Don't have any excuse, but I just don't know what an "expander" really does.
I fully understand compression, gating, keying gates, side chaining compressors, but not really sure what an expander does.
The crazy part of it is that I have a CAD CGM-2 2 channel compressor/gate/expander with "dynex"(.....what the hell is dynex?) and I still don't really know what the hell the expander does.....all I can tell is that it seems to be the exact opposite of gate. Is that even close?
Anyone care to to toss some basic, beginners knowledge my way?
Expansion is the opposite of compression. If the expander is after a gate, then it probably expands the sound under the (gates) threshold downward so everything sounds smoother... so you don't end up with on -- off -- on --off when the gate is working. It becomes on -- 1/4 off -- 1/2 off -- off -- 1/2 off -- 1/4 off -- on again. Basically expansion just increases the dB difference between the peak level and the minimum level. There may be a ratio control like a compressor, but the values would be opposite of compression; if you normally might compress at 2:1 or 4:1, an expander's ratio would be 1:2 or 1:4...
...I personally don't know of any new uses for gates or downward expanders...
Maybe an upward expander (if you can find one) could be useful. I think the only one I have is a compressor plug-in like the Ren. Comp.
Now I'm wondering... is there any way to make an A/B gate? So that a signal would normally go to output A and then switch to B at a threshold level? ...or even an A//B/C/D 'gate'... could be useful for dfferent EQ at a different level or whatever.
I think DAW automation killed the gate and expansion... could be used when you want to hear / use a transient. I got nothing. Maybe a wierd piano or drum sound.