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Thread: Drum Compression - I don't hear a difference!

  1. #1
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    Apr 2020
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    Unhappy Drum Compression - I don't hear a difference!

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    I recently started music production and mixing in Logic Pro X and now I wanted to get into compressors, as they seem to be an important part in mixing.
    People use them on almost every track, so I tried it out: just a Logic drummer event, unedited (no EQ, too). Just to hear something, I applied the Logic compressor to the Drum Master and just selected the "Drum Mix" preset. I didn't change anything except for the "make up" to have the same volume on both. The graph shows that there is some medium compression happening, but I almost hear no difference. When I'm using a compressor a bit stronger, the first thing I notice, is that the Hi-Hat (or ride-cymbal) gets louder, and the bass drum loses a lot of it's punch. But I thought, the point of compression is to make an instrument more important in the mix, but like that, the drum set just loses its strength.

    I attached both files, maybe you hear the difference and/or can help me with that.

    Thank you in advance,

    Drums without Compression.mp3Drums with Compression.mp3

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    USA: NorthEast Coast
    Thanked 279 Times in 254 Posts
    The files aren’t working for me right now, but I’ll tell you this... it will sound different depending on whether you are compressing one instrument/track at a time, or the whole kit, or both, or mixing them (compressed and uncompressed) in parallel. And of course compressor settings have a lot to do with it. But don’t use compression because you’re “supposed to.” Use it because you need to (to solve a problem) or you want to (because you like the sound). If you are using individual samples to create a kit, rather than recording live drum set, then each piece is most likely compressed to the max already anyway.

    Do you understand what it’s doing? It’s important. Compression *reduces* the dynamics of individual tracks/sounds. Then when you bring the volume back up with “make-up gain,” things will sound tighter and smoother overall, as the dynamic will be steady. But it is easy to overdo. Try copying your stereo drum tracks, or sending to a buss, and having one set of drums with no compression. The other set of tracks you can add varying amounts until you are satisfied, and then mix the two versions together. This technique is called Parallel Compression or “New York Compression.” I think you will hear a difference.

    Last edited by rhythmgj; 04-18-2020 at 05:23 PM. Reason: ...
    Gregg Juke
    Nocturnal Productions
    The Sonic Vault Recording Studio
    Drum! Magazine Contributor

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