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Thread: Instead of compressing to level audio... why not envelope?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    Instead of compressing to level audio... why not envelope?

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    So this is a technique which is very simple, and as such I think it flies under the radar of most people. We all know what an envelope is / does (I hope); I guess this tip is dependant on what sort of envelope options your DAW has. I use Cubase which has a destructive envelope process, and a 'live' envelope process where you can adjust the curves in realtime and see the effect on the audio.

    Say for example I have a string part which fluctuates in volume as the higher octave comes in; most people would slap a compressor on to 'flatten' it. But comps colour (with exception of Cymatic 'The Glue'), and even if you know what you're doing they often don't do exactly what you want. What I would do is, apply a live envelope and keep adding nodes / tweaking until the audio is exactly where I want it to be.

    Advantages of using envelope:
    * no colouring
    * as accurate as you want it to be
    * no system resources used
    * you can readjust the envelope if you change your mind
    * quicker than having to experiment with various comp settings just to get an approximation of what you're going for

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Thanked 57 Times in 54 Posts
    Isn't this just the same as automating your volume faders?

    I was actually looking at the Cableguys shaper plug-ins for something like this actually. They allow you to do it in multiband mode and apply it to volume, panning, width, time, pitch, filters, etc.
    Most DAWs have that functionality on their own, but I want to work in Maschine directly and it doesn't have that so they're really handy for me. The multiband mode makes
    them really interesting sound design and mix effects though.

    They wont take the place of my compressors though.. which I specifically use for their colouring a lot, but also to manage relative dynamic impact of things like drums... relative is the important word there though.
    For instance if I have two drumlines playing into each other, I use compression to make them sit well together.
    If I strictly want to level the volume, I either automate the volume if it's slow enough. If they're fast peaks, a limiter is usually more efficient.
    lwj - local space music

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