In recordings, it is quite common for an engineer to use a compressor to better fit dynamics. Especially those of a singer. I like to imagine the art of compression is like the proper setup of a subwoofer. Properly done you shouldn't notice it is there. Unfortunately, that's not the norm. So many of today's recordings have enough compression on the voice that we hear it: the singer gets loud but the sound level does not. Another side of sound compression is when it is used to bring up the level of an instrument or voice that is too soft (more accurately, this is known as expansion but since it is done with a compressor the name remains). When we use compression to make something louder the same rules apply. It works only if it sounds natural. Sounding natural is the point of any recording tricks and techniques from EQ to compression. In the right hands, it can makes magic.
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