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Compression Techniques
Old 16th May 2004
  #61
Quote:
Originally posted by GRiFF
I was trained by a guy who was into eqing before the compressor, I did this initially, but just naturally gravitated towards the post compressor EQ. It makes sense to me to level things off and then EQ a spark back in.

I suspect, those that eq before the compressor have a more informed idea of what these processes do. ThrillFactor gives the impression that he's done it each and everyway and now the EQ/Compressor world is his for the taking!

Think I'm gonna re-visit this eqing before compressor idea, real soon.
Griff,

I do the EQ before compression when mixing vocals because i want the compressor to push only a section of the vocal(the weakest areas) and not to compress the other parts. This way the vocal stays steady in the mix without it sounding squashed. I then with automation design the dynamic performance. Its tedious but to my ears it sounds the most natural.

I normally have another EQ after to sweeten what ever is left(usually add a tiny bit of air).

Also certain comps load better with certain EQ's in front.

For these situations i like comps that are not as colored, very dynamic(with attack and release controls), but push the right parts of a vocal.

I only do compression before when i want the signature from the comp(if the vocal was tracked very badly for example).

If the vocal is thin or edgy for example i might color it with a Neve comp,Gates Sta level,LA2A or if i have one around a Vac Rac limiter.

I will pair it off with another colored EQ(Neve,Pultec or MP EQ).

And that i will send if needed to another EQ/comp combo.

What kind of settings?

If its EQ before the comp, the comp will have the highest threshold,lowest ratio and med slow attack and very long release(basically its only working on the parts of the vocal frequency wise that i want).

If i am hearing it than its too much.

If its EQ after than its usually a surgery situation, so that could be from subtle to extreme depending on the comp.

Basically anything goes.
Old 16th May 2004
  #62
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Thrill'....you'll like the Ibis.....it kills the MP in terms of sound....'specially above 4k and below 100hz....there's really no comparison......the only thing the MP wins on is in terms of EQ shape-ability (not real word)....the MP is way more verstaile in that regard......the Ibis can do the air thing in spades (where the MP fails as you know)......

And the color knob.....man, you'll love it!......specially in single band mode.....you can boost with loadsa gain and only a little color, or the other way round......add loadsa color and only a little boost.....insane!......you'll want more then one, i promise.....cheers D.
Old 16th May 2004
  #63
A week ago, I didn't know what I know about compression now.
This thread has been a complete success for me (even despite some misunderstandings)
Really good stuff all.

I particularly like the idea that a compressor can be used to shape audio toneally, this is quite an advanced idea to me, but an exciting one.

The use of an eq before and after the compressor has been explained brilliantly, I can almost 'feel' when I might use it in the future.

Yesterday I did a quick mix and it was such a different feeling to use compression (as I always have) but to understand why I prefered certain settings.

As a result, I found that I could 'tidy up' my choices. And confidently set my release times, getting the groove of the compressor happening much more effectively.

The end result was subtle but was re-assuringly 'right'

Also I think I want a Transient Designer, I've heared great stuff about these babys.
TD Users - Is it worth the extra pounds in going for the TD4 ??

Keep on guys...
Old 16th May 2004
  #64
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Quote:
Originally posted by GRiFF
TD Users - Is it worth the extra pounds in going for the TD4 ??

Keep on guys...
definately......the TD4 has balanced in/out (the TD2 doesn't)
Old 16th May 2004
  #65
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"Your talking about OHs - overhead mics?? Sometimes I'm not sure if this is an americanism, or a pro-tools-ism.
Assuming I understood you right, this sounds cool, so your just pumping the ambience and giving the drums a trashier, more wild vibe??"

That is correct. Overheads.

"I'd seen <--OH--> being written on consoles even before protools became a household name. So it would have to be an americanism."

I was doing this long before I had Protools. Who remembers keeping strips of tape hanging around....I love just opening a session where it was left.

"The result you are describing (to me at least) seems to be something you would get from squishing the room mics, rather than the overheads."

That is where I got the idea from... I don't have a nice room currently. I am building a nice room (by my standards) and hope to use this approach correctly when it is complete.

"Compressing overheads tends to bring out the cymbals, unless you make the compressor pump."

This is what it does. My best description would be the drums sound like they are boiling. And with attack and release you make it boil in time (?), still wild but, controlled......

I sometimes dup the tracks and mix this with the original.
Usually on a mellow song.


D
Old 16th May 2004
  #66
LTA
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Quote:
Originally posted by GRiFF
@LTA - Overheads here (UK) describes the positioning of a stereo mic placement above , in front, or behind the drums also.
Just wanted to make sure

Now, i have heard new york style vs LA style vs Nashville style argued a few times before, and I am still waiting for a UK vs USA comparision.

It is the approach, rather than the knobs being tweaked, that i'd been lurking this thread to find out. I think that was the intention of this thread too. All i've gotten for this is "Tweak it by ear," with both parties actually tweaking different things in different ways to different goals. And basically, what was said in the first post concerning US engineers tending towards augmenting the transients, and UK engineers minimizing them. One is aggressive, the other is more smooth. I never, oddly, felt this was a gear question.

Still, some good info in this thread, but i think it could still be great. If it could keep from being sidetracked tutt
Old 16th May 2004
  #67
Quote:
Originally posted by jazzius II
Thrill'....you'll like the Ibis.....it kills the MP in terms of sound....'specially above 4k and below 100hz....there's really no comparison......the only thing the MP wins on is in terms of EQ shape-ability (not real word)....the MP is way more verstaile in that regard......the Ibis can do the air thing in spades (where the MP fails as you know)......

And the color knob.....man, you'll love it!......specially in single band mode.....you can boost with loadsa gain and only a little color, or the other way round......add loadsa color and only a little boost.....insane!......you'll want more then one, i promise.....cheers D.
Jazzius,


Its funny since i've gone back to mixing mostly on analog i've been thinking it be great to have another MP EQ for mixing background vocals. Before i would process and retrack the process, but i am kinda getting tired of that and i need speed these days. The mixing gigs are coming so fast, i am going to have to do a Noah's Ark on the MP EQ.

Wow, the Ibis sounds phenomenal.

Maybe i should skip on the NSEQ-2 and go straight to the Ibis.

Only problem is i am saving for a downpayment on an apartment here in NYC and that is about the same price as the Ibis itself.

Lets see...be homeless for a couple of months...or get an Ibis?

Wow tough decision.

Maybe i should flip a coin.
Old 16th May 2004
  #68
@Thrill excellent post

@Jazz, right my mind is made up
Old 16th May 2004
  #69
Quote:
Originally posted by jazzius II
definately......the TD4 has balanced in/out (the TD2 doesn't)
Jazzius are you sure?

The TD2 i have i think is TRS.

By the way, my personal opinion is that the TD is a little over rated.

Its a one tricky pony and doesn't always fit the bill.

Also you can't it hit it too hard.

It needs to be matched with the right filter/EQ to blend in with the track.

I have had one for 2 years and in the last year i might have used it once or twice.

It does look cool in the rack though.

Especially when the lights are going in and out.
Old 16th May 2004
  #70
Quote:
Originally posted by GRiFF
@Thrill excellent post

@Jazz, right my mind is made up
Griff,

Your welcome.thumbsup

Its tough to talk about settings sometimes.

I also teach a mixing class here in NYC sometimes and to explain to someone what you are hearing when you are sweeping an attack/release is tricky.

I can hear the changes right away and they can't.

But that's also because i've trained my ears over the years to hear the subtle differences or the "in between"(something i stress to them more).

Also the secret to "effective"compression is not just the settings, but which ones to choose and in what combinations.

That comes with experience and trial and error.
Old 16th May 2004
  #71
Quote:
Originally posted by LTA
Just wanted to make sure


It is the approach, rather than the knobs being tweaked, that i'd been lurking this thread to find out. I think that was the intention of this thread too.
It was LTA, I think its coming - slowly.

But for now...

My opinion about the UKvsUSA is that the USA is actually very similar to its film industry - huge production values, massive celeb appeal and incredible performances.
Similarly the UK film industry has moments of genius but usually no major budget or superstar glamour factor.
I think we like it this way, it suits us, we are a small island with 55million people living here and anyone getting too much attention gets slammed.

How does this translate into music? I think we like a quirky sound that gets printed early on in the process.
Think Sgt Peppers, excellent production, but with lots of printed fx and ideas that couldn't be undone, the end result is less 'sonically deep' but perhaps more 'artistic'

The compression settings we use reflect that attitude, fast, crude but actually capturing a zingier, more disposable attitude.
The idea of using a compressor for anything other than managing levels is frowned upon here (well, not that you can't experiment, but you get taken apart and told you should get the eq right in the first place)

Another interesting preference is how we use Shure dynamic SM57s to mic 99% of our electric guitar sounds, the US appear to favour large diaphragm mics, for a much more detailed sound.
I think that right there is a massive difference in attitude.

As the song goes we say tomato you say tomate - toe!
Old 16th May 2004
  #72
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Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
Jazzius are you sure?.......The TD2 i have i think is TRS.




Thrill'....they may have changed it....according to the SPL website, the TD2 runs un-balanced...

Quote:
By the way, my personal opinion is that the TD is a little over rated.

Its a one tricky pony and doesn't always fit the bill.

Also you can't it hit it too hard.

It needs to be matched with the right filter/EQ to blend in with the track.

I have had one for 2 years and in the last year i might have used it once or twice.

It does look cool in the rack though.

Especially when the lights are going in and out.
yeah, that's my main complaint about the TD4.....it lack headroom.......but i'm not sure if it's (input) level dependent....what i noticed was it distorts, even when you turn the input level way down........(which makes me think it's the process that creates the distortion, rather then a lack of headroom.....hmmmmm)

I'd love to see an improved version with more headroom, and with variable attack/hold/release.....maybe even a sidechain filter.....yeah, at the moment it is a 1 (well, 2) trick pony........Thrill'...how are you getting bangin' beats without the TD?

Also. have you tried this?......TD......into.........something with gain (i use STC-8)..........into..............Neve 1073 with the line level all the way up? .......insane!......'cause the Neve soaks up all that transient!........fat!
Old 16th May 2004
  #73
Heres a compressor contribution - you need a UREI 117LN compressor, or a UAD emulation. Punch in all the ratio buttons, and crank attack and release 100% clockwise.
This is great for a really cool distorted, compressed bass.

Might be an old one, but its a goodie, you've likely all used it.
Old 16th May 2004
  #74
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Quote:
Originally posted by GRiFF
Another interesting preference is how we use Shure dynamic SM57s to mic 99% of our electric guitar sounds, the US appear to favour large diaphragm mics, for a much more detailed sound.
I think that right there is a massive difference in attitude.

the good ole 57 is used here in the states a lot more than you think I'd believe. Though there's also a lot of multi-mic'ing going on....the 57 is still the most widely used electric guitar mic that I know of.

I've sometimes wondered if the difference in frequency and voltage between our side of the pond and yours might have something to do with the sound of recordings in general....120V 60Hz vs 220V 50Hz....but that's another thread and I'll start one....



Regarding compression approach, there's many different reasons for adding a compressor to a signal chain. DO KEEP IN MIND THAT EVERY ENGINEER USES COMPRESSION IN HIS/HER OWN FASHION AND I AM BY NO MEANS WRITING A RULE BOOK.

First and foremost is during the tracking process. During tracking compressors are added to a signal chain to keep a steady level of signal which allows for louder recordings and (especially in todays world of computer recording) more use of available bit depth.
I do like to use compression while tracking vocals (into pro-tools...tape is different) especially unless the artist has a super steady voice. The reason for this is to control the really quick attacks that incur while singing, thus allowing me to get a few more db of gain into pro-tools. I find that adding those few more db of gain, getting the level steady into the yellow, area add's so much more presence to the recording. It's almost like the vocals "come to life" in a sense.
Of course vocals aren't the only instruments we record and using compressors while tracking on other instruments is also a possibility for the same reasons. Say we have a drummer who's playing is all over the place......compressing the snare while tracking will bring that snare to a more constant level. I also like to compress the bass on the way in....bass easily get's out of hand and can cause havok on your mix buss.
For some generic settings while tracking I like to use slower attacks on things like vocals and bass...and faster attacks on quicker instruments like snares and such. I'll adjust the release times and thresholds to acomplish whatever goal I've set out for. On instruments like vocals I use a small ratio..2-3:1. While on bass depending on the user and the song I might hit it pretty hard or just use some light compression to kill peaks. Using compression while tracking should be done by someone who's comfortable with it because once it's recorded, it's there....

Now....when we get to the mix process things can change. We can still approach compression with the intent of leveling some crazy performances, but we can also use compression for other things.
Using compressors for fx is something that every engineer dabbles with at one time or another. You can use compressors to make a song pump...or make an instrument/group of instruments pump. You can bring out sounds that you might not have heard before in a recording......you can also squash a whole mix which will kill the sound of the song..but if that's your thing they hey...do your thing.
A compressor is the ultimate envelope generator/modifier.
You can also use compressors to enhance or change other effects. Like squashing a reverbs returns....or compressing a flanger and making it pump in and out with the tempo of something....maybe make it follow the bass track or something.

Compressors effect every instrument in a different fashion...and knowing what it will do is only half the battle. (Go GI Joe!!!...................................ok ok.....)

Then we can get into the different colors of compressors, and the difference between compressors and limiters (which essentially is the ratio of compression).
Just like any other audio gear...different compressors have different charistaricts and affect audio in different ways. Some are cleaner...some warmer, some are faster and some are slower. Some are brittle and some are generally weak. What's most important is knowing what these different compressors sound like and in what fashion they perform the best.....also knowing what sounds to use them on.

I think it's best to have a goal before you patch a compressor across an instrument. Know what your working for...whether it be to control level or add some life to something. This will help direct your twisting and turning.........
Always remember....the attack is your friend.
Old 16th May 2004
  #75
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Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
..
I also teach a mixing class here in NYC sometimes and to explain to someone what you are hearing when you are sweeping an attack/release is tricky.

I can hear the changes right away and they can't.
...
A good way for beginning ears to get a grasp on attack/release would be to get a snare track and put a high ratio and low threshold so it's really squashing it and then experiment with the attack/release settings. It's usually a lot easier to hear the effects of attack/release on a snare compared to a whole drumsub cause there's more space to play with the release. After this it's easier to move on to other things like bass, vox, etc..


Quote:
I think it's best to have a goal before you patch a compressor across an instrument. Know what your working for...whether it be to control level or add some life to something. This will help direct your twisting and turning.........[/
This is soo true!!
when I just started out I read all these articles in magazine's where they discussed these 'magic' settings and so when I started mixing I used to think of all these 'settings' and thinking how I could apply it to the tracks before even really LISTENING to the tracks and thinking about what the arrangment and song needs...
Old 16th May 2004
  #76
Quote:
Originally posted by strauss
A good way for beginning ears to get a grasp on attack/release would be to get a snare track and put a high ratio and low threshold so it's really squashing it and then experiment with the attack/release settings. It's usually a lot easier to hear the effects of attack/release on a snare compared to a whole drumsub cause there's more space to play with the release. After this it's easier to move on to other things like bass, vox, etc..
That's if you are into compressing snares which i am not(and i do tell this to them).

But they do know they have the option.
Old 16th May 2004
  #77
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Thrill,
Are you more into writing automation than using compressors? I get this feeling you don't use them much...not as much as some others do...

Also have you ever compressed fx returns and if so what do you think of it?

(just picking your brain a little)
Old 16th May 2004
  #78
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Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
That's if you are into compressing snares which i am not(and i do tell this to them).

But they do know they have the option.
I actually never compress the snare either if I do it's on a mult.
Though It really helped me to understand attack/release settings better...
Old 16th May 2004
  #79
Quote:
Originally posted by djui5
Thrill,
Are you more into writing automation than using compressors? I get this feeling you don't use them much...not as much as some others do...

Also have you ever compressed fx returns and if so what do you think of it?

(just picking your brain a little)
Randy,

Yes and no.

I am definitely an automation person, but i do more subcompression techniques than straight on compression.

I feel i retain more of the clarity and dynamics of the tracks by using these techniques.

Also i can squeeze out more level at the end than most guys who "cram" everything.

This is also more helpful i feel when you are trying to manupulate the emotional content of a mix, which to me is more important than geting my drums to "pop".

Once in a while i might compress the efx returns(actually more of the sends) and at times i have used expansion on reverb effect returns(like for snare and kicks).

I think people abuse the whole "compression" thing because they think that's how the "pros" do it. I have to have a compressor on everything because so and so does. The truth is when you have to work fast (which when you are mixing for a living is a must) you really start to get an understanding of that mantra of "less is more".
Old 16th May 2004
  #80
Quote:
Originally posted by strauss
I actually never compress the snare either if I do it's on a mult.
Though It really helped me to understand attack/release settings better...
thumbsup

Actually i like using a kick or bass(which i rarely compress straight on either).

It actually helps you hear the dangers of over compression.
Old 16th May 2004
  #81
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Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
Once in a while i might compress the efx returns(actually more of the sends) and at times i have used expansion on reverb effect returns(like for snare and kicks).
Compressing the sends is something I haven't done. I like that.....it makes sense.


Thanks for the reply Thrill. Once again my line of though has opened up for all kinds of new ideas.
Old 16th May 2004
  #82
Quote:
Originally posted by djui5
Compressing the sends is something I haven't done. I like that.....it makes sense.


Thanks for the reply Thrill. Once again my line of though has opened up for all kinds of new ideas.
Your welcome

There lots of tricks you can do to the sends.

One of the things i like doing with the background vocals sends is sending them through an enhancer(Roland EH5) before hitting a chorus/delays. This way only the top end is chorused without it getting to "smarmy" on the return.

I like using an enhancer because i use less EQ going and returning(remember the phase thing).

By the way this is the secret to getting a stereo chorus(TC 2290) on your bass tracks. No chorus on the bass means that the top end is getting the "glow".

Trust me this will help the bass cut through even on an Auratone.

On the automation/compression thing, i think the guy that does it really well is TLA.

I think he and Chris are the guys that started this whole comp craze.

I think what sets TLA mixes apart from CLA's is his use of automation along with the crazy compression. You really hear his talent as a producer when he brings out the important elements and changes in the songs he mixes.
Old 16th May 2004
  #83
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Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor


By the way this is the secret to getting a stereo chorus(TC 2290) on your bass tracks. No chorus on the bass means that the top end is getting the "glow".
That's really cool. I like that one.

You got some tricks up your sleeve don't you.


I remember when I was in school my studio maintence teacher taught us to tell people "I got tricks", you'd be one of those people who does.
Old 17th May 2004
  #84
Guess your mostly Protools users here...but...Does anyone use NUENDO? And if you do, have you ever tried to trigger a compressor with side chain (WAVES)using a kick drum from another track???
Is it possible?
Old 17th May 2004
  #85
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clueless bout NUENDO ... sorry , but sidechain compressions a very handy tool !

heh
Old 17th May 2004
  #86
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I believe one of the comps of the TC Native Bundle does that.
Old 17th May 2004
  #87
Rage, do you use NUENDO or CUBASE?
The Waves compressors have the side chain featured (which I have), but I'm getting nowhere in being able to route them around. This is easily done in Logic, but I've heared the Steinberg sequencers don't do it, just wondering if thats the case for NUENDO.
Old 17th May 2004
  #88
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dont do it ? ... cant believe they missed a feature like that !?

Old 17th May 2004
  #89
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Quote:
Originally posted by GRiFF
Guess your mostly Protools users here...but...Does anyone use NUENDO? And if you do, have you ever tried to trigger a compressor with side chain (WAVES)using a kick drum from another track???
Is it possible?
http://www.db-audioware.com/dbd.htm
Old 17th May 2004
  #90
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actually, DB Audioware seems to have a new plugin suite that looks very interesting....(if you're into that sort of ting)

.....here....
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