Hey guys,

I have done a lot of sound design using some punches, body falls, kicks, etc. that were mashed and mastered and normalized and compressed and every-which-way processed.

Does anyone have a trick to make them sound less compressed and mashed?

Is it pretty much hopeless?

They're pretty good sounds.. I'd hate to not be able to use them. But, I think wherever they came from went a little too happy on the processing side of things. There's just no dynamics at all.

Thanks - Ryan

4 Answers 4


For impact sounds I'd first try to shape some dynamics back into the sound using a combination of volume graphing and EQ spikes on the transients. Also, work with dramatic fade ins and outs to create dynamic range that has been lost through overcompression. Also, I've had great luck with Z-Noise, removing background hiss and "hash" that muddies up the sound.

  • Thanks for the answer - I'll try it out. Sounds like it will work (no pun intended...)
    – Utopia
    May 6, 2010 at 21:25

Knock the gain down a bit and then apply a downward expander set for the average (RMS) level. Then repeat with an upward expander again set at the average (RMS) level. It will not be perfect, but at least it will sound more dynamic. Both these tools can be found in most mastering packages, and are standard techniques for mastering engineers when they have to deal with over-compressed mixes.

  • As Iain has already mentioned above - expanders perform the opposite job of compressors. You could try one of those.
    – user785
    Jan 6, 2011 at 17:45

Also, you may be able to layer in other sounds, like a stronger impact, while keeping the original sound for the character.


You could try using an envelope tool/transient designer - maybe the SPL Transient Designer or Logic's Enveloper is pretty good too. There are quite a few freebies available. Run a search on kvraudio.com

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