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Do you set EQ before you turn on compressor or after? Studio Headphones
Old 30th December 2010
  #1
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Scott Whigham's Avatar
 

Do you set EQ before you turn on compressor or after?

I'm getting more into using compression lately as I record some solo, instrumental acoustic guitar stuff. I'm wondering - for those times when you are working with a new source/new mic/new pre/new whatever (i.e. you don't know the EQ settings cold and have to twiddle with Ze Knobbies), do you do it with the compressor already on/enabled or do you get the EQ straight and then turn on the compressor?

I suspect that you get your EQ straight and then compress since so many pres have EQs paired (1073, for example). Once you do that, you probably come back and twiddle a bit more.

Just curious.
Old 30th December 2010
  #2
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Scott Whigham's Avatar
 

As soon as I hit "Submit" on this, it occurs to me that it's likely a case of "Which do you do first: EQ or compress? Then do it in that order."
Old 30th December 2010
  #3
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djanthonyw's Avatar
 

If you EQ before compression, it might change what you've done with the EQ. So I would say what's most common is to EQ after compression, but it's really up to you to decide what you like best with each scenario.
Old 30th December 2010
  #4
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Definitely compress then EQ, if it were the other way around then EQ changes would impact the compressor threshold which isn't always desireable.
Old 30th December 2010
  #5
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It depends though, as sometimes the comp may accentuate a certain frequency. Usually lows-low mids. I sometimes cut in the lower range before hitting a comp, especially on vocals. So I'd say, there is no clear right or wrong way. It's more case by case.
Old 30th December 2010
  #6
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2Loud's Avatar
as above, really depends, what kind of effect you go for,
I cut before compression sometimes, adding after
...but sometimes I do it the other way )))
Old 30th December 2010
  #7
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Agzilla's Avatar
 

You could in these digital days of many variations...

Firstly use "corrective" EQ measures to HP - LP and notch out anything you don't want..use a precision parametric for this...

Then compress to get the density you like.. i can't think how else to describe it?

Last, EQ to taste and bring out particular flavour, colour or feature of the source material.. use a UAD Harrison for this for instance...


Do whatever til you like the way it sounds....



Zz.
Old 30th December 2010
  #8
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Reiner's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RusRant View Post
It depends though, as sometimes the comp may accentuate a certain frequency. Usually lows-low mids. I sometimes cut in the lower range before hitting a comp, especially on vocals. So I'd say, there is no clear right or wrong way. It's more case by case.
+1

If there are any problems, like resonancefreq. or too much lowend I´ll use an EQ befor the comp to solve the problems befor the comp.
But soundshaping mostly after the comp.
Old 30th December 2010
  #9
CKK
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Mostly I cut/dip "offending" freqs. before compression. After comp. I do the boosting (if needed).
Old 31st December 2010
  #10
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Scott Whigham's Avatar
 

Thank you, everyone.

I was playing around with my new UAD card just now and did the trials for the SSL channel strip and the Neve 88RS strip. I noticed that, on both, the compressor was before the EQ. Does that mean that for those channel strips the compressor hits first and then you EQ the result of that?
Old 31st December 2010
  #11
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E.rOk.stA's Avatar
 

Yes, although the HPF and LPF come before before compression on the SSL.
Old 31st December 2010
  #12
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Scott Whigham's Avatar
 

Great thread - I learned quite a bit of non-standard stuff here. Thanks again to everyone for the detail and the knowledge

thumbsup
Old 31st December 2010
  #13
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Mixerman's Avatar
 

There's no right or wrong order for this. Compressors and limiters both control dynamic range and shape tone, particularly analog ones. It really depends on the EQ, the limiter, and the needs of the source relative to the track as to which is the best order. Sometimes an EQ boost into the compressor is called for, sometimes it's best to EQ after the compressor does it's thing. Sometimes the best thing is an EQ both before and after the compressor. Just experiment with EQing before the compressor and compare it to EQing after the compressor. You will come to certain revelations, and you will recognize certain situations when one is better than the other.

As to the original question, mixing and tone shaping are non-linear processes in which every change affects everything else. If a part needs compression, you don't need to worry about some predetermined way of going about your tone shaping. Slap the compressor on, and if it needs EQ after that then add EQ. If you don't like what the compressor is doing, try another one. There is a certain amount of hit-or-miss involved in this, no matter what your skill level, and no matter how good you get, you can't always predict the best compressor and EQ to use on any given part. In other words, there are way too many variables involved to tell you what situations require what treatment, and even as you begin to recognize which situation you're in you'll still be wrong much of the time. Seriously, when I call out to my assistant to put a compressor on something, I'm offering my best guess based on the past, but ultimately, the situation might call for something other than my best first guess.

There are many times that I choose to boost an EQ into the compressor, so I would say don't bother locking yourself into some clinical process as if there are actually rules of conduct when processing audio signal. Do what works for the situation even if that requires a complete hit-or-miss approach.

Enjoy,

Mixerman
Old 31st December 2010
  #14
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kcmoonshine's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CKK View Post
Mostly I cut/dip "offending" freqs. before compression. After comp. I do the boosting (if needed).
Same here. Learned it right here on Gearslutz!
Old 31st December 2010
  #15
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waxx's Avatar
 

i do both, and sometimes eq-comp-eq also. filters are essential for me before compressing on some material.
Old 31st December 2010
  #16
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Mixerman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CKK View Post
Mostly I cut/dip "offending" freqs. before compression. After comp. I do the boosting (if needed).
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcmoonshine View Post
Same here. Learned it right here on Gearslutz!
Yeah, well I can give you the simplest (and most common) example of a good time to boost an EQ before the comp. Let say I'm mixing a record, and I decide I have to do a vocal split because the vocalist is strident in the chorus's, and overly dynamic in the verses. This situation is common, and is partly the result of an inexperienced recordist, and partly the result of an inexperienced singer. Regardless, this isn't about blame, the fact is, my verse vocal and my chorus vocal need different EQ and compression settings in order to make the vocal work throughout the song.

Sometimes, the best way to deal with a strident vocal is to boost the low end INTO the compressor or limiter. I might be inclined to cut the strident frequency as well if necessary, but it's the low-end EQ boost IN that is the goto first attempt for this situation.

There are other situations that an EQ boost before the compressor is a good choice, and my advice would be to unlearn this particular lesson, look up who taught it to you, and never listen to that person again.

Enjoy,

Mixerman
Old 31st December 2010
  #17
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Both will achieve different results i find...if you EQ to taste, and then compress, you're compressing the exact signal you wanted in the first place (say you HPF or LPF part of it...you don't want the stuff you don't need anyway hitting the compressor). Otherwise you could compress first and get shape after for a different sound...
Old 31st December 2010
  #18
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FreshSkweez's Avatar
 

I usually do what needs to be done the most first. Like if the sound has a decent frequency balance but is overly dynamic I compress first and then maybe shape it a tiny bit to highlight certain things. But if I have a noticeable bump somewhere I remove it before going any further. If I like what I'm hearing out of the pre though - I do nothing. :-)
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