The guy uses limiter everywhere instead of normal compression. Wtf?!?


I registered to another website because I was interested to watch Jamie King mixing ‘return to the earth’ from The Contortionist. I’m not used to the kind of music they showcase normally, but I like this track…

During the first 2 hours of the session, JK says that he never uses compression, because he doesn’t like how it modifies the audio information. He uses instead limiting everywhere. So you can seem him applying Waves L3 Ultramaximiser everywhere (All drums tracks, vocals, bass amp, guitars…).

This is the final track. It sounds not bad, and there’s no compressor except a light one (ssl 4000) on the final drum bus. Everything is limited to remove peaks and bring density:

So, is it the only guy to do that, and to do that in every production, or there’s an audio world without standard compression that I didn’t know, that prefers to use limiting everywhere?

PS: I know limiting is a compression type, as you guess, it’s not the topic…


If I understand his viewpoint correctly without listening to the session you mention, you should see this as someone who totally skips compression. The limiting in this case should only be seen as a safe guard and for removing silent peaks and not as something to change the dynamics. To insert a limiter on that many tracks feels very sloppy if this is the case.

He’s absolutely not the only one who doesn’t use compression. Bruce Swedien is a very famous example. A few quotes from him: “Compression is for kids”, “Compression is a crutch” and “I hate compression”.


Thanks for the interesting feedback. Yup, limiting was used everywhere. It amazed me as well.


For a track where they didn’t use compressors, the drums sound very compressed to me … That snappy snare :mask:


I guarantee you guys that they used pre-amps with compression on the tracks during recording. So this might explain why they didn’t need compression during mixing. Also if they used guitar amps etc, those have compression often built in… all a bunch of humbug - of course we don’t want too much compression since it might change the sound too much… however, a lot of old school engineers from 80s, and prior talk down on new sound engineers who use too much compression. Danny’s school does teach how to do it the right way and not to over do/over use stuff if not needed… so there you have it… by the way I listened to the track and it left me a little “blah” couldn’t hear any side chain… could have used a little more “groove” in there… well it’s subjective. Not my genre, but I’m very familiar with Rock and have heard much better mixes in my lifetime… so there you have it. Not a fan…


Surely a compressor is just a tool, much like a car. When I see people hogging the middle lane or cutting other drivers up, I wouldn’t criticise the car or the whole idea of driving, but rather the individual driver.

Also, it is a creative tool. You can apply it invisibly or dramatically. You, the ‘driver’ get to choose…


I just listened to the music video in the first post (yeah yeah… I’m a bit late with that…). Most of the individual sounds really do sound compressed. Some of them more compressed than I would prefer for this style (even if I do like to hear a lot of compression in most modern metal). Listen closely to each sound and focus on the dynamics. And after that… shift the focus to the whole mix… there can’t be that much dynamic range in there even in the calmer parts, right?