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Heavy vocal compression plugin
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doubledecker
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8th February 2011
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Heavy vocal compression plugin

What compressor plugins do you find best to get that really spitting, attacky, heavily compressed vocal sound like the one on the latest Britney track for example?

Maybe combination of two in series?

+ Limiter perhaps?
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Dunno about Britney, but you might want to try two or more compressors in a row to do this, because all plugin compressors suck when it comes to heavy compression. Logic's stock compressor comes to my mind (remembering from my Logic v4 days) as well as Avid's Smack! and my Behringer MDX2100 hardware unit (really!).
I'd go and try some "general purpose" compression plugins instead of the vintage emulation type-of things.
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Rvox or Massey CT4 followed by CLA-2A.
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What RiF said was useful, i often use a number of compressors on a single channel (works well on sub bass too). Alternatively, Waves Vocal Rider is really cool, i dont use it for its initial purpose but if you set the range really close together, it squashes your vocal nicely. Its not extreme either, i was really pleased with it and use it a lot for when i get sent badly recorded vocals.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doubledecker View Post
What compressor plugins do you find best to get that really spitting, attacky, heavily compressed vocal sound like the one on the latest Britney track for example?

Maybe combination of two in series?

+ Limiter perhaps?
A well programmed one. You should be able to use anything from Logics built in, an SV315 (my 2nd fav comp of all time) or a piece of hardware.

Parallel bus compression will give you thickness and the hardness (not agression), limiting with give you the aggressive clip. But you need a well timed attack, fairly quick but lets a good amount of transient through and a short release.

I don't want to lecture about compression (I'm sure your familiar) but my all time favourite compression tip is from the brilliant Michael Stavrou. (Stop me if you knew this). Start with the minimum attack, minimum release times, maximum ratio and maximum threshold so your vocal line is stupidly flat. Then adjust the attack for the right aggression, then tune the release for the same effect. Then adjust the ration on how deep you want that compression, then use the threshold as a puesdo wet/dry control.

Multi band Trnasient designers work a treat too.

Vocal compression is like sex. It's better when it's angry.
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Pull RenVox down until you are getting 12+ db of gain reduction. We have just about every plugin here and I always wind up with RenVox on vocals. Amazing plugin.
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stillwell rocket

1176 on roids
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Uad la-2a
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Uad 1176LN all-button followed by Precision Limiter, optionally with Precision Maximizer in there too if the first two aren't filthy enough for you
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+1 on running in series. I have no idea why, but time after time and plug after plug, I find the same thing... they can do a semi-decent job at low levels of gr, but just sound wrong at high levels.

Also, the more automation you do first, the more your vocal can sit in the sweet spot of the level of processing that works for you.

I would say:

1 Heavy automation
2 cla76 at 12:1
3 cla76 at 4:1

I generally don't push any one piece beyond 3db of gr (on vocals anyway), so if that's not enough, try adding psp oldtimer. If that's not agressive enough, you're probably wanting something more than regular compression... then get into a hard limiter /clipper for effect

also, depending on the vocal, you will likely want to roll the lows off a bit... to make sure you don't have a little bit of low making all the decisions for you as to how the comps kick in. Let me put it this way: High pass it conservatively anyway, but if you're gonna roll anything else out on the low end, do it before the compression.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dullfangs View Post
stillwell rocket

1176 on roids
+1. Very good at nuking sounds.
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The concept of stacking compressors is new to me and now I realize its what everyone had been doing forever. Sounds like the trick is to use just a tad of compression, no more than a few dB's of reduction with each compressor.

I have a UAD card in my computer but need to get one of their compressor up and working. I was thinking of getting their two-channel Fairchild 670 plugin.

Any other UAD compressors I should have?
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Hey Pathdoc...good to see you on here "mixing" it up!
I'd start with the 1176 followed by an LA-2A. That's a classic combo.

Kevin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doubledecker View Post
What compressor plugins do you find best to get that really spitting, attacky, heavily compressed vocal sound like the one on the latest Britney track for example?

Maybe combination of two in series?

+ Limiter perhaps?
Omnipressor is one.. aggressive as hell(and beyond).

Ron Allaire
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also, surprise, surprise...

The Glue

SSL bus comp with a built in peak clipper. I bet you could smash some vocals with that.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guavadude View Post
Hey Pathdoc...good to see you on here "mixing" it up!
I'd start with the 1176 followed by an LA-2A. That's a classic combo.

Kevin

Thanks, deeply appreciate the advice.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doubledecker View Post
What compressor plugins do you find best to get that really spitting, attacky, heavily compressed vocal sound
If you are using logic then logics own compressor does a good job , and yes I own UAD,softube etc.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pathdoc View Post
I was thinking of getting their two-channel Fairchild 670 plugin.

Any other UAD compressors I should have?
I always use the UA fairchild on bass, the "thick bass" preset is a great starting point.
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1176 and a limiter like L2 is what I use
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softube FET..CLA1176 either or you cant go wrong but the softube is a fav and gets used 90%
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pathdoc View Post
The concept of stacking compressors is new to me and now I realize its what everyone had been doing forever. Sounds like the trick is to use just a tad of compression, no more than a few dB's of reduction with each compressor.
I didn't start out with that philosophy... and I didn't pick it up on GS. Just lots of trial and error learning the same lesson over and over with a long list of softcomps.

I've yet to find one that behaves like hardware when pushed hard. Some do a really decent job in small doses, though... waves api and the glue come to mind depending on your flavor... and bombardier is making me smile lately on drums.

Still gotta prefer the cla76 for vocals, though, or the softube fet. Softube's cl1B isn't bad either.

On the current track, I have 6 vocal tracks. Each one has been automated with zero compression until I couldn't find any way to even it out via automation anymore. Then, on each one's channel:


12:1 limiter shaving only very occasionally down to max of -2db
4:1 comp squeezing down to very occasional absolute max of -3db

Then subgrouped to vocal buss which gets

Different comp at 2:1 doing max of -3db
Different comp at 1.5:1 doing max of -1db

All in all, it's a max reduction of -9db, but sounds MUCH better than any one of them shaving 9db on it's own.

I've spent hundreds of hours trying every possible combination of available software comps, settings, etc... and I just haven't found a better way than the above if a vocal really needs squeezing.

This really is a software issue.
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