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How to compress?
Old 15th May 2015
  #1
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matt thomas's Avatar
How to compress?

I started a thread the other day featuring a great video on EQing techniques.

How to EQ

I was wondering if anyone knows of a similarly good video on compression (dynamic range compression), so we can have a sister thread on that?

Cheers
Matt

ps. I'm going to sticky this for a while to see if we can get any more responses

Last edited by matt thomas; 25th May 2015 at 04:45 PM..
Old 15th May 2015
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
Paschalis I.'s Avatar
 

I have an article about compression, does this help:
What Is Compression? An Audio Compression and Limiting Tutorial

I am also working on a video soon.

* please delete my post without asking me if it doesn't help your request *
Old 15th May 2015
  #3
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matt thomas's Avatar
Someone pm'd me this one. I don't have time to watch at the moment, so maybe people could discuss it here, and decide if it's any good? I see it's using fabfilter pro-c so thats a good sign!



matt
Old 16th May 2015
  #4
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groovebeats's Avatar
 

I stumbled onto this video recently and I think the audio visual they have during the audio to better help you visualize the compression is really useful. Don't usually see this sort of video showing you audio concepts this way. Hope it helps!

Old 16th May 2015
  #5
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Fast_Fingers's Avatar
 

Though it is a promotional video, Fabfilter's videos on their Pro-C and Pro-MB are very good in describing typical compressor controls and techniques.


Last edited by matt thomas; 16th May 2015 at 07:30 PM..
Old 28th May 2015
  #6


We did that in college. Looking at it from this perspective might help someone.
Old 7th June 2015
  #7
Gear Head
 

I have a question about compressing. Why does is sometimes outputs more volume? i mean, isn't the the compressor's job to lover the volume of the signal? i know that The threshold will be the "ceiling" that will determine the compressor when to lower the volume, and the ratio will determine how much to lower it. for example in a vocal, i thought that the compressors job was to lower the highest peaks, but is it actually to average the difference between the lowest signal and the highest?

is this true?: the compressors outputs more volume because it sometimes doesn't lower the highest peaks, but rather, make the lowest peaks be more hearable.
Old 7th June 2015
  #8
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matt thomas's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by miguellacorte View Post
I have a question about compressing. Why does is sometimes outputs more volume? i mean, isn't the the compressor's job to lover the volume of the signal? i know that The threshold will be the "ceiling" that will determine the compressor when to lower the volume, and the ratio will determine how much to lower it. for example in a vocal, i thought that the compressors job was to lower the highest peaks, but is it actually to average the difference between the lowest signal and the highest?

is this true?: the compressors outputs more volume because it sometimes doesn't lower the highest peaks, but rather, make the lowest peaks be more hearable.
Essentially, it lowers the highest peaks/parts (those above the threshold). After you have done this, you are able to turn the signal up louder, without the highest peaks clipping, or being otherwise too high any more. So yes, it does reduce the dynamic range, but you can then use make up gain to restore or boost the level. In the end you have increased the average level, and the human ear here's the average level, not the peak level, so it sounds louder.

Image you have the numbers:

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10

You want to make these louder on average, but you can't go above 10, so you limit these (compress them) to 5, and you have

1,2,3,4,5,5,5,5,5,5

You can then turn them all up (in this case double them) to

2,4,6,8,10,10,10,10,10,10

the average level was 5.5, but it is now 8, and you still don't go above 10

(all simplified obviously)

matt
Old 17th June 2015
  #9
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by miguellacorte View Post
I have a question about compressing. Why does is sometimes outputs more volume? i mean, isn't the the compressor's job to lover the volume of the signal? i know that The threshold will be the "ceiling" that will determine the compressor when to lower the volume, and the ratio will determine how much to lower it. for example in a vocal, i thought that the compressors job was to lower the highest peaks, but is it actually to average the difference between the lowest signal and the highest?

is this true?: the compressors outputs more volume because it sometimes doesn't lower the highest peaks, but rather, make the lowest peaks be more hearable.
The above numbers example is more a representation of brickwall peak limiting as opposed to compression. Comp would still allow the 5's to go up in volume, but at a shallower slope, ratio-determined in comparison to the input signal.

Actually, the compressor does nothing below the threshold level. At this level and above, the compressor kicks in to action. This is retrieved from "Sound on Sound"

https://www.soundonsound.com/sos/sep...onmadeeasy.htm

Last edited by kennybro; 17th June 2015 at 08:13 PM..
Old 17th June 2015
  #10
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matt thomas's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
The above numbers example is more a representation of brickwall peak limiting as opposed to compression.
Yeah, I realised that as I wrote it out, but I thought I'd keep it simple. And limiting is a subset of compression, so I figured I could get away with it

Of course I should have known someone would be on to me heh



matt
Old 19th June 2015
  #11
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by miguellacorte View Post
I have a question about compressing. Why does is sometimes outputs more volume?
Because you're probably using ****ty plugins that are programmed by default to hype the output in order to mask that the sound is actually getting worse (oldest trick in the book) !

A great compressor (chosen for the right task) can make something sound louder/more present whilst the output meter stays exactly the same (or lower) as the input meter. And that is why some of them still cost so much money !!!
Old 21st June 2015
  #12
Gear Nut
 

I have a very useful document on compression and when to use it. A lot of people learn how to use a compressor but they are unsure on when they actually need to use it.

Reply with your email address and I will get it sent to you.

James
Mix and Mastering
Old 23rd June 2015
  #13
First rule - Compression should not be used as a norm. Use it only if it benefitz the situation. Louder is not a benefit . It should musically contribute.
Secondly , to find out if the compressor actually improved the sound, adjust the makeup gain knob to match the same perceived loudness as the uncompressed signal. Sometimes you will find that the compression made things worse.
Thirdly, to cut the peaks , use short release times , high ratio. Set threshold so that the compressor should act only sometimes during the highest peaks.
For glueing things together, long release, small ratio , lower threshold so that the compressor is mostly active.
Fourth rule- first try manually cutting levels in the track before resorting to compression.
Fifth rule - if you cant hear it you cant learn it. So get a good monitor and a treated room.
Thats all
Old 24th June 2015
  #14
Gear Head
 

A question: if the threshold is -20 and the ratio is set to 4:1. Every time it hits -16 it should compress the signal to -19, right?

What if the signal goes to -12? It will compress it to a double ratio of 8:2 and end up at -18? I guess this would be a lot of compression in this instance?

Say the signal doesn't hit one that's a multiple of 4 and it goes to -13? What will the end result be? -16?

Last edited by Mepha; 24th June 2015 at 03:11 PM..
Old 24th June 2015
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mepha View Post
A question: if the threshold is -20 and the ratio is set to 4:1. Every time it hits -16 it should compress the signal to -19, right?

What if the signal goes to -12? It will compress it to a double ratio of 8:2 and end up at -18? I guess this would be a lot of compression in this instance?

Say the signal doesn't hit one that's a multiple of 4 and it goes to -13? What will the end result be? -16?
-17. something .
Old 22nd July 2015
  #16
Here for the gear
 

Hello everyone the video you posted are really awesome and we can learn more form it.
Old 6th August 2015
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by monitorlove View Post
Fifth rule - if you cant hear it you cant learn it. So get a good monitor and a treated room.
Fifth rule needs to go first.
Old 6th August 2015
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast_Fingers View Post
Though it is a promotional video, Fabfilter's videos on their Pro-C and Pro-MB are very good in describing typical compressor controls and techniques.
That one is really good.

Note the fact that attack and release times depend on the gear / plugin used. This means that anybody telling you to use a 50ms attack on a guitar is full of smelly animal excrements

See this thread for the gory details. I still haven't understood everything these guys were talking about.
Old 29th August 2015
  #19
Here for the gear
 

Here is an example with visual help about compression on vocals by me. But applies to everything.
Greg
Old 30th August 2015
  #20
Thou Shalt Not Mix With Thine Eyes.
Old 8th September 2015
  #21
Gear Head
 

I really can't understand the point of such threads as this.
Do you really really really want to compress it? Then do it.
now EASY SOLUTION when you are not sure
1. Compress it to taste.
2. Compare it to the unprocessed signal with equal loudness set up.
3. Keep it if you like the result
4. Undo the compression if you don't.
Old 8th September 2015
  #22
Moderator
 
matt thomas's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonathanLivingst View Post
I really can't understand the point of such threads as this.
Do you really really really want to compress it? Then do it.
now EASY SOLUTION when you are not sure
1. Compress it to taste.
2. Compare it to the unprocessed signal with equal loudness set up.
3. Keep it if you like the result
4. Undo the compression if you don't.
The point is to give inexperienced people pointers on how to go about point 1. This is the newbies subforum.

matt
Old 8th September 2015
  #23
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by miguellacorte View Post
I have a question about compressing. Why does is sometimes outputs more volume? i mean, isn't the the compressor's job to lover the volume of the signal? i know that The threshold will be the "ceiling" that will determine the compressor when to lower the volume, and the ratio will determine how much to lower it. for example in a vocal, i thought that the compressors job was to lower the highest peaks, but is it actually to average the difference between the lowest signal and the highest?

is this true?: the compressors outputs more volume because it sometimes doesn't lower the highest peaks, but rather, make the lowest peaks be more hearable.
You're decreasing the dynamic range between the lowest and the highest peaks so in essence you actually are raising the dynamic range of everything because everything is closer together in dynamic range. The average volume is going to increase where the peak will stay at wherever you have your threshold set to.
Old 8th September 2015
  #24
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonathanLivingst View Post
I really can't understand the point of such threads as this.
Do you really really really want to compress it? Then do it.
now EASY SOLUTION when you are not sure
1. Compress it to taste.
2. Compare it to the unprocessed signal with equal loudness set up.
3. Keep it if you like the result
4. Undo the compression if you don't.
And if "Good" compression techniques were this easy then everyone would be a pro at it.
Old 9th September 2015
  #25
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockinrob View Post
And if "Good" compression techniques were this easy then everyone would be a pro at it.

Well, there is an easy way to understand the compression.
First of all you should try your best to have your ears prepared for the session.
Whether it will be meditation, workout, coffee, not doing subway or listening to music, smoking weed, whatever works for you.
Then, when you get your ears ready -- just load a bunch of different stems. Drums, plucks, pads, leads.
Now load several compressors. Set up different settings. Bypass them all, and start turning them on/off. Notice the changes in the sound. When you feel you start feeling like compressor, thinking like compressor, you can proudly say u became a compressor.
Old 9th September 2015
  #26
Compression remains a mystery only among people with cheap monitors and Untreated rooms. To be honest, you can easily hear it in a good monitoring setup.
So when find yourself struggling to hear it, its time to upgrade your monitors and room
Old 9th September 2015
  #27
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonathanLivingst View Post
Well, there is an easy way to understand the compression.
First of all you should try your best to have your ears prepared for the session.
Whether it will be meditation, workout, coffee, not doing subway or listening to music, smoking weed, whatever works for you.
Then, when you get your ears ready -- just load a bunch of different stems. Drums, plucks, pads, leads.
Now load several compressors. Set up different settings. Bypass them all, and start turning them on/off. Notice the changes in the sound. When you feel you start feeling like compressor, thinking like compressor, you can proudly say u became a compressor.
Thanks for the hints bro. I'm good on compression, though I do see some on this thread that appear to not have a lot of time in the game making it sound like compression is a very simple thing. It is simple to hear the effects of a compressor but I think using it in a musical way and understanding what to compress and when to compress it are things that actually take a little bit of stick time to become well versed at (although some may learn faster than other). The first thing most new comers want to do with a compressor is put it on everything and squeeze the life out of their mixes because they want to use it for volume and gain control. That's what automation is for. If you use automation for those types of things your mixes are going to have a lot more energy.
Old 9th September 2015
  #28
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockinrob View Post
Thanks for the hints bro. I'm good on compression...
Well, not that I want to say i intended you to read my post, but i never doubt you are an experienced compressor user.
Basically hope someone mught find my advice useful.
Old 9th September 2015
  #29
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonathanLivingst View Post
Well, not that I want to say i intended you to read my post, but i never doubt you are an experienced compressor user.
Basically hope someone mught find my advice useful.
Absolutely. That's what we are all here for. I'm here to learn and if there are any nuggets that I feel I can share I'm more than happy to if it may help anyone else, I see you feel the same way.
Old 10th September 2015
  #30
Here for the gear
I'd recommend tuning into JJP's explanation of compression (Around 25 mins in, although the whole interview is worth checking out, especially details on the mid range).
It's by far the best explanation I've ever heard:
Pensado's Place - Episode 022 - Jack Joseph Puig - Pensadia
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