Vocal EQ Cheat Sheet

Compression Tips for Your Live Stream Mix

Kade Young
Kade Young
Chief Audio Guru
Compression Cheat Sheet

Before live streaming was a thing, I took the minimal approach to compression: only use it where it is absolutely necessary, like on vocals.

This strategy works well when you only have to worry about how it sounds in the room. But once you push your mix out to the livestream, you realize how inconsistent the kick drum is, amongst other things.

So now, I compress pretty much everything except the keyboard and electric guitar. And the only reason I don’t compress those two is because it is usually already a compressed signal before it reaches the mixer.

Let me help you get compression dialed in so you can tighten up your live stream mix.

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Live Stream Compression

The process for setting compression is the same regardless of what you are compressing. Each thing will just have slightly different settings.

Let me show you how to set a compressor using the kick drum as an example.

  • Set the ratio to 5
  • Gain to 6dB
  • Attack to around 10ms
  • Hold to 0ms
  • Release to around 120ms

Setting Compression Threshold

I can’t give you an exact placement for the threshold setting, because it varies depending on your setup. But let me show you how to find the right placement.

  1. Have someone give the kick drum a solid kick over and over.
  2. Adjust the threshold so that the gain reduction meter is reading around -6dB with each hit.

That’s it. The goal is for the gain reduction meter to not read more than -6dB, because if you compress more than that, your kick drum won’t sound very good.

Compression Cheat Sheet

Next, you’ll need to dial in the compressor for the other drum mics, vocals, bass guitar and acoustic guitar.

You’ll use the same technique as the kick drum but with slightly different settings. I created a compression cheat sheet with settings for each instrument.

Compression Cheat Sheet

Importance of the Room Mix

Compression is going to work wonders for your live stream mix. But keep in mind, the live stream mix is a reflection of what’s going on in your auditorium, so you’ll want to make sure your room mix is the best it can be.

That’s what Church Sound Made Simple is all about.

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Compression Cheat Sheet


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2 comments on “Compression Tips for Your Live Stream Mix”

  1. I just wanted to say, having worked in broadcast and now doing the mix for our church's live stream compression is a absolute must. The rule of thumb for broadcast audio is....the further you go down into the signal chain to the output the slower the the compression should be. At our church the final mix is run through a Waves Loudness Meter ie....AGC with a very slow release as if your finger is riding the master out trying to keep the output constant. I have to work in a 6 dB window from 24 to 18 DBFS with 24 DBFS being the "target" value. I thought I would mention that, fast compression in the front end, slow leveling/AGC on the back end. I do let the Praise and Worship band hit it up to 18 DBFS while the message is at 24 DBFS and I do ride the channel fader sometimes on the Pastor's mic.

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