Need a quick rundown of uses of compression

Discussion in 'Production' started by Alexi, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. Alexi

    Alexi Drench Audio

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    I've been producing tunes for about a year now, and never really used compression as more than a tool for levelling out vocals, so the chorus isn't much louder than the verse.

    But i know that it's a key part of mixing down and making a track sound good, as when I play my tunes in a mix, they sound a lot muddier than the vinyl I'm mixing them with, even though they seemed alright when mixing down

    Basically, could someone give me a few tips on use compression in drum & bass, both creatively and to help a clean mixdown with all the different parts punching through.

    ps. I know theres loads of posts about this already, but have read through a lot, and am still not 100%

    Cheers
     
  2. jimjimjim

    jimjimjim oldskool

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    yeah man i would like some help with compression as well.
     
  3. Delinquent

    Delinquent Member

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  4. Busdriver

    Busdriver Member

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    Me too!


    Compression heroe requested...
     
  5. motion audio

    motion audio Active Member

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    Loads of different uses for compression, decent thread to put up as theres always people asking for various tips.

    I'll add some info tomorrow when Ive got a bit more time.

    I know Sound on Sound have got a feature in their latest issue about it, should think that'd be well worth a read (can't recommend that magazine enough if your into your recording/producing work)
     
  6. motion audio

    motion audio Active Member

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    One basic tip: In general, if your using compression AND eq on the same channel, insert the compressor before the EQ, as boosting/cutting frequencies before a single band compressor will affect how the compressor processes the signal.

    An exeption to this is if your using compression as more of an effect than a dynamic process.

    Will add some stuff tomorrow aswel. (y)
     
  7. DanDnB

    DanDnB Bass and Drums

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    Cool tip, thanks motion.

    I do remember however that the Reason 4 M-class mastering suite has the compressor after the EQ. Should we change that? Your explanation seems more effective.


    @ Alexi,

    Although I do understand what compression is in theory and what it does to the signal, I have a little idea of when and where to use it (this comes with experience) which is why I am waiting for more informed resposnes!!

    NEED MOAR COMPRESHUN!

    :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2009
  8. TongueFlap

    TongueFlap Flappin'

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    im sure i did a thread on compression, let me looky
     
  9. TongueFlap

    TongueFlap Flappin'

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  10. druu

    druu Member

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  11. sook

    sook Member

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    compression reduces dynamic range...
    can be used to create cohesion in sounds...
    that is 'gel' or 'glue' them together...
     
  12. subprime

    subprime Dysjoint

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    As well as reading up you can't really go past learning what it sounds like by just trying.
    Once you have a bit of an idea about threshhold, ratio, attack and release then choose one compressor and just put it on each track as you produce.
    Play with the settings, adjust the ratio (or whatever) slowly and listen to the results.

    I'm not saying you need to compress everything all the time, but this is what I've been doing and I'm starting to get a 'feel' for what compression can do for certain sounds.
     
  13. motion audio

    motion audio Active Member

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    Best way to learn, dialing in controls and hearing the sound for yourself beats reading it and trying to imagine it any day.
     
  14. kama

    kama benkama.net

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    Be careful not to overdo compression, it's really easy to just tweak the settings and go "WOW THAT IZ PHATTTTZZ!!1", but constantly keep an ear open and compare your compressed sound with the original one.

    I've been recently into buss and parallel compression and some sidechaining.

    Buss compression means that you have a bundle of sound sources that go through the same compressor, for example all your drums/breaks. Using it correctly is tricky, but you need to be careful with the attack and release settings. I'd recommend using longer attack times (25-100ms) to retain snappiness (on drums) and avoid dulling the sound.

    Parallel compression means you have a really squashed out, heavily compressed sound that you mix with the dry, uncompressed signal. This way you can have the best of both worlds: a heavy compression and the dynamic sound of the original source.

    Sidechaining is so much more than just the ducking aspect that you hear so much in house and also in dnb these days. If you have a powerful kick for example, and it overpowers the compressor (sort of drowning everything else behind it when it lands), try to remove some low end from the sidechain input. This way the compressor will ignore that low end in it's threshold signal and let more bass through. And voilá, powerful kick and a compressed drum buss.
     
  15. kama

    kama benkama.net

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    I've also used a compressor/limiter after a long, dubby delay to keep it on the foreground instead of slowly decaying. Only works for a while tho, until the delay goes under the threshold. A really slow release can help here. Be careful with the delay resonance however, it can sometimes be ear-pearcing. Trust me I know, I've blown a speaker because I left a tune playing like this and went for a smoke...
     
  16. DanDnB

    DanDnB Bass and Drums

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    This may sound stupid but, why does threshold max out at zero dB?

    we cant hear zero dB. And everything to the left of that knob is in the negative dB.

    Shouldnt the threshold be something like, "if the signal goes past 12 dB, kick in the compression).

    I dont understand why it's negative.
     
  17. motion audio

    motion audio Active Member

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    Its because its a different measurement to amplified sound.

    Zero db at pre amp stage is different to a sound pressure level that you measure when your hearing sounds.
     
  18. DanDnB

    DanDnB Bass and Drums

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    I still don't get it :confused:

    I stupid.
     
  19. motion audio

    motion audio Active Member

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    When you hear a physical sound in real life, say someone hitting a snare drum, Decible refers to the "sound pressure level" (basicly a more complex way of saying "how loud it is") at a certain distance.

    When audios being recorded (so, say someones put a mic on that snare drum) that sounds then converted to an electronic signal, this is the decible measurement you see in your DAW. This isnt to do with sound pressure because its now an electric signal, so Decible refers to the "power" of the electronic "sound" in relation to a set voltage.

    If that makes any sense at all.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2009
  20. DanDnB

    DanDnB Bass and Drums

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    Hi Motion,

    I understand what deciBels are physically. It is actually a logrithmic relation which can be tricky, nonetheless.

    What I am not getting is why is the threshold knob on the compressor showing a range from -32 to 0 instead of zero to 32, where 32 or some other 'very loud' arbitrary number as being the threshold for compression.

    Sound that is negative decibels as THRESHOLD makes no sense to me. The sound we hear is always a positive value, physically as a propogating wave.