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TDR Kotelnikov as a mastering compressor
Old 8th February 2015
  #1
Lives for gear
TDR Kotelnikov as a mastering compressor

Hi,

I recently downloaded the TDR Kotelnikov dynamics processor. It's flexible, and powerful, and very transparent. I just started with it, so I have a lot to learn.

My biggest question is this: It's touted as a mastering limiter. But, for me at least, it's not apparent how one uses it in the same way as traditional mastering limiters (L1, maxim, Barricade, etc.) to increase apparent loudness. Those limiters let you easily keep output at 0 and increase input to increase loudness. But while the TDR works quite nicely as a transparent compressor, any attempt to increase the Output or Makeup will result in levels above zero. So how do you use it for mastering?

I feel like I'm missing something obvious, but I'd rather ask a stupid question and learn something.

Dean
Old 8th February 2015
  #2
I went to the TDR Kotelnikov homepage and searched for "limiter". No hits.
I also searched the TDR Kotelnikov documentation. No hits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drichard View Post
It's touted as a mastering limiter.
Where, if I may ask?
Old 8th February 2015
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Mastering compressor, not limiter
Old 8th February 2015
  #4
Lives for gear
It appears you're right, and therein lies my confusion. I read the term "dynamics processor", and that it is perfect for mastering, and expect a mastering limiter, when it appears to be strictly a compressor. Just to show I'm not crazy, here are some references (I realize they are calling it a compressor, but always in the context of 'mastering'):

From Bedroom Producer's blog:
TDR Kotelnikov is a brand new free mastering compressor in VST/AU/AAX plugin formats for Windows and Mac based digital audio workstations. The plugin is released by Tokyo Dawn Labs, who are well known for their absolutely brilliant TDR Feedback Compressor.

And:
“It’s safe to say that the new TDR Kotelnikov is quite possibly the most transparent mastering compressor on the freeware market (and beyond).”

And there is an old thread on Gearslutz with mastering in the title:
Tokyo Dawn Labs Kotelnikov Mastering Compressor


I never think of a compressor in the mastering chain. It's not something I do. So I simply need to rethink what it is. If I think of it as a transparent, flexible, and extremely powerful buss or channel compressor then I will be on the right track.

Thank you for your thoughts,

Dean


Quote:
Originally Posted by Metrik View Post
I went to the TDR Kotelnikov homepage and searched for "limiter". No hits.
I also searched the TDR Kotelnikov documentation. No hits.



Where, if I may ask?
Old 8th February 2015
  #5
Lives for gear
Thanks, and now I realize that.

Because I strictly do my own mastering, and I always do buss compression before the mastering stage, the term "mastering compressor", which is relevant to most people, is almost an oxymoron to me.

Thanks again,

Dean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilliemarck View Post
Mastering compressor, not limiter
Old 8th February 2015
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by drichard View Post
If I think of it as a transparent, flexible, and extremely powerful buss or channel compressor then I will be on the right track.
Good description, that is exactly how I see this compressor.
Old 8th February 2015
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by drichard View Post
Because I strictly do my own mastering, and I always do buss compression before the mastering stage, the term "mastering compressor", which is relevant to most people, is almost an oxymoron to me.
It's a good idea to maintain a minimal processing approach. Of course, it typically sounds better to restrict compression to individual busses only rather than compressing the full stereo mix. You are in the lucky position to do this!

However, most dedicated mastering engineers face a variety of problems without having access to individual tracks. Sometimes, you'll have to balance the density and dynamics of several songs relative to each other. Sometimes, you want to even out a nervous mix, add some "color", punch or simply increase audibility of low level events. A limiter alone doesn't allow much control over these aspects.
Old 8th February 2015
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by drichard View Post
[...] any attempt to increase the Output or Makeup will result in levels above zero. [...]
That's what output/makeup gain does. It comes after the compressor/limiter functions and allows one to make up for gain lost during compression/limiting.

Compression 101. A 'course' it looks like a lot of folks around here skipped. I don't mean to sound mean or dismissive, but this is the most basic of compressor basics.

Here's another tidbit it seems many are a bit fuzzy one: limiting is compression -- only with a higher ratio. They are the same essential process; it's a matter of definition, degree, and application. Of course, some compressors have a 'limiter' built in -- essentially another stage of compression with a much higher compression ratio (often preset or sometimes dynamically articulated).

Last edited by theblue1; 8th February 2015 at 09:03 PM..
Old 8th February 2015
  #9
Lives for gear
I know those things, but I also know some developers will "repurpose" a function to give it different properties. After all it's simply a virtual knob with a name on it.

Like I said, I'd rather ask a stupid question and learn something than not.

Thanks for your reply.

Dean

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
That's what output/makeup gain does. It comes after the compressor/limiter functions and allows one to make up for gain lost during compression/limiting.

Compression 101. A 'course' it looks like a lot of folks around here skipped. I don't mean to sound mean or dismissive, but this is the most basic of compressor basics.

Here's another tidbit it seems many are a bit fuzzy one: limiting is compression -- only with a higher ratio. They are the same essential process; it's a matter of definition, degree, and application. Of course, some compressors have a 'limiter' built in -- essentially another stage of compression with a much higher compression ratio (often preset or sometimes dynamically articulated).
Old 8th February 2015
  #10
NOT a stupid question. If one is uncertain it's better to ask than to plunge forward with a wrong assumption!


But I have observed over the years that a lot of folks seem to stay fuzzy on compressor settings and function. That said, your observation is correct that some folks will use a term in a decidedly nonstandard way, which is just one reason among many why this field has become so, uh, interesting from a people-watching perspective.
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