Understanding Dynamic Processors (Compression)

WeissSound

Engineer
Thanks for the advice, I have had a lot more success with saturation than compression, I get the feeling I don't necessarily need compression, most of the stuff I do is either sample or synth based.





No problem this is what I'm working on at the moment http://noble.bandcamp.com/track/lonely its the drums, they don't really sit right with me.


Well - the first thing is that the drums have significantly different sonic qualities. The kick has a very polished and present treble range - lots of nice hard click coming through (nice kick by the way).

The snare on the other hand is very dark - has a really heavy low mid thing going on. The cymbals are also pretty dark - and significantly further back in the mix than either the kick or the snare.

The kick has a hard transient, the snare has a soft transient.

And they are all living in different spaces.

Try this - first, eq down some of the top end of the kick, and use a subtle amount of compression to take out some of the snap - in other words, play up that low-fi vibe the snare and cymbals have.

OR

Brighten up the snare and cymbals, and use some kind of transient enhancer on the snare to harden up the initial impact if you can.

Also - feed a very little bit of the kick drum into the snare plate, and same for the cymbals.
 

267

New member
This was awesome, very good and suddenly compression doesn't seem so hard to understand!
 

WeissSound

Engineer
This was awesome, very good and suddenly compression doesn't seem so hard to understand!

Good. The only difficulty involved in compression, or any sort of dynamic processing is learning to hear "shape". I was with my intern using a transient designer on a mix and she kept saying she didn't really hear a difference in the sound between the effected and not effected track. Meanwhile I could hear it plain as day. I realized it's because I'm used to hearing shape - but for people who aren't used to listening to shape it can be a bit allusive.
 

Mr.Nikki25$ixx

Rapper, $inger,Producer
Really helpful advice. i have been producing my own music for about 4 yrs and did not know this bit of information. Any info you can give is well appreciated. i use compressors, limitors on every track and didnt understand the full concept. i just knew part of it and knew it made the tracks sound better. everything i know, i have learned everything i know on my own so thanks for the info and its great that people are willing to share the knowledge that makes their living. Props!
 

WeissSound

Engineer
No doubt. I'm glad everyone is finding it useful. Perhaps I should continue on to some of the more pragmatic concepts behind compression?
 

WeissSound

Engineer

drkwtr

DJ/Producer
!

thank you for this post -- compression has always been a bit tough to grasp, its like a loaded gun, if misused, often terrible consequences.
 
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karloush

New member
from the different knowledge and opinion wow this whole forum has been an eye opener and very helpful
respect for the precious info
 

WeissSound

Engineer
Thanks all for the kind words! I worked a LONG day yesterday, so I've been sleeping it off, and I have to work again tonight - but as soon as I can think straight I'll post some follow up stuff.
 

FeatureCuts

New member
Tremendous amounts of information here. I'll have to read through it a couple of times to make sure I've attained clarity. Great job/ awesome post! Peace!
 

WeissSound

Engineer
So - the easiest and most basic use of a compressor is to tame transient sounds. Transients are quick bursts of energy - and can be disproportionately loud compared to the body of the sound.

When head room is an issue, a compressor allows the signal to come in hotter without distorting or getting too close to the noise floor.

This is probably the most basic and clinical use of a compressor - but an important one nonetheless.

Fast attack and release times with a high threshold and high ratio - basically a limiter - is generally the formula for transient control.
 
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