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Buss Compression on Hip Hop Verse and Hook
Old 19th April 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Buss Compression on Hip Hop Verse and Hook

I make hip hop/rap. I’ve been focusing on trying to get my mixes to sound glued and professional since I’m planning on releasing a project soon, and I’ve seen people recommending bus compression (as well as having a common reverb) as a way of “glueing” the track together.


That brings me to a couple questions. First, would it make sense to buss ALL main vocals (hook and verse) together and compress them together? Second, if it does make sense to compress them all together and do other effects seperately, then how would I deal with setting the threshold for the compression? For example, my hooks are often close to peaking and my verses are usually more of a moderate size. If I set the threshold to the point where the verse was being affected by the compression as well, wouldn’t it overcompress the hook since the hook is significantly louder? Also, if I should bus the verse/hook vocals together, what other effects would it help to also put on that bus to affect both the verse and hook together?
Old 19th April 2019
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

Generally I set up a seperate bus for all my verse vocals, leads and doubles, and another one for my hook vocals.

But yes, I’m regards to reverb I use one aux for the whole track unless using a reverb for a particular effect on the hook.
Old 19th April 2019
  #3
Quote:
First, would it make sense to buss ALL main vocals (hook and verse) together and compress them together?
If it gets you the right sound, it makes sense.
Quote:
Second, if it does make sense to compress them all together and do other effects seperately, then how would I deal with setting the threshold for the compression?
You set it according to its highest peak and lowest peak and you adjust it to you lie the overall compression of everything
Old 22nd April 2019
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

Sometimes it can be cool to use a different reverb for the hook than the verse. For example, if the verse is in a lower octave you might want to use a darker reverb by cutting some high end from the reverb, and if the artists changes to a higher pitch during the hook it can be cool to bring in a brighter reverb by bringing that high end back. It’s a cool effect that can make the mix way more interesting and draw the listener in even more.

There’s a lot more cool tricks you can do in the mix to make hooks more interesting as well like maybe turning up the parallel compression using automation and stuff like that. I like to get really creative when making my hook sound different and interesting compared to the verse. It can create some really great moments within the mix.
Old 23rd April 2019
  #5
Gear Nut
 
zukan's Avatar
 

I use two comps in series for most lead vocals to control and grab transients and push and thicken the body.

I send the vocals to a dedicated bus which then houses all the glue processes.

I also have a dedicated effects group which has s/c comp on it to duck effects when the lead vocal kicks in.

Many ways to process vocals but TBH it comes down to context.
Old 14th May 2019
  #6
Lives for gear
I'm not really seeing why someone would bus compress only the vocals... unless you just happen to really like the sound of that bus compressor.

In my opinion, when you bus compress... you're compressing other elements of the song together to glue them up. So for me.... I would first manually lower the volume of the hook inside the DAW (lower the gain... not fader... this is part of gain staging) so that it's level with the verse. Then use whatever regular compression I enjoy on the vocals. I would then use an EQ to find the sweet spot of the vocals, determine that frequency, and carve that frequency out of other elements of the beat that compete with it by 3-6db to create more space for the vocals.

THEN... I would bus compress the vocals & beat on the master out for the glue.

That's just how I would approach it.

I would use a VU meter set to K-14 for everything to make sure the needle stays in the ballpark of 0VU, before bus compression. After my levels are good, the mix is practically complete (but not loud yet) and I'm ready to bus compress... I don't care much about the VU metering anymore, at that point. I push it and apply a limiter to make sure I don't digitally clip. (Digital clipping is dreadful.)
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