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Compressor / Expander?
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Compressor / Expander?

What plug-in do I need to raise the volume of lower signals while keeping the louder signals untouched (and uncompressed)?

So basically the threshold would be brought down to where the quieter sound is, and that part would then be amplified, but anything above the threshold would remain completely untouched.

I know I can do similar with compression but I want the louder sounds completely unaltered.

Is this a reverse expander?
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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Last edited by Notanothersteve; 1 week ago at 03:43 PM.. Reason: I know how to spell you're
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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No plug-in I know of does this for you. But gain and volume automation are quite common. Most engineers "ride the fader" when mixing, sometimes when tracking, so that they can control dynamics without having to squash the vocals. If you don't have a fader to ride, most DAWs should allow you to change clip gain or even might have a gain trim plug-in. It's tedious, but often worth it if you can get it right.
Old 1 week ago
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Thanks
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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An expander does the opposite of a compressor and raises dynamic peaks.

Upward compression is often a misused term. Some call it parallel compression but none are actually correct.
The more correct interpretation is to reduce the dynamic range of the signal below the threshold. The OP is tr4ying to raise that level.

There might be one exception (at least the only one I know of) which is the Waves plugins which have upwards compression that is unique to their brand (at least it was)

They do make upward and downward expanders. Upward expansion boosts your signal by increasing the amount of dynamics when the signal goes over the threshold. Downward expansion, cuts your signal dynamically when the signal is below the threshold. Expanders are often used to improve the signal-to-noise ratio of a recording, but they can also be used as special dynamic effects like making a bass line more percussive, or helping vocals pop out in the mix.

Personally I don't use software expanders much. I experimented with them quite a bit and getting them to trigger properly is very tricky. If the beat and dynamic is fairly constant getting them to gate reliably isn't so bad, but when music is already compressed forget it. They can make the music sound very choppy.

I do have an old DBX Expander that was designed for decoding tape which I've used before and since its mostly analog it does winders making thing pop without the erratic behavior of software. If you hit it lightly it only increases the dynamics slightly, hit it hard and it really makes the dynamics jump. It doesn't have any attack or release settings so it doesn't suffer form the choppiness the software expanders I've used. Would be nice to find something that works that well as a plugin, but I haven't seen it in any of the plugs I've owned.


By the OP's post it seems a limiter might be his best option. By limiting the peaks, the ratio between the taller peaks and the lower ones is reduced and all you need is some makeup to increase the lower levels sounds.

A limiter doesn't add a bunch of pumping nor does it increase the noise floor. A limiter only brings the peaks down. Limiters can work much better then comps in some cases especially on more complex sounds which make setting attack and release times difficult.

Last edited by wrgkmc; 1 week ago at 09:02 PM..
Old 6 days ago
  #6
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Ok, I call this “downward expansion” as in: “as the signal is moving downward from the threshold, expand the gain.”

Lots of dynamic equalizers do this, but often they have no or little control over attack and release. Some of the more interesting ones:

Toneboosters FIX4
Brainworx dyn_eq
McDSP AE600

Compressors that do downward expansion:

iZotope Trash
iZotope Nectar
Eventide Omnipressor
Blue Cat Dynamics
McDSP ML4000

HTH, Charles
Old 6 days ago
  #7
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You are looking for parallel compression, which many software compressors will do. Search for “parallel compression” on GS.
Old 6 days ago
  #8
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Parallel compression (at least if it means NY compression here, which it doesn't always) is a good solution. If your compressor has a mix control, that'll do it, but otherwise you can create and aux track, compress that aux track for the soft parts and the main track for the loud parts. It can add some sustain too, which is nice.

I guess it depends on what "soft parts" you're intending to raise. Do you mean the release of a sound or an entire note/word/phrase/section?
Old 6 days ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polymorphia View Post
Parallel compression (at least if it means NY compression here, which it doesn't always) is a good solution. If your compressor has a mix control, that'll do it, but otherwise you can create and aux track, compress that aux track for the soft parts and the main track for the loud parts. It can add some sustain too, which is nice.

I guess it depends on what "soft parts" you're intending to raise. Do you mean the release of a sound or an entire note/word/phrase/section?
Parallel compression does not directly compress the original signal. It compresses a paralleled copy of the original signal and mixes it back in with the original signal. That does exactly what the OP wants. It does not squash any peaks or sot-clip any transients, but it brings up the lower-level parts of the signal.
There is a lot to play with in creating the parallel signal, particularly the ratio, attack and release, as well as the amount mixed back in.
Old 6 days ago
  #10
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The feature in the fab filter plug-in, as covered in the video linked above is what I'm after. A bit pricey that plug-in though, although I'm sure it's excellent.

Edit - looks like the (free!) TDR Feedback Compresssor has an upward compressor mode. I shall investigate.

Last edited by dontsimon; 6 days ago at 04:08 PM..
Old 6 days ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Parallel compression does not directly compress the original signal. It compresses a paralleled copy of the original signal and mixes it back in with the original signal. That does exactly what the OP wants. It does not squash any peaks or sot-clip any transients, but it brings up the lower-level parts of the signal.
There is a lot to play with in creating the parallel signal, particularly the ratio, attack and release, as well as the amount mixed back in.
But parallel compression brings up the soft parts of the release, which the OP seems to want judging by his last post, but I wasn't sure. If all you want to do is make a softer note or phrase louder rather than the every soft part in the signal, parallel compression wouldn't be ideal, but that doesn't seem to be what he wants so I suppose it's a moot point.
Old 6 days ago
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polymorphia View Post
But parallel compression brings up the soft parts of the release, which the OP seems to want judging by his last post, but I wasn't sure. If all you want to do is make a softer note or phrase louder rather than the every soft part in the signal, parallel compression wouldn't be ideal, but that doesn't seem to be what he wants so I suppose it's a moot point.
Parallel compression brings up everything, but loud parts in the main signal compress in the parallel signal, so there isn’t much perceived change to the loud signal. The quiet parts both allow the parallel signal to be perceptible (because they are quiet) and do not compress the quiet parts, so the added gain in the quiet parts does not sound processed. Of course these things are not always perfectly done, so results vary.
Old 6 days ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Parallel compression brings up everything, but loud parts in the main signal compress in the parallel signal, so there isn’t much perceived change to the loud signal. The quiet parts both allow the parallel signal to be perceptible (because they are quiet) and do not compress the quiet parts, so the added gain in the quiet parts does not sound processed. Of course these things are not always perfectly done, so results vary.
Let me explain what I mean a bit better:

It's mainly in how you define "quiet parts" or "loud parts." By a musical definition, with parts meaning notes, phrases, passages, parallel compression still affects the loud parts.

Here's what I mean: Obviously, each note is going to have an attack/decay/sustain/release. If you use parallel compression and bring up the make-up gain, you are obviously bringing up the entire parallel signal. The loudest parts of the signal in the uncompressed track will seem unaltered; however, notes obviously are not just blocks of gain. Those parts of the attack/decay/sustain/release that fall below the threshold will be perceptibly louder, thereby still effectively compressing the notes themselves. It inherently will give a note more sustain and a softer attack. OP may have wanted this.

But I first interpreted his post in a musical sense. If the OP wanted the soft notes to be louder, while leaving the sound of the loud notes completely and utterly unaltered, parallel compression would not be ideal.
Old 6 days ago
  #14
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Dontsimon, have you looked into parallel compression?

In regards to your other post in other thread, I noticed no one commented further so I had a look at the manual on your boss sustainer pedal and this works using parallel compression (level) knob.. you will be able to match setting very closely using your plugin if you heavily or moderately squash signal then blend it in.

If you have a wet/dry knob in your plugin it’s easy. If not then you need to duplicate your track and heavily compress it (or perhaps just a moderate compression), then blend with uncompressed track. Or set up a send/return to do the same thing so you can hear it in real-time if monitoring an instrument.

If you already figured this out, good! If not I wanted to chime in on this topic because feel more comfortable bumping your thread instead of other guys.

What daw or compressor plugin you using anyway?
Old 6 days ago
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polymorphia View Post
Let me explain what I mean a bit better:

It's mainly in how you define "quiet parts" or "loud parts." By a musical definition, with parts meaning notes, phrases, passages, parallel compression still affects the loud parts.

Here's what I mean: Obviously, each note is going to have an attack/decay/sustain/release. If you use parallel compression and bring up the make-up gain, you are obviously bringing up the entire parallel signal. The loudest parts of the signal in the uncompressed track will seem unaltered; however, notes obviously are not just blocks of gain. Those parts of the attack/decay/sustain/release that fall below the threshold will be perceptibly louder, thereby still effectively compressing the notes themselves. It inherently will give a note more sustain and a softer attack. OP may have wanted this.

But I first interpreted his post in a musical sense. If the OP wanted the soft notes to be louder, while leaving the sound of the loud notes completely and utterly unaltered, parallel compression would not be ideal.
I don’t disagree with you in general and I think we are just parsing terms differently on some of the details.
Where I think you are correct is that listeners may hear reverb tails and held notes bouncing up in level when parallel compression is used in very spare and open compositions. I would not use parallel compression on those compositions. I would also not use it on the majority of spare solo tracks for the same reason.

Generally with parallel compression you don’t bring up the make-up gain at all. The average level of the compressed signal is usually much lower than the main signal. So it is very unusual (and to me, unwanted) to notice the parallel compression doing anything to individual note tails and reverbs, because on low level passages there isn’t enough compression to notice, if any compression at all. In high level passages the relative level of the compressed signal, even though it may be heavily compressed, is not a major part of the overall signal, so you shouldn’t hear artifacts of compression.
Old 6 days ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
I don’t disagree with you in general and I think we are just parsing terms differently on some of the details.
Where I think you are correct is that listeners may hear reverb tails and held notes bouncing up in level when parallel compression is used in very spare and open compositions. I would not use parallel compression on those compositions. I would also not use it on the majority of spare solo tracks for the same reason.

Generally with parallel compression you don’t bring up the make-up gain at all. The average level of the compressed signal is usually much lower than the main signal. So it is very unusual (and to me, unwanted) to notice the parallel compression doing anything to individual note tails and reverbs, because on low level passages there isn’t enough compression to notice, if any compression at all. In high level passages the relative level of the compressed signal, even though it may be heavily compressed, is not a major part of the overall signal, so you shouldn’t hear artifacts of compression.
I actually use it frequently to do just that- add sustain. That was actually the context in which it was first introduced to me. So I instinctively think of it that way. Would you believe me if I told you that before this thread, I had never heard of people using parallel compression for dynamics control? Lol
Old 6 days ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polymorphia View Post
I actually use it frequently to do just that- add sustain. That was actually the context in which it was first introduced to me. So I instinctively think of it that way. Would you believe me if I told you that before this thread, I had never heard of people using parallel compression for dynamics control? Lol
You aren’t using it incorrectly, you are using it for a different purpose.
Who was the first guitar player who turned his little tube amp way up, even though the smart people said , “Don’t do that! You’re making it sound distorted!”
Old 5 days ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamEZmusic View Post
Dontsimon, have you looked into parallel compression?

In regards to your other post in other thread, I noticed no one commented further so I had a look at the manual on your boss sustainer pedal and this works using parallel compression (level) knob.. you will be able to match setting very closely using your plugin if you heavily or moderately squash signal then blend it in.

If you have a wet/dry knob in your plugin it’s easy. If not then you need to duplicate your track and heavily compress it (or perhaps just a moderate compression), then blend with uncompressed track. Or set up a send/return to do the same thing so you can hear it in real-time if monitoring an instrument.

If you already figured this out, good! If not I wanted to chime in on this topic because feel more comfortable bumping your thread instead of other guys.

What daw or compressor plugin you using anyway?
Thanks for your replies.

I'm using Cubase 7 currently, with a few compressors - mostly TDR Kotelnikov and MJUC.

The guitar thing from the other thread is a different need anyway from this one. For this one I just want to level out a bass guitar without using compression in the standard way. I've been doing it with volume automation so far - the upward compression idea is just an experiement really, see what results I get.
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