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Do you use your compressor to achieve gain?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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jnorman's Avatar
Do you use your compressor to achieve gain?

I use fabfilter pro-c2, and generally use the classical warm preset for most mixes, but I have noticed that it is applying around 3dB of overall gain and uses a ratio of about 2.5:1. I have read that I should not be using the compressor to get more gain (that I should control gain via track or master buss), and that I should not be using a ratio of more than maybe 1.3:1 to keep it clean.

Assuming the above is correct, I would be interested in hearing what kind of compressor settings you would normally use for duos or small ensemble recordings - ratios, thresholds, etc, and whether you allow the compressor to apply any gain.

Thanks.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
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the gain in a compressor is usually just applied to compensate for what has been reduced by appliying compression and hence called 'make up gain' - settings depend on material and can heavily affect the 'feel'/rhythm if not chosen well: the attack too fast and you kill all transients, the release too slow and you emphasize the sustain - make the comp follow the waveform and the tempo and use slower settings for lower frequencies.

cannot comment on plugins much (and even less on presets; i find them mostly pretty much pointless)...



p.s. to make things loud, use a limiter, not a compressor!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
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jnorman's Avatar
Thanks deedee - yes, I understand make-up gain, but this patch is adding about 3dB to the original signal. I am not interested in “loud” and never use a limiter - I control peaks using volume envelopes. Mostly I am just trying to bring up the quietest parts a few dB in the most transparent way I can...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
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I tend to compress from 1.1:1 to 2:1 (at most) if it's required, and set the makeup gain by ear, so that the input/output is pretty much equivalent....it's not scientific and done by ear and feel ...and lots of bypass A/B comparisons.

That baked-in 3dB gain in Fabfilter seems to be a somewhat self-indulgent/self-conscious attempt at "look at me, look how useful I am", and both unwelcome and unnecessary (just turn it down 3dB at the output, if it allows that ?)

Adding to the recipe above, set Threshold low enough so that it's doing lots of low level compression most of the time, like adding a little cornflour to the stew to thicken and richen it up a tad...yum !
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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compression doesn't make things louder but softer; it's the gain which brings up the level - doesn't matter where it's in the signal path (file/section level, track level, channel level, subgroup level, comp gain make up level etc.)

i'm using a normalizer or upward compression if i need to bring up softer sections or a limiter (with its gain/drive section) if i want to get more overall level (and cannot just gain up files).
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
Some compressors have limits on where you set the threshold, and in those cases gain at the input stage of the compressor can be useful.

I tend to always think of a compressor as something that reduces dynamic range. When used on an instrument, I generally am adjusting threshold, slope, knee, and attack/release times by ear to get the sound I want, then I may adjust output gain for the track level that I want. When used on a mix, then I'm much more likely to "calculate first then listen", as I'm probably trying to fit the content within a specified envelope first, then make it as transparent as possible second.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
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DaveyJones's Avatar
 

I'm always very happy to use the makeup gain in Pro C2. The fabfilter plugins are fantastic; they sound great, the visuals they give are very useful and they are completely adjustable in any way you need.

Generally though, I don't like to use compression on classical music recorded on location. I find that even on very subtle ratios, you can hear them working in the ambient noise that is often so inherent in location recorded music. So I tend to fader ride instead as you can get away with much larger gain changes and hide it in inaudible ways.

If you DO want to go down the plugin route I would point you to the Flux: Solera plugin. Normally compression works by turning down the loudest parts. In the Solera plugin you can use it in de-expansion mode which sets a threshold level and once the volume drops below the threshold it raises the volume. So it works in the opposite way as a normal compressor by bringing UP the quiet parts instead of pushing DOWN the loud parts.

It's not the cheapest plugin but I've never seen anything like it and it can be really really transparent when set just right for the program material.


Dave
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
Gear Head
Had anyone used both Flux Solera and a hardware Junger Dxx or Accent in this role, such that they could compare? Inquiring minds...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
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DaveyJones's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klimermonk View Post
Had anyone used both Flux Solera and a hardware Junger Dxx or Accent in this role, such that they could compare? Inquiring minds...
I have not used the Junger stuff. I've heard their hardware units were top of the line in their time. It seems their software versions are now distributed by Flux by looking at their website...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
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a short limiting of peaks can get noticed much less than compression; i do however use compression on spot mics to emulate what some air does which smoothing some of the transients ('cause no one likes listening to a singer at the distance where the mic goes).
i notice a bit of a difference between a younger and an older audience but also classically trained musicians of different age when it come to dynamic processing: youger people are much more used to hear popular music which got heavily processed and some of them (who also know a bit about recording/mixing) even expect the signal of their voice or instrument to be somewhat processed...
my only reservation when using compression is that a compressor imo first and foremost is a rhythmic tool 'cause one can adjust attack and release and hence influence the rhythmic structure of how a signal behaves!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveyJones View Post
I have not used the Junger stuff. I've heard their hardware units were top of the line in their time. It seems their software versions are now distributed by Flux by looking at their website...
experienced user of jünger hardware here: their 'multi loop' dynamic processor for which the d0x, b4x and accent series are famous did NOT (yet?) get implemented in their plugin! currently it's the 'level magic' tool which is also very helpful on some occasions but is aiming elsewhere and yields vastly different results to the muli-loop processing.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
.. Mostly I am just trying to bring up the quietest parts a few dB in the most transparent way I can...
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
..Adding to the recipe above, set Threshold low enough so that it's doing lots of low level compression most of the time, like adding a little cornflour to the stew to thicken and richen it up a tad..yum !
The caution I think of -and try to consider in these situations, the downside with a threshold low enough to address quieter passages is the effect of putting the whole mix into a constant state of gain reduction.
Perhaps gain envelope rides where needed instead?

I wanted this.. but it went away apparently..
https://www.barryrudolph.com/mix/rnddynamizer.html

There were a few similar, but seems always had global attack and release -and perhaps even ratio. (That's to say the action (response) up top vs lower level needs would seldom match I believe.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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Not keen on compression for Classical capture
Prefer adaptive limiting which looks ahead for gain reduction
Even this is prone to failure with delicate material
Currently editing a powerful female soprano and piano in a lovely hall
Her voice coarsens on compression, limiting is better, but where to allocate gain is a puzzle
Trial and error as always, and essentially, Less is More.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
Not keen on compression for Classical capture
Certainly not during capture....let 24 or 32 bit recording take care of any need for that. Doesn't stop CD mfrs using it for the distribution part of the chain however....
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