Today, you can cheaply route the input from a mixer into a good soundcard and through VST effects like compression before sending them out to the speakers. I have read plenty of information online about how it's very damaging to your hifi speakers (even large ones with 10' woofers) if you use them in a live setting since the dynamic range is high, and a sudden burst of sound might break your speakers.

Now, just wondering (not that I will do this) but if I run the mixer through a PC like I said earlier and give it proper compression as well as limiting (to prevent damage from sudden bursts of sound), and I have a relatively strong amp and large hifi speakers, will it be safe to play live instruments like vocals, guitar, etc from it? Basically, what I'm thinking here is that using compression and a limiter will give the live sound the more "safe" and controlled qualities of recorded music (which is designed for home speakers).

1 Answer 1


A compressor will, for a regular piece of music generally "inhibit" the bigger peaks because it actively operates like a very quick volume control. It/they can usually start operating in a fraction of a millisecond and there are usually controls and settings that can determine how long/short the "volume adjustment" stays active for (100 ms + is normal).

But a regular piece of music isn't what you might be getting on a live stage - it might be the bassist, between tracks thumping out something quick and loud - yes the peaks will be "compressed" but they are at one frequency and this could still overload (and maybe damage) your bass drivers.

Maybe consider a multiband compressor so that in any particular range of frequencies the compressor will work to properly inhibit the energy into the speakers to levels that would be heard during a regular piece of music (wideband with bass under control).

It could be the same with feedback if it happened - a normal compressor would let the single pitch/tone ramp up to maximum and possibly damage a mid-range unit.

Same applies to limiting - you want a multiband limiter to be surer about things.

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