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Finger Picked Acoustic Guitar Mixing Compressor?
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Chevron's Avatar
 

Finger Picked Acoustic Guitar Mixing Compressor?

Posted about this An unusual, and specific question I know. I have been playing a lot of finger style acoustic guitar lately, as I am working on a project where it is the main instrument - learning acoustic Led Zep songs in my younger days has given me a good grounding for this

I find it easier to compress after recording, because it's easy to over do it in the recording and also noise can be an issue with outboard compressors.

Anyways, so far I have found the Fabfilter Pro-C compressor plug in achieves the most control over the dynamics and complimenting the sound of the guitar, whilst sounding pretty neutral - even over my outboard compressors.

So I am looking for alternatives that are great for controlling the dynamics and plucky nature of finger picked acoustic. Not necessarily clean sounding either.

Be cool to hear of other suggestions though, plug in or hardware. I've tried an 1176, Distressor and a bunch of Waves, UAD and other plug ins.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Nut
 
zukan's Avatar
 

A dynamic eq will work in place of a compressor and can often yield better results as most MBCs have fixed crossovers. The FabFilter MB is great and I use it often to tame the string resonance or to add more chamber noise to the sound or do find and porocess harmonics and so on. It affords both downward and upward compression and downward and upward expansion: all excellent processes for treating acoustic guitars.

Any of the FETs will do as they can grab attack transient fast due to the nature of the topology and my favourites are the CLA 76 and PSB's FetPressor. For gentle gluing any VariMU or even VCA will do. The Fairchild emulators are great for adding volume and glgue to a sound but I find the SSL G comp works really well with acoustic sounds as it is not as aggressive as other compressors and using genlte ratios works wonders in adding presence and shape to a guitar sound.

if I need a little bit of zing I tend to either use the SDDR by Klenhelm or the DC8. One thing I often do is to use Decapitator ever so gently to add a lite definition to the strings and run this through an upward and downward compressor.

With processing acoustic guitars I find that any half decent compressor with a well defined s/c filter will work. It is the s/c filter that can really helps in using the comp as a shaper for the sound and FabFilter C2 reigns supreme in this department.

But, as is always the case, try different topologies as each will be solution for different scenarios.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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Regarding hardware, Retro 176 is my favorite.

Sounds gorgeous, flexible, fast and the build impresses.

Although not cheap, 176 is a wise investment and, with patient shopping, available used at very fair prices.

In a rack, leave a space above, all those glorious tubes need room to breathe.

As one hopes when buying great tube hardware, Retro Support is excellent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevron View Post
Posted about this An unusual, and specific question I know. I have been playing a lot of finger style acoustic guitar lately, as I am working on a project where it is the main instrument - learning acoustic Led Zep songs in my younger days has given me a good grounding for this

I find it easier to compress after recording, because it's easy to over do it in the recording and also noise can be an issue with outboard compressors.

Anyways, so far I have found the Fabfilter Pro-C compressor plug in achieves the most control over the dynamics and complimenting the sound of the guitar, whilst sounding pretty neutral - even over my outboard compressors.

So I am looking for alternatives that are great for controlling the dynamics and plucky nature of finger picked acoustic. Not necessarily clean sounding either.

Be cool to hear of other suggestions though, plug in or hardware. I've tried an 1176, Distressor and a bunch of Waves, UAD and other plug ins.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 

i dunno... - of course most of us end up using specific gear on specific sources (and we get a habit and confidence in using it) but to me, all gear is 100% agnostic of instrument and genre as long as it's technically capable of performing certain tasks!

the list of gear i've successfully used to tweak signals of finger picked acoustic guitars in 35 years is epic...
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

If you have a clean compressor you like, then a next logical step coult be to try one that has a sonic character.

I have no idea if the Manley Vari-Mu will be good for this application or not. But it's a great sounding compressor (it has a sound), and the UAD emulation is quite good. So if you have UAD hardware, it might be a good time to demo it.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
If I'm compressing in the box, SSL-style bus compressors are actually my favorites for acoustic guitar. Either the Waves or UA emulation typically works for me.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Buzz SOC
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Gear Addict
 
chipss36's Avatar
 

Classical guitar in the right hands would not need compression at all, other than in mastering for levels... such a delicate instrument. Talking solo classical here..
#1 the performance, Some strings squeak less than other’s, if that’s an issue..
#1 A mic Placement...And room, and mic placement again, and again. Runner!!!
#2 Clean pre...

Would not compress anything...
Old 1 week ago
  #9
I've tried many, many compressors over the years to try and tame those annoying ticky transients from picked acoustic guitar. Even tried an SPL Transient Designer. So far, what I've found works best for this purpose is ZULU.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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GreenNeedle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevron View Post
Posted about this An unusual, and specific question I know. I have been playing a lot of finger style acoustic guitar lately, as I am working on a project where it is the main instrument - learning acoustic Led Zep songs in my younger days has given me a good grounding for this

I find it easier to compress after recording, because it's easy to over do it in the recording and also noise can be an issue with outboard compressors.

Anyways, so far I have found the Fabfilter Pro-C compressor plug in achieves the most control over the dynamics and complimenting the sound of the guitar, whilst sounding pretty neutral - even over my outboard compressors.

So I am looking for alternatives that are great for controlling the dynamics and plucky nature of finger picked acoustic. Not necessarily clean sounding either.

Be cool to hear of other suggestions though, plug in or hardware. I've tried an 1176, Distressor and a bunch of Waves, UAD and other plug ins.
Use a tape sim.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chipss36 View Post
Classical guitar in the right hands would not need compression at all, other than in mastering for levels... such a delicate instrument. Talking solo classical here..
#1 the performance, Some strings squeak less than other’s, if that’s an issue..
#1 A mic Placement...And room, and mic placement again, and again. Runner!!!
#2 Clean pre...

Would not compress anything...
I think OP had steel-string in mind, but I don't think you'd get any argument when it comes to the classical repertoire in a hall or church.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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TurboJets's Avatar
Not exactly high end, but I always thought the ART Pro VLA excelled as a really effective and pleasant sounding compressor for fingerstyle acoustic. JJ 12AT7 tubes and the Ratio cranked up to 10:1 or higher. Makes the signal sound huge.

On the high end?...Groove Tubes Glory Comp can also make fingerstyle acoustic sound huge too.

Plugs are great and I love plugs as much as the next guy, but plugs can sometimes flatten a nicely detailed and dimensional capture. Hardware doesn't do that.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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Chevron's Avatar
 

Thanks for suggestions guys. You’re right Brent that I had steel-string acoustic guitars in mind. I should have mentioned that, the Led Zep reference being vague.

In the past I’ve found finger picked acoustic benefits a lot from compression regardless of how good the playing is. In a dense mix this pretty straight forward, but solo or with only lead vocal it’s more exposed and the compression more critical. The tricky part is maintaining good control over the higher, faster and plucky notes that have less level, without over squashing the lower, woodier thumb plucked notes. Definitely multiband compression and/or some tonal control of the compressor side chain works.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Chevron's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenLMorgan View Post
Regarding hardware, Retro 176 is my favorite.

Sounds gorgeous, flexible, fast and the build impresses.

Although not cheap, 176 is a wise investment and, with patient shopping, available used at very fair prices.

In a rack, leave a space above, all those glorious tubes need room to breathe.

As one hopes when buying great tube hardware, Retro Support is excellent.
The Retro 176 looks super cool. I guess it’s a kinda LA-2 kind of thing going on ?
Old 1 week ago
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
___GLM___'s Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevron View Post
The Retro 176 looks super cool. I guess it’s a kinda LA-2 kind of thing going on ?
The Retro Instruments 176 is based on a Bill Putnam classic, the UA 176. The 176 faithfully reproduces the sound of the 1960s original with new features for the modern recording studio.

(from the retro website)
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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Brent Hahn has accurately reminded me on several occasions of the fact that I work within a limited musical genre. To that end several years ago I was highly frustrated with the trashy guitar surface finger picking noise generated by a well known Blues singer. My prized, very sensitive, tube mics that are the cat's ass when micing accomplished steel strung flat top guitar cross picking but they were a very bad fit for this specific performer.
Ultimately the performer suggested using the DI rig that Doc Watson had set up for him to eliminate the superfluous finger picking noise. He knew all too well my very rigid opposition to DIs but at that point I was out of answers. The next session he hooked it up and I put a tight card pattern SM7 on his magnificent vocals and it worked far better than anything I had come up with.
The lesson to be learned is that "staying in our lane can become a deep rut" unless we hold open the possibility that thinking outside of the box is sometimes a good way to wade out of deep dodo!
Hugh
Old 1 week ago
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
Brent Hahn has accurately reminded me on several occasions of the fact that I work within a limited musical genre. To that end several years ago I was highly frustrated with the trashy guitar surface finger picking noise generated by a well known Blues singer. My prized, very sensitive, tube mics that are the cat's ass when micing accomplished steel strung flat top guitar cross picking but they were a very bad fit for this specific performer.
Ultimately the performer suggested using the DI rig that Doc Watson had set up for him to eliminate the superfluous finger picking noise. He knew all too well my very rigid opposition to DIs but at that point I was out of answers. The next session he hooked it up and I put a tight card pattern SM7 on his magnificent vocals and it worked far better than anything I had come up with.
The lesson to be learned is that "staying in our lane can become a deep rut" unless we hold open the possibility that thinking outside of the box is sometimes a good way to wade out of deep dodo!
Hugh
What kind of DI set up was it?
Old 1 week ago
  #18
Gear Addict
 
chipss36's Avatar
 

Sorry guys, had classical guitar on my mind...
Due to latest tracking...oops.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenNeedle View Post
Use a tape sim.
This.

Use a dirty tube preamp sound, a colorful compressor, tape sims. Use a ribbon mic, use a tube mic. Use a bunch of transformer gear.

That is a specific sound that a lot of people are chasing myself included.

Not sure what your goal is but Led Zeppelin is highly processed and not "transparent."
Old 1 week ago
  #20
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tkaitkai's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Coates View Post
I've tried many, many compressors over the years to try and tame those annoying ticky transients from picked acoustic guitar. Even tried an SPL Transient Designer. So far, what I've found works best for this purpose is ZULU.
This has me curious. Do you have any examples you wouldn’t mind sharing?
Old 1 week ago
  #21
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vernier's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevron View Post
Posted about this An unusual, and specific question I know. I have been playing a lot of finger style acoustic guitar lately, as I am working on a project where it is the main instrument - learning acoustic Led Zep songs in my younger days has given me a good grounding for this

I find it easier to compress after recording, because it's easy to over do it in the recording and also noise can be an issue with outboard compressors.

Anyways, so far I have found the Fabfilter Pro-C compressor plug in achieves the most control over the dynamics and complimenting the sound of the guitar, whilst sounding pretty neutral - even over my outboard compressors.

So I am looking for alternatives that are great for controlling the dynamics and plucky nature of finger picked acoustic. Not necessarily clean sounding either.

Be cool to hear of other suggestions though, plug in or hardware. I've tried an 1176, Distressor and a bunch of Waves, UAD and other plug ins.
You don't want to control dynamics, unless it's for effect. Or, if you have a problem with some peaks being out of control.

Fingers picking the strings is musical expression . . dynamics is key here.

As effect, I guess you could compress it a bit, a plugin is good because you can shape it in realtime and decide if you need/like it or not.
Old 1 week ago
  #22
I remember @ Doc mixwell said something about an api 525 working well on acoustic...

I’ve used la3a-a-likes there too. No complaints.
Old 1 week ago
  #23
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GreenNeedle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
This.

Use a dirty tube preamp sound, a colorful compressor, tape sims. Use a ribbon mic, use a tube mic. Use a bunch of transformer gear.

That is a specific sound that a lot of people are chasing myself included.

Not sure what your goal is but Led Zeppelin is highly processed and not "transparent."
Yeah and a U47 goes a long way too.
Old 1 week ago
  #24
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matucha's Avatar
TDR Nova (dynamic eq) let's you finetune the low - mid - high balance in a very nice way. Subtle or intense. It can be quite invisible even while doing quite a lot (and effectively). One thing that's great about it is how the attack part works (esp. in the oversampled "insane" mode). It can be very fast, but also it is able to shape things in very non-blurry way (unlike for example fabfilter mb or q3). So you can play with how much you let through, what ratio works the best, how long do you want the release keep things tamed. Yes obvious stuff, but it works really really well here. For taming the low note resonances (while letting the body to poke through the attack just right) to keeping the string noise in pleasant trange at the top of the spectrum using gentler ratios and faster times.
Oh and there is a free version of it, that is like 90% of the functionality of the paid one.

For general ac. guitar compression on the way in, I'm very happy with buzz soc 1.1.
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