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Thread: When to use compression?

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    Question When to use compression?

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    what's good fp,

    Question today is, How do I know when a sound needs to be compressed? I understand the fundamentals of what compressors do, but I'm not quite sure what to listen for to say "oh yeah that needs to be compressed".

    Any suggestions or tips would be great yall!

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    Firstly, it could be visual. If you see the waveform of a sound have too much dynamics (too many peaks compared to the lows), this creates an uneven listening experience, unless that is what you going for. Secondly, compression can be utilized to create a more punchy and powerful sound. For example, if you want a kick to be more powerful, I would recommend compressing it.
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    Most vocals today are pretty heavily compressed, so if you want a "modern" sound...

    Other than that, any instrument or track that needs it, i.e., an electric bass or a snare drum or some acoustic instrument or voice that has wide volume fluctuations or seems uneven in some way. An otherwise great take that needs to be more dynamically even and have some added presence. Many people describe compression as adding "punch," but be aware that you can over-do it.

    GJ
    Last edited by rhythmgj; 02-06-2018 at 06:18 AM. Reason: Auto-Correct's Mammy...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Battlegun View Post
    Firstly, it could be visual. If you see the waveform of a sound have too much dynamics (too many peaks compared to the lows), this creates an uneven listening experience, unless that is what you going for. Secondly, compression can be utilized to create a more punchy and powerful sound. For example, if you want a kick to be more powerful, I would recommend compressing it.
    I would not choose to compress based on the way a waveform "looks." This is a recipe for disaster.

    GJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhythmgj View Post
    Most vocals today are pretty heavily compressed, so if you want a "modern" sound...

    Other than that, any instrument or track that needs it, i.e., an electric bass or a snare drum or some acoustic instrument or voice that has wide volume fluctuations or seems uneven in some way. An otherwise great take that needs to be more dynamically even and have some added presence. Many people describe compression as adding "punch," but be aware that you can over-do it.

    GJ
    my man. just what i needed to read. i dig your music by the way. keep it up and thanks for the info

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    Quote Originally Posted by Battlegun View Post
    Firstly, it could be visual. If you see the waveform of a sound have too much dynamics (too many peaks compared to the lows), this creates an uneven listening experience, unless that is what you going for. Secondly, compression can be utilized to create a more punchy and powerful sound. For example, if you want a kick to be more powerful, I would recommend compressing it.
    nice bro

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    Quote Originally Posted by rhythmgj View Post
    Most vocals today are pretty heavily compressed, so if you want a "modern" sound...

    Other than that, any instrument or track that needs it, i.e., an electric bass or a snare drum or some acoustic instrument or voice that has wide volume fluctuations or seems uneven in some way. An otherwise great take that needs to be more dynamically even and have some added presence. Many people describe compression as adding "punch," but be aware that you can over-do it.

    GJ
    Yes most tracks are run through compression, and based on the information in this video you should not be surprised if a track has 2 compressors on it. One to tame the peaks and one to smooth the vocal out. The settings will be different for both of the compressors. This is NOT hard rule for every track that you record, but if you want that loud, highly compressed sounds that are on most records you are going to need to do this or something like it. Also, make sure you check out parallel compression. Hope this helped!

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    Just a couple of notes. Compression shouldn't be used to control large volume dynamics. This should be done with automation. Compression can be great for for less drastic gain control but its best use is for changing the sound, for example to give it more punch or to bring out harmonics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bands View Post
    what's good fp,

    Question today is, How do I know when a sound needs to be compressed? I understand the fundamentals of what compressors do, but I'm not quite sure what to listen for to say "oh yeah that needs to be compressed".

    Any suggestions or tips would be great yall!
    Hello there bands!

    I could offer some thoughts here as well, perhaps it would be helpful or interesting

    My initial thought here is: what you are "listening for" depends on your procedural frames of reference, perspective, goals, and/or intention

    So this idea is based on the assumption that engineering, mixing, mastering, etc is worked through and completed via Process---the notion that we have a relatively linear series of decisions and preferred points of view or reference that guides us through and to completion during this sonic-actualization process. perhaps this is so.

    okay, so given the above assumption it is then perhaps appropriate to consider the various perspectives guiding decision making for the audio processing, which again inform what details to set your deliberate or intuitive sights on. I will try to show a particular overall approach to illustrate these ideas and the related details to logically focus on. This is just one approach of many, none better or worse, just variation, and that is all.

    Example 1: lets say you have decided your mix requires multiple frequency (and/or dynamically) variable and competitive tracks to fit together in one mix---to tickle my own fancy, lets say this situation involves several layers of drum room mics/tracks, woe-is-me/us. lolz.

    This could be complicated. drum room tracks have several varying items (a set of drums/cymbs/perc) with theoretically infinite variation in recorded sound. Briefly breaking down the "infinite variation": There is presumably one drummer/drum set in a given recorded performance. The air and ambiance of a room is constantly moving from performed percussive impact. This force on air is equally subject to environment input (air conditioning, windows, doors, people, general air fluctuation over time, so on). Beyond this, the angles from which the recording engineer can orient microphones to capture this air movement varies significantly from track to track (musically or not). Sooo this physical and situational variation in mind, for mixing multiple drum room tracks these air-movement factors create theoretically infinite phase interactions between room tracks as each track contains markedly different point of views on specifically captured (recorded) air movement related to the drummer's performance. In the end, the interactive relationship between each drum room track and the next will constantly orient final phase relationship in non-linear ways for your mix. this lovely inherent chaos is just what we got & what we get. Here one could conclude a solution: the intensely chaotic phase relationships between said rooms could benefit from control. control, with the intent to balance and actualize a musically representation of our fictional drummer's performance in the equally fictional room of this illustration. woe is me/us

    So. This is the part where you take a conceptualization of this issue (see previous rambles on air, movement, the whims of silly engineers, etc for example) and this informs the lens with which you will play detective, sniffing out various details to focus on for the musical-actualization process in front of you (mixing)---this lens (based on conceptualization) informs what you want to listen for.

    SO. further summed down illustration of this perspective on process:

    example 1: mixing multiple drum room tracks to fit well together for entire song as whole:

    The Conceptualization of issue: "multiple drum rooms have bonkers phase relationships, because: physics."
    The Lens to orient analysis of decided issue: "controlling varying aspects of tracks for the sake of balance tames chaos".
    What to look for under this lens: "what details are chaotic and would benefit from control-to-balance"

    Beyond this, being savy with the art/craft of mixing comes in, one could suppose. Balancing frequency, harmonics, dynamics, sound stage placement, stereo image etc. There are some great posts here and beyond this site where one could find examples of recording/mixing/master for the sake of balance with some diggin round

    wishing the best
    -MadHat

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    use compression when u want to make something that sounds low in volume make it louder'

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