Waves Vocal Rider vs. Compressor?
Old 28th February 2010
  #1
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Waves Vocal Rider vs. Compressor?

I think I need some clarification. From what I understand, Waves Vocal Rider is a plug-in that automatically lowers or raises your DAW fader according to a set program. You can set your "threshhold" at which the fader begins to lower, and the "ratio" with which it lowers, and there's even an output level control. Do you see what I'm driving at here? Isn't this essentially just what a compressor does? When a signal exceeds a certain level, that signal is lowered according to your settings. Waves seems to be advertising this plug-in as something new and innovative that will "save you hours", what makes it worth the price tag?
Old 28th February 2010
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmSippycup View Post
I think I need some clarification. From what I understand, Waves Vocal Rider is a plug-in that automatically lowers or raises your DAW fader according to a set program. You can set your "threshhold" at which the fader begins to lower, and the "ratio" with which it lowers, and there's even an output level control. Do you see what I'm driving at here? Isn't this essentially just what a compressor does? When a signal exceeds a certain level, that signal is lowered according to your settings. Waves seems to be advertising this plug-in as something new and innovative that will "save you hours", what makes it worth the price tag?
It's not "basically" a compressor. A compressor lowers the dynamic range of a signal.
Old 28th February 2010
  #3
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"Lowering the dynamic range" is just a fancy way of saying "making the louder parts quieter" which gives you a signal that is, on the whole, more uniform in level. Isn't this essentially what you are doing when you manually ride a fader (although debatably less accurate because you could never react as fast or as accurately as a machine)? I thought this is why compressors were invented in the first place, as some kind of automatic fader rider?
Old 28th February 2010
  #4
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I can't get the demo authorization to work so I can't really say how good (or bad) it is. It's essentially an automatic automation plugin.
Riding the vocal fade will give you a completely different result than a compressor will, however good.
I was interested in trying it but more to see how well it does the job. I fairly often start automating stuff as early as the tracking stage so I'm not sure how useful it'd be to me tho.
For a people doing voice over stuff it must handy.
Waves are an expensive company but they do quality stuff (screw their wup tho) so I have no reason to doubt the it's "worth" the money.
Old 28th February 2010
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmSippycup View Post
"Lowering the dynamic range" is just a fancy way of saying "making the louder parts quieter" which gives you a signal that is, on the whole, more uniform in level. Isn't this essentially what you are doing when you manually ride a fader (although debatably less accurate because you could never react as fast or as accurately as a machine)? I thought this is why compressors were invented in the first place, as some kind of automatic fader rider?
Exactly. Only difference is the compressor will give you envelope control so you can shape the attack and release according to your taste. By doing so you can induce some more energy in the performance.
Old 28th February 2010
  #6
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After demoing Wave Rider (not the one by Waves), I began to realize exactly how people were riding the vocal fader. At first I thought vocal rides were mainly a tool to add drama, I didn't realize they were a means to just even out volume envelopes. So, in Samplitude, which interactively shows the wave form change based on the automation curve, I started going through the lead vocal tracks and manually evening out the vocals visually, while playing it back from time to time to make sure it sounds correct. The results were amazing to me. I can control the dynamics without making the dynamics sound dead. I can actually make the performer sound like they performed the track better. I can now, get the vocals to sit exactly how I want to in the mix with no compression at all. I still do use compression though, but more as a limiter to capture occasional peaks.....not anything that is constantly working....unless of course I'm looking for the sound of the compressor.

I think I'll stick it doing it manually on projects where time is not an issue, because I can control the levels more intelligently than a computer, but I would consider using it in situation where time is an issue.
Old 28th February 2010
  #7
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u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmSippycup View Post
Isn't this essentially just what a compressor does?

It is, but the results do not generally sound the same.

Some compressors --- from my own experience I'd say the Atomic Squeezebox and the GML 8900 --- have so few artifacts they produce a result not unlike riding a fader. But for the most part, compressing a vocal with a compressor tends to change the texture and density of the voice to a small or large degree.

Me, I need both. Compression makes a voice more lush, more compelling to my ears. Fader rides make it sit perfectly on a word-to-word basis. Different tools, different applications.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 28th February 2010
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmSippycup View Post
"Lowering the dynamic range" is just a fancy way of saying "making the louder parts quieter" which gives you a signal that is, on the whole, more uniform in level. Isn't this essentially what you are doing when you manually ride a fader (although debatably less accurate because you could never react as fast or as accurately as a machine)? I thought this is why compressors were invented in the first place, as some kind of automatic fader rider?
Basically yes. Vocal rider however does it completely without coloration and is a bit more intricate than most compressors, in that it adjusts itself on the fly to the performance. What I mean is you can get both light and extreme compression on the same vocal track, and when you get extreme compression it's without any artifacts whatsoever.

So say a vocal starts out quietly in the beginning, vocal rider will raise the level for you while at the same time applying what would be considered light compression, then later in the song push the vocal down when the vocalist starts belting it. This is all with just one instance, where with a compressor you may need 2 or more.

The way I've been using it is I've just been slapping it on immediately after
a vocal to make the vocalist go "wow!" I like to automate vocals myself and I've left it alone on maybe two tracks and they sounded pretty good.
I also use it on guitar tracks a lot.

Hope i explained this right.
Old 28th February 2010
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmSippycup View Post
. Isn't this essentially what you are doing when you manually ride a fader (although debatably less accurate because you could never react as fast or as accurately as a machine)? I thought this is why compressors were invented in the first place, as some kind of automatic fader rider?
If you're physically riding a fader with your hand it's less accurate and slower than a compressor. If you're using a DAW like Logic it's just a matter of of drawing lines and it's way more accurate and flexible than a compressor-loads more in fact. Automating fader rides for a full vocal in Logic usually takes me about 30 minutes.

The only thing though is fader rides don't have any coloration and artifacts, which is what of lot of people that use compression want. So if you use Vocal Rider or just automate yourself, you're going to have to find your coloration from another source.
Old 28th February 2010
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmSippycup View Post
"Lowering the dynamic range" is just a fancy way of saying "making the louder parts quieter" which gives you a signal that is, on the whole, more uniform in level. Isn't this essentially what you are doing when you manually ride a fader (although debatably less accurate because you could never react as fast or as accurately as a machine)? I thought this is why compressors were invented in the first place, as some kind of automatic fader rider?
No, that's not what it means.

Riding the fader of a track up and down is not the same as what a compressor does, a compressor actively changes the timbre of the track. If you just turn down a fader, the dynamic range is intact (to proportion, anyway), but if you apply a compressor it's compromised.
Old 28th February 2010
  #11
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Old 28th February 2010
  #12
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Wave Rider is way cheaper too, only thing is it's Pro Tools only and I use Logic. I haven't used it yet, but from the demo it seems slightly more difficult to use than the Waves version. The Waves version you can just slap on a track with no tweaking and get good results.

I do believe the Waves version was stolen from Wave Rider though after reading some things posted right here on GS.
Old 28th February 2010
  #13
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Isn't a vocal rider more useful when it takes the overall loudness of the mix into account? Let's say in the verse the lead vocal sits perfectly in the mix, but in the chorus it needs a little more to be heard.

Do you get what I am saying? Am I missing something ?

-Box
Old 28th February 2010
  #14
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Yeah, I get it, and in the Waves Vocal rider you can actually set it to read the mix level or just the vocal on its own.
Old 28th February 2010
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inthere View Post
Yeah, I get it, and in the Waves Vocal rider you can actually set it to read the mix level or just the vocal on its own.
Oh, ok

And that would be another feature that sets it apart from a compressor...

Thanks

-Box
Old 28th February 2010
  #16
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I suggest some guyz here to redefine their definitions , specially about the compression : a compressor do reduce dynamic !! the difference between low volume and high volume in the signal is less important then so by increasing the whole signal (make up gain ) you have the low volume high and the previous high volume not to high !....don't know if i'm clear anyway....

The vocal rider is some like i used to do when i didn't know a thing about compressor , i used to open the vocals on an editor and adjust the volume of each part of the words in the verse , way more natural but long process .....

but you do have some crazy good compressor that can achive a good compression with that natural thing : Softube FET and CL1B , waves CLA to name a few ....
Old 28th February 2010
  #17
Gear addict
 

Automating volume is not the same thing as compression. A compressor only reduces signals that exceed the threshold, not the whole material which is what automation does.

For instance, if you shrink me I will be smaller but my proportions will be the same. However, if you cut off my head then my proportions will be different. I will be smaller but my arms, legs, body will still be the same height.

As has already been mentioned, compression shapes sound, it doesn't merely bring the whole signal down. For example, if I compress a room mic heavily and use the make up gain to match the unprocessed signal it will bring more of the room sound into the signal because the quieter levels will be raised. Because of this, it is possible to bring certain elements closer to the listener. As you compress a vocal, it will bring in quieter more subtle attributes such as breath noises and the such.

Compression can also alter the envelope of a signal due to its attack/release/ratio settings. If I use a fast attack time on a snare drum I will reduce the initial transient whereas if I just bring the overall level down then the transient is still there, it's just that the entire signal has been attenuated.
Old 28th February 2010
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cursed Lemon View Post
No, that's not what it means.

Riding the fader of a track up and down is not the same as what a compressor does, a compressor actively changes the timbre of the track. If you just turn down a fader, the dynamic range is intact (to proportion, anyway), but if you apply a compressor it's compromised.
Prove it.
Old 1st March 2010
  #19
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I do not understand why anyone would need a plug in for riding a vocal. Every DAW on the market has volume automation very comfortable .... so this plug in is useless for me... I have it already and I can ride the vocals or any other source to my own taste.
Old 1st March 2010
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.HOLMES View Post
I do not understand why anyone would need a plug in for riding a vocal. Every DAW on the market has volume automation very comfortable .... so this plug in is useless for me... I have it already and I can ride the vocals or any other source to my own taste.
Because it does it automatically for you, and that convenience is something many people will gladly pay for.
Old 1st March 2010
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont View Post
Because it does it automatically for you, and that convenience is something many people will gladly pay for.
Actually a fader with look ahead function!!
Turn of you brain and creativity plug ins by WAVES®


Sorry Tony I love the Waves Stuff but this one for me
Old 1st March 2010
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.HOLMES View Post
Actually a fader with look ahead function!!
Turn of you brain and creativity plug ins by WAVES®


Sorry Tony I love the Waves Stuff but this one for me
Have you tried it... It's a great plugin. Makes mixing simpler for those that don't want to learn, and easier for those that don't have time to automate every syllable.

I got it for free as part of the Mercury bundle. I would buy it even if I didn't.
Old 1st March 2010
  #23
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Yeah, for making vocal levels presentable with one click. I've had 14 hour vocal riding sessions back in the flying fader days, no inspiration at all to be a purist for me.

I'll use whatever tools technology gives me to make my job easier.
Old 1st March 2010
  #24
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Anyone tried parameter modulating sonalksis' free gain plug in reaper? Pretty much the same function as the waves plug - very handy & big time saver. More invisible than compression toothumbsup
Old 1st March 2010
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadsweeper View Post
Automating volume is not the same thing as compression. A compressor only reduces signals that exceed the threshold, not the whole material which is what automation does.

For instance, if you shrink me I will be smaller but my proportions will be the same. However, if you cut off my head then my proportions will be different. I will be smaller but my arms, legs, body will still be the same height.

As has already been mentioned, compression shapes sound, it doesn't merely bring the whole signal down. For example, if I compress a room mic heavily and use the make up gain to match the unprocessed signal it will bring more of the room sound into the signal because the quieter levels will be raised. Because of this, it is possible to bring certain elements closer to the listener. As you compress a vocal, it will bring in quieter more subtle attributes such as breath noises and the such.

Compression can also alter the envelope of a signal due to its attack/release/ratio settings. If I use a fast attack time on a snare drum I will reduce the initial transient whereas if I just bring the overall level down then the transient is still there, it's just that the entire signal has been attenuated.
I understand compression may or may not be set up to not alter individual waves envelopes -with slow enough attack and release. Slower but still 'threshold determined.
I've never made the distinction like that. (in name –of it not being 'compression)
Old 1st March 2010
  #26
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I don't think it sounds anything like any compressor I own.

I spent several hours one day auditioning the "Vocal Rider". Was never as happy as when I took the the time to automate my own vocals....which usually doesn't consume tons of time if I've recorded them properly. For me, on the label mixing front, it sounds more natural to do it myself.

However, I did find one amazing use for it......When we are cutting vocals, I'll slap it on the playback, so I don't have to try and keep up with the singers dynamics, and it gives me a much better representation of what the vocal is going to do during the mix phase, and I can spend more time focusing on the performance, not trying to balance the "raw" vocal track when we're trying to make performance decisions.

I have used it on some tricky sections in a couple of tunes on bass, and it was fantastic. Still had to go in and manually make some adjustments.....However it wasn't as noticeable (in a bad way) to my ear as it is on a vocal track. YMMV
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Old 5th March 2010
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InTheBox View Post
Oh, ok

And that would be another feature that sets it apart from a compressor...

Thanks

-Box
Side-chain input?

There have been some informed and helpful posts here though, thanks guys. I felt like I was going crazy being the only person who didn't understand this.
Old 20th March 2010
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roostert View Post
I don't think it sounds anything like any compressor I own.

I spent several hours one day auditioning the "Vocal Rider". Was never as happy as when I took the the time to automate my own vocals....which usually doesn't consume tons of time if I've recorded them properly. For me, on the label mixing front, it sounds more natural to do it myself.

However, I did find one amazing use for it......When we are cutting vocals, I'll slap it on the playback, so I don't have to try and keep up with the singers dynamics, and it gives me a much better representation of what the vocal is going to do during the mix phase, and I can spend more time focusing on the performance, not trying to balance the "raw" vocal track when we're trying to make performance decisions.

I have used it on some tricky sections in a couple of tunes on bass, and it was fantastic. Still had to go in and manually make some adjustments.....However it wasn't as noticeable (in a bad way) to my ear as it is on a vocal track. YMMV
cool tip/idea.

Will vocal rider work on other instruments? I haven't got vocal rider yet.

Josef Horhay
Mixing Engineer
htttp://www.acoosticzoo.com
Old 26th March 2010
  #29
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For dense musik it's pretty useless, destroys as much as it helps. Manual automation is still king.
Old 26th March 2010
  #30
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narcoman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by roostert View Post
I don't think it sounds anything like any compressor I own.

I spent several hours one day auditioning the "Vocal Rider". Was never as happy as when I took the the time to automate my own vocals....which usually doesn't consume tons of time if I've recorded them properly. For me, on the label mixing front, it sounds more natural to do it myself.

However, I did find one amazing use for it......When we are cutting vocals, I'll slap it on the playback, so I don't have to try and keep up with the singers dynamics, and it gives me a much better representation of what the vocal is going to do during the mix phase, and I can spend more time focusing on the performance, not trying to balance the "raw" vocal track when we're trying to make performance decisions.

I have used it on some tricky sections in a couple of tunes on bass, and it was fantastic. Still had to go in and manually make some adjustments.....However it wasn't as noticeable (in a bad way) to my ear as it is on a vocal track. YMMV
it's actually quite a useful tool for riding guitars into a compressor - gentle stuff. Works well.
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