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Should I use compression on every track?

I hear the same question all the time. It is whether you should use compression on every track when mixing. I do not think that compression is needed on every single track. I would always compress every vocal track. Compression on vocals is not only necessary but it gives it a certain polished sound. Now compression on every instrument track should not be necessary. I would really only compress certain instrument tracks if they had too wide of a dynamic range and it was sticking out like a sore thumb. Drums would be a good example. The problem is that if you compress too much then you can squeeze the life out of the track making it sound flat.
Now some engineers will use light compression on everything but remember it is not something you need to do. Listen to a track and use your ears and take it from there. I generally will always compress vocals, live drums and some bass lines. Everything else is up to you but ,ay never need it. A piano is a good example. If you compress a piano too much it will take away from it's dynamic range and that is something you do not want. I would also suggest not to add compression to your master fader because a when it goes to mastering, they will compress the heck out of it as well and too much will kill a beautiful mix. Use your ears!

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