally advocate recording flat where the knowledge and experience is limited.
But there are definitely situations where compressing the source on the way in is an important or even an essential part of achieving both the required sound character and -- more importantly -- the required performance.
And yes, committing to 'a sound' at the time of recording can also help to move things along during the session and save time in post-production. The issue here is that making the right decision when recording obviously requires experience, so there's a bit of a chicken and egg situation.
You need to practice to gain experience... so the obvious safety net would be to split the mic preamp output so that you can record both the straight sound for 'get out of jail' purposes, alongside the hardware compressed version as you develop your recording chops...
As always with these things, there are no absolute rules. it's all shades of grey that depend on the situation, the experience, and the requirements...