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Why do people compress electric guitars? Dynamics Plugins
Old 23rd August 2014
  #31
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnylondon View Post
Just to be clear - I was talking purely about compressing the track, nothing to do with anything in the guitar/amp signal path.

Monotremata - I see you do the thing panning one left and one right - so the compressors could tighten the two if they are slightly off? (KRStudio - you mention this too). Interesting. I heard that Hetfield puts a third "thickener" track sat centrally. I thought to try that but feel sure with my sloppy playing it'll just start to sound too indistinct (with three guitar parts of the exact same thing)... definitely one to try with compressors - I guess you need to link the L/R comps and I suppose side chain the "thickener"?

Maybe the answer is just to nail it good and tight like Hetfield does
Yeah thats pretty much why I do it. As I said, when I track my own stuff I do the first pass, then immediately do the second one. Even then, without moving the mic, amp settings, or anything, the two tracks are never 'equal' so I send em to a stereo bus with an 1176 type comp.. Never squeezing the crap out of em, just a little 'smoothing' and keeping em together..

Randy Rhoads used to triple track as well. One panned hard left, one hard right and a third straight up the middle.. Guy was a madman, he even triple tracked his solos and NAILED each take perfectly..

I never knew Hetfield did that as well. Makes sense though on the classic albums since he was the only one playing on the records, and Kirk's always had pretty crappy tone haha.
Old 24th August 2014
  #32
Weird, this thread is glitching up horribly for me. Cannot view page 2.
Old 24th August 2014
  #33
I suppose some people use compression to try to get the hills and valleys to level out in a recording. Since I play with a lot of dynamics, I try to avoid this- If I boost a little during a lead solo, I want that level to be noticeably higher than the other background playing. That's only if I am not doing overdubs and I have limited tracks for adding instruments, which is usually the case. I normally don't add more than three tracks, usually two, doubled each playing the same part. That's just for one project though, at times I have layered several parts into the project, each which may only span a portion of the whole song. If I do it that way, I usually do compress the parts a little. Sound Forge which I use for editing, has a little tool called "Wave Hammer" that I use when I want to beef up a sound. If I do it that way, then I don't have to ride the levels during a mixdown or assign automation, because everything is at the level it needs to be when the part comes up in the song. I try to play so that nobody has to ride my volume though.
Old 24th August 2014
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monotremata View Post
Randy Rhoads used to triple track as well. One panned hard left, one hard right and a third straight up the middle.. Guy was a madman, he even triple tracked his solos and NAILED each take perfectly..
As much as a Rhoads fan as I am, and I don't think this deprecates his talents IMO "Tracking with perfect precision" in rock is very low down on my list of wows.

I am positive some of those solos used ADT... At certain points.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
Even top professionals disagree on doing certain things, always, sometimes or never. And they are all "correct" in the sense that they make good recordings. That's what makes it interesting.
Right.
Sometimes, the "top" guys do things that we subsequently find are done based on a misunderstanding, even actually inaudible, myth-based stuff - and yet they still make "good records".

For disto rhythms, I don't often use comp - but it has happened.
Mostly to control thump, or sculpt the attack on sustained chords... Many rave about hitting tape hard with crunch guitars, even though I used to, I don't miss it so much - and that is a form of compression.
Old 24th August 2014
  #35
Quote:
Originally Posted by frans View Post
I can speak only for myself and my methods, which may suck, but... I never understood either. If the waveform looks already like a brick you could only grab the frontend of the first block and make it "pop" more, like a snare with maybe 35ms attack. Sometimes it's the extra grit and gnarl some compressors bring without doing much to the levels, like a 1176, running without moving the needle.
Too much compression (or too much gain on a guitar either) makes the sound thin, farty, fizzy, weak. That can be nice to bring it up a bit under tracks that still have some attack and dynamics, like a sauce. But surely not as a main guitar track, in most cases.
Another one would be that some compressors, even without doing any reduction, have the effect of "bringing it forward" a bit, adding a little urgency.

But IF something can take a little friendly compression it's a signal with too wide dynamics or something that GOT dynamics you want to reshape.
I think it gets down to the fact that there are countless different guitar sounds, clean and dirty.

While there's generally not much point in compressing heavily crunched out guitars (because the distortion process pretty much leaves them at all or nothing levels), considerably lesser levels of distortion can be combined with dedicated compression to finesse certain types of sounds.
Old 24th August 2014
  #36
Quote:
Originally Posted by chainrule View Post
Compressing distorted guitars is amateur, there is no reason to.
So then this guy is an amateur:

Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Chris Lord-Alge

"On the console I'm pretty sure that my main compressor on the guitars was the [Teletronix] LA3, moving 2-3dB, maybe 5dB"
Old 24th August 2014
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx View Post
So then this guy is an amateur:

Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Chris Lord-Alge

"On the console I'm pretty sure that my main compressor on the guitars was the [Teletronix] LA3, moving 2-3dB, maybe 5dB"
Personally I think his stuff sounds absolutely horrible. 1/2 the reason modern music sounds so bad is because of guys like him. He slams everything to oblivion. None of his records have any dynamics or any natural musicality.
Old 24th August 2014
  #38
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnylondon View Post
I've read much about the need to (sometimes heavily) compress distorted electric guitars. This always puzzles me, as I feel that the distortion process adds its own form of compression anyway.
Well, I've tried compressing distorted guitars, and couldn't see any benefit - at best a "slight difference" at worst no difference except bringing the noise floor up.
What's it all about?
I rarely compress distorted gtrs for the reasons you stated, but on the occasions where I do, there are 3 main reasons that come to mind.

1 - Palm mutes. When they pop out too much sometimes a little compression is helpful to reign them in.

2 - Summing. When layered together sometimes build-ups occur and compression on a gtr subgroup can be of help evening things out.

3 - Tone. Coloration from a high end compressor like an 1176 or LA2A can be pretty sweet when it fits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnylondon View Post
I use a Crest Century vx desk, and out board compressors (3630, yes I know!) so is it just that my compressor is so rubish?
Yes, unfortunately the Alesis isn't really up to the task of showing what compression can do...
Old 24th August 2014
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe_04_04 View Post
Weird, this thread is glitching up horribly for me. Cannot view page 2.
I had the same problem yesterday

it usually clears up after "enough" posts have been added

I think I read somewhere it has something to do with people deleting posts, thus confusing the part of the program that 'counts' the pages.
Old 24th August 2014
  #40
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
I had the same problem yesterday

it usually clears up after "enough" posts have been added

I think I read somewhere it has something to do with people deleting posts, thus confusing the part of the program that 'counts' the pages.
Thanks, as soon as I posted my comment about not being able to view it, I was able to view it.
Old 25th August 2014
  #41
Gear Nut
I had the same problem, it just kept going to page 1, whatever I did. But I'm here now

Can't wait to record my next track with a "thickener" (and l/r guitars) and some extra compression. Still will be a while as have something on the desk at the mo that's just waiting for vox.
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