One of the technical issues with recording karaoke is that everyone sings different and the levels need to be adjusted for every song/singer. Karaoke singers also tend to push the dynamic range of the recording so compression is often key to reducing potential clipping which results in distortion. Compression rounds off the clipping while also reducing the dynamic range to within the limits of the recording and adding some warmth to the lower end.
I also assume that many of you are listening to the recordings on your laptops, so I further boost the lower volumes a bit using leveling.
The combination of compression and leveling makes the overall volume of the track considerably louder, while reducing the peak volumes, so the tracks sound noticeably louder, but the quality differences are more subtle. Both processes reduce the actual quality of the sound a bit, but add to it as well. The trick is to add just enough to make it sound feel better without noticeably distorting it.
Here are 3 versions of the same recording where I added first compression and then leveling. This recording did not have a lot of clipping to start so it can be listened to with or without the effects. The question is what sounds better? Try opening all 3 in separate browser tabs and pausing them at the same spot in the recordings and comparing them. Let me know what you think of the differances on my Facebook fan page.
Which version do you like better? Please tell me on my KJPaul Facebook Fan Page.