The "Muddiness" of Compression in Voice Over Mixing

Recently, I noticed “muddiness” or a “muddy” like difference when I was mixing some voice-over (talking) vocals with a Compression (compared to just utilizing a Equalizer).

NOTE: Personally, I prefer the “clearer” sound (when mixing voice-over [talking] vocals) compared to more of the “warmth” or “muddy” sound (when mixing voice-over [talking] vocals) because the “clearer” sound sounds more natural (to me) and inviting (due to the “clean-ness”), and too much “warmth” or “muddiness” sounds distorted or like someone put the microphone to their throat to talk and record. I’m also utilizing a high-end film boom microphone (compared to a designated singing microphone).

My question is, when is Compression needed for some people when mixing voice-over (talking) vocals?

NOTE: I’m referencing voice-over (talking/dialogue) vocals and not singing vocals.


VO often need some kind of clean / transparent compression as a compensation for extra dynamics you are getting with close mic recording and dead room acoustics. and dont forget most transparent compression is riding the fader!

yes, be careful with any form of saturation with VO. you tweak various plugins for an hour and result is, you like the colour, but you dont want sacrifice the clean inteligible sound when you bypass all saturation plugins :slight_smile:

with all that in mind. the biggest difference you make is not with plugins, but with proper recording. room acoustics, mic placement, mic choice, good preamp, good converters, good cables… not particulary in that order :slight_smile: and if your talent sucks, you ll record that perfectly :smiley: