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markamber
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#1
29th November 2012
Old 29th November 2012
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Live compressors for what

I am buying 2, 2 channel compressors. I am limited by rack space at the moment, and 4 channel compressors are not in the budget now.

I am running a full band, 6 Mics on drums 2 electrics, acoustic, bass, keys, 4 backup vox, a lead.

My question is what would you all prioritize for channels to compress? The room is a gym, so every channel could benefit from one. I feel like lead vocal is one, and maybe kick? But what else?

Thanks for suggestions in advance.
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29th November 2012
Old 29th November 2012
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Maybe -

1 for kick

1 for lead vocals

2 for the whole mix

Or get hold of 6 RNCs used (1/3rd rack space - 3 per space - 12 channels)
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#3
29th November 2012
Old 29th November 2012
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1- Kick
2-Snare
3-Bass
4-Vocals - be careful with this one as you can loose overall volume with wrong settings.
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#4
29th November 2012
Old 29th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markamber View Post
My question is what would you all prioritize for channels to compress?
Assuming you can only have the minimum, I'd go for Lead Vox, Grouped BV's, Bass GT and Ac Guitar.
If I had more, I'd do Kick, Sn, GT's and Keys...

Blast9's suggestion of RNC's is excellent, but just remember they are not dual mono.
My favourite general purpose 2 channel comp is a Drawmer DL241 - they can be had stupidly cheap second hand - the DL441's are brilliant too, but don't come up so often second hand, unfortunately.

Good luck mixing in the gym
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29th November 2012
Old 29th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markamber View Post
I am buying 2, 2 channel compressors. I am limited by rack space at the moment, and 4 channel compressors are not in the budget now.

I am running a full band, 6 Mics on drums 2 electrics, acoustic, bass, keys, 4 backup vox, a lead.

My question is what would you all prioritize for channels to compress? The room is a gym, so every channel could benefit from one. I feel like lead vocal is one, and maybe kick? But what else?

Thanks for suggestions in advance.
Mark
Bass is usually #1, then vocals, which can be sub-grouped to save on compressor channels if necessary, then main mix outs. That's four comp channels. When you get more, then acoustic and snare would be next. Good luck, have fun, don't overdo it.
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29th November 2012
Old 29th November 2012
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I'll disagree on the bass. Most decent bass players have the dynamics dialed in at their rig. A mic on the cab or a DO wouldn't need a compressor in that case (though a parametric EQ on that channel can usually be put to good use).

I'd definately comp the snare, maybe the kick. Gates are more useful for drum mics in a gym....




-tINY

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#7
29th November 2012
Old 29th November 2012
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I agree, but decent bass players are usually not playing in gym halls
But I'm perhaps making too many assumptions
Anyway, from a 'control' perspective, I would say bass or kick are a toss up - in a gym the snare won't even need a mic

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Mickey
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29th November 2012
Old 29th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markamber View Post
My question is what would you all prioritize for channels to compress? The room is a gym, so every channel could benefit from one. I feel like lead vocal is one, and maybe kick? But what else?
Why do you think you have to use a compressor? There is no rule that says certain (or all) instruments must be compressed...regardless of the venue.

I am not a fan of compressing (some) parts of the drum kit individually this can cause the kit to sound disjointed in a hurry. The kit is one instrument and should be treated as such.
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29th November 2012
Old 29th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY View Post

I'll disagree on the bass. Most decent bass players have the dynamics dialed in at their rig. A mic on the cab or a DO wouldn't need a compressor in that case (though a parametric EQ on that channel can usually be put to good use).

I'd definately comp the snare, maybe the kick. Gates are more useful for drum mics in a gym....

-tINY

Always enjoy your posts, tiNY. Yeah, I almost added "unless your bass player is an excellent player". But, I figured, no offense, that was very unlikely in this particular situation.
That being the case, and in fact because I like, use, and recommend compressing the 2-bus, I always at least have a compressor ready on the bass channel, even if I don't use it, or use much of it. Otherwise, especially if the music requires a lot of bass, or if the player is un-even, or on a large rig, the bass can drive the 2-bus compressor, which is not good, as it should generally be the lead vocal getting into the GR, thereby effectively ducking the mix a tiny bit, while also gluing and even-ing out the entire mix.
I rarely compress kik anymore, as it sounds better without it to me, and allows a bit more of the players dynamic to come through.
I always have gates ready on kik and toms, and use them if the style allows, but in this case, I didn't think the OP was nearly ready for that either.
Again, your thoughts are always valid and appreciated, even if I have a different opinion.
#10
29th November 2012
Old 29th November 2012
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It should be reasonably obvious to you what you need to compress. If you need to ask then don't. Get some experience, learn how to mix and then decide for yourself.
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29th November 2012
Old 29th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssaudio View Post
Assuming you can only have the minimum, I'd go for Lead Vox, Grouped BV's, Bass GT and Ac Guitar.
If I had more, I'd do Kick, Sn, GT's and Keys...

Blast9's suggestion of RNC's is excellent, but just remember they are not dual mono.
My favourite general purpose 2 channel comp is a Drawmer DL241 - they can be had stupidly cheap second hand - the DL441's are brilliant too, but don't come up so often second hand, unfortunately.

Good luck mixing in the gym
Ah yes I totally forgot about that!
#12
30th November 2012
Old 30th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edva View Post
... the bass can drive the 2-bus compressor, which is not good, as it should generally be the lead vocal getting into the GR, thereby effectively ducking the mix a tiny bit, while also gluing and even-ing out the entire mix...

...Again, your thoughts are always valid and appreciated, even if I have a different opinion.

I remember setting up groups: Drums, Instr, vox. Or something similar. If you can put a compressor on each sub-master, you really can avoid a lot of the 2-bus issues with comps. And, if something is ducking the other inputs in the group too much, you can re-assign it pretty quickly.

As always, I try to get people to think. In music, there are a lot of "right" answers. Though as I get older, I think people come up with more "wrong" answers than they used to....



-tINY

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30th November 2012
Old 30th November 2012
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And then there's the ... you need to know what your doing... if you use compressors on live material... And agreed with tINY if the rig already has a compressor this is true. But I end up with a DI feed most times so that's RAW. I always set it on the bass channel and will decide during sound check if it's needed. I would rather avoid using compression if I'm on the board, but for a band doing their own sound it works fine.
#14
7th December 2012
Old 7th December 2012
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what sort of setup do you have? what kind of console? if you have any insert points, you can do a lot more possibly.
#15
11th December 2012
Old 11th December 2012
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I would mix LR vocal group and LR Band group.

My biggest thing would be keeping things under control and keeping vocals on top of the mix. If I only had 4 channels of compressor, it would not be a hard decision for me. The Vocal Group gets two and I would group EVERYTHING ELSE together on compress it separately. No, not the ideal solution, but the ideal solution isn't possible with only 4 channels of compression.
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11th December 2012
Old 11th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DubRuss View Post
No, not the ideal solution, but the ideal solution isn't possible with only 4 channels of compression.
Sometimes the ideal solution is very possible with no compressor at all...

The use of compressors is misunderstood and overrated to the point where people automatically think they must use them just because.

It's amazing to me that almost everyone who responded 'knows' where the OP should use his four comps. without any further info about the band let alone hearing them.
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#17
11th December 2012
Old 11th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
Sometimes the ideal solution is very possible with no compressor at all...

The use of compressors is misunderstood and overrated to the point where people automatically think they must use them just because.

It's amazing to me that almost everyone who responded 'knows' where the OP should use his four comps. without any further info about the band let alone hearing them.

There were some assumptions made. Generally, church rock bands with this kind of line-up have been very similar (at least on the west coast of the USA) where I have heard or worked with them.

Actually, the gynmasium and the live drums with a large ensemble is the problem. Style and musicianship may change things a bit. But, my initial strategy wouldn't change based on the particular band.

Live sound is usually more about solving gross problems in situations like this. The gross problems (guitarists are deaf, drummer bashes cybals, 4 divas don't like how they sound in the monitor, feeeeeeeed back.....) don't usually change much.

You are correct, though. This situation may have none of the typical problems and the comps are more of an artistic finish on an already good sound....



-tINY

#18
11th December 2012
Old 11th December 2012
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You should compress whichever input you feel you have to adjust most often. Once you have that input "stable" via compression, you should compress whichever input you feel you have to adjust most often. Rinse and repeat.

Do be cautious with compressing any microphone that's likely to cause feedback from any speakers impacted by your compression. (In other words, if you have a separate monitor mixer, you only need to worry about mics that feed back through the mains; if you are using an aux send to feed on-stage monitors, be ultra-cautious with everything.) This is probably related to vocal mics and acoustic instruments where the mic is on a separate stand, though mics clipped/mounted on instruments could still be placed in the line of fire. Since the compression will reduce the overall gain on that channel, you'll likely have to crank it up to make up for the lost gain to restore the mix. As soon as the singing/playing stops, the compression releases, and you could get more feedback than before you were compressing.
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11th December 2012
Old 11th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peety3 View Post
You should compress whichever input you feel you have to adjust most often.
isn't that what FADERS are for?

compression is not an automated fader ride !

only use compressor where you really need it soundwise.. if you don't REALLY need it, don't use it !
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15th December 2012
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Originally Posted by mesadude View Post
isn't that what FADERS are for?

compression is not an automated fader ride !

only use compressor where you really need it soundwise.. if you don't REALLY need it, don't use it !
Wow, could you be more wrong? That is EXACTLY what compressors were designed to do, and in a live scenario, they are incredibly useful.
#21
15th December 2012
Old 15th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
Sometimes the ideal solution is very possible with no compressor at all...

The use of compressors is misunderstood and overrated to the point where people automatically think they must use them just because.

It's amazing to me that almost everyone who responded 'knows' where the OP should use his four comps. without any further info about the band let alone hearing them.
Have you EVER mixed live music? I don't know of a single show I've ever mixed that hasn't required any compression. From singer songwriters, to metal and punk. We always need to control dynamics of an artist.

The grouped solution I provided PROTECTS the speakers and the audience from spikes in signal, or as most of us like to call it, DYNAMICS. You can use a decent compressor with makeup gains to keep things as close to the right mix as possible.

OP you should check out Dave Rat's Compression videos on YouTube. He's the FOH and Sound engineer for the chilli peppers. That might help you with this question.
#22
15th December 2012
Old 15th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DubRuss View Post
Have you EVER mixed live music?
That's a tad extreme dontcha think?
Have you ever mixed jazz, classical, opera, theatre....???
There are many, many genres that don't require or even benefit from 'compression'.
For sure, one sometimes might have to use compression to compensate for the wrong PA or a crap room, but all things being as close to equal as possible, sometimes the performers are allowed to be in charge of 'dynamics'.

Don't limit your imagination by your own experiences.
#23
15th December 2012
Old 15th December 2012
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I've mixed Jazz and Theatre and used compression on each. Maybe not a lot, but enough to not be reaching for a fader ever 3 seconds. It's useful to have your ears and fingers free during a performance to listen and fix problems.

In my experience mixing live sound is 70% solving problems, 20% tone shaping, and 10% artistic vision.
#24
15th December 2012
Old 15th December 2012
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I used to be an electronic tech I'm not an engineer. I read an article by an engineer who was against using compression on live rigs. His contention was this. Compression limits a driver's throw. The movement from the driver is what cools the coil by having air rush past it. Since you limit that movement with compression you lessen the air cooling the coil and so set yourself up to over heat the coil thus making it easier to blow a driver.

Some may agree or disagree but it sounds plausible to me.
#25
15th December 2012
Old 15th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorquin View Post
I used to be an electronic tech I'm not an engineer. I read an article by an engineer who was against using compression on live rigs. His contention was this. Compression limits a driver's throw. The movement from the driver is what cools the coil by having air rush past it. Since you limit that movement with compression you lessen the air cooling the coil and so set yourself up to over heat the coil thus making it easier to blow a driver.

Some may agree or disagree but it sounds plausible to me.
That's only correct if you ABuse compression..
The extreme movements of the coils are on the biggest fast transients..
If you take too fast atteck time on your compressor and "kill" those transients, the first problem you'll have is that your sound sucks.. not that your drivers heat up..

40 years ago hot drivers and coils were a problem..

Now you'll find it's not so easy anymore to Burn a coil just with musical transients..
#26
15th December 2012
Old 15th December 2012
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Originally Posted by ssaudio View Post
sometimes the performers are allowed to be in charge of 'dynamics'.
+1 on this, though "sometimes" is an operative word, and most often those shows don't require sound reinforcement. But if you're lucky enough to mix shows with an audience that isn't yelling at each other and trying to take each other home then there is actual room for dynamics. "Dynamics" are a musical term for pleasing and interesting volume (and tempo) changes, ranging from pianissimo (pp) to fortissimo (ff), not just a technician term for a processor that sucks those changes out and makes music conform to the 'desired' volume (ff).
#27
15th December 2012
Old 15th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DubRuss View Post
Wow, could you be more wrong? That is EXACTLY what compressors were designed to do, and in a live scenario, they are incredibly useful.
Whilst compressors can be incredibly useful, if the idea was to replace the fader one wonders why digital desks go to the expense of including faders when it is possible to add compression to each channel. An auto fader is probably more useful in a band mixing from stage scenario.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DubRuss
Have you EVER mixed live music? I don't know of a single show I've ever mixed that hasn't required any compression. From singer songwriters, to metal and punk. We always need to control dynamics of an artist.
Can I ask how many artists at live music shows have requested that you compress all or some elements of their performance? That You always need to control the dynamics is Your opinion. It may not always be considered to be the right choice by others.

And before you ask Yes I have mixed live shows, probably a lot more than you.
#28
15th December 2012
Old 15th December 2012
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Originally Posted by M4-10 View Post
+1 on this, though "sometimes" is an operative word
In this case, it was sarcasm

Anyway, I understand what dynamics are, thanks
#29
16th December 2012
Old 16th December 2012
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Anyway, I understand what dynamics are, thanks
That was evident by your post. Any gentle snark on my behalf was aimed (admittedly indirectly) at DubRuss, whose post indicated that dynamics were, at their essence, potential speaker-breakers to be protected against with compression, instead of a primary characteristic of music.

Whether or not he believes that is not something I'll presume to know from a few lines on an internet forum.
#30
16th December 2012
Old 16th December 2012
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Originally Posted by M4-10 View Post
That was evident by your post. Any gentle snark on my behalf was aimed (admittedly indirectly) at DubRuss, whose post indicated that dynamics were, at their essence, potential speaker-breakers to be protected against with compression, instead of a primary characteristic of music.

Whether or not he believes that is not something I'll presume to know from a few lines on an internet forum.
This thread started off nicely with some good information. Whilst I don't want to get involved in the penis measuring competition, your dynamics in music information is true but dynamics from an engineering perspective generally refers to dynamic range, so he's not incorrect.
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