Small tip to understand compression a bit better

Rubs90

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#1
Someone bumped a thread for a folder full of studio tips, found this one in there. If your as clueless about compression as I am this is relevant to you, been helping me understand it a lot better. Dont know who it is originally from so cant credit properly, apologies for that!

"a good tip on compression i read in a book, seriously this changed everything for me:

ARRT, attack, release, ratio, threshold; put attack as quick as possible, same with release, put the ratio as high as it can go, and the threshold as low as it can go,

then, adjust each knob in this order : Attack, Release, Ratio, Threshold.

listen closely to what each knob is doing to the sound, only when you are happy with one knob, move onto another. in the specified order.

keep practicing this technique and i promise it will get easier and easier, and better results each time, just follow the order, and set the knobs out properly before beginning, use this on any synth or drums, or anything. use your ears."



Hope it might help you as much as it is helping me
 
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#2
this is a good tip man, i mean, i agree with turning all the knobs in all the directions and trying to hear what they do, but i dont really agree with blindly following this.

if you adjust the attack before you adjust the threshold, and your sound hasnt hit the threshold yet (ie. there is no gain reduction happening) then adjusting the attack has NO effect. same with release. same with ratio. IMO adjustments need to be made cyclically, because once you change one (especially the threshold) the optimum position for the others might change.

this is the most relevant part of the tip. once you adjust the threshold i recommend returning to the beginning again and then observe the effect of attack adjustment.
 
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#3
Thanks for the tip. I will try that. A bit off-topic, but still same equipment: I am not sure I know the difference between the limiter and compressor. As for now, I have only used the limiter to lower the volumes of tracks in DAW, instead of the volume knob, that I use for fades. Afaik, where the compressor supress peaks, the limiter works to bring the other parts of the sound at the level of the peaks. Is this somewhat true, and which kind of benefits are there over the other? Thinking of dynamic sounds like snares and kicks, and also more static sounds where there is little change in the wave - are these static tracks even compression"able" or limit"able"?
 
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#4
Thats a very good tip i was taught this a while ago by a sound engineer and its stuck with me.

By bringing the thresh down and using a high ratio youve got a shit load of compression happening and can better hear how the attack and release are shaping the sound/transients etc.
I tend to start with the release on a pretty quick setting rather than the fastest possible. The ratio pretty high rather than highest and the thresh pretty low rather than lowest.
Once you have the attack and release balanced how you want its easy to set the ratio and thresh and you shouldnt need to touch the attack and release settings again.


@boooke Compression and limiting are very similar. You can set a compressor up to limit, generally with limiting your just aiming to chop the peaks and not change the rest of the sound. Compression squashes the sound and can be used to shape sounds, like make a snare snappy or take the snap out of a sound. A compressor does supress peaks but a limiter chops the peaks. In a nutshell anyway
 

Rubs90

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@boooke Compression and limiting are very similar. You can set a compressor up to limit, generally with limiting your just aiming to chop the peaks and not change the rest of the sound. Compression squashes the sound and can be used to shape sounds, like make a snare snappy or take the snap out of a sound. A compressor does supress peaks but a limiter chops the peaks. In a nutshell anyway
Yeah, in general limiting is compressing with a high ratio (above 10:1 +/- if im not mistaken)
 
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#6
Ah, thank you for the answer. I think I understand. Yeah, I have noticed compression has been really helpful to make those snappy snares. Although, the compressor in Cubase does not seem to allow much else than sidechaining. The compression does not add much to the sound, but for sidechaining I really like it.
 

groelle

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#8
this is a good tip man, i mean, i agree with turning all the knobs in all the directions and trying to hear what they do, but i dont really agree with blindly following this.

if you adjust the attack before you adjust the threshold, and your sound hasnt hit the threshold yet (ie. there is no gain reduction happening) then adjusting the attack has NO effect. same with release. same with ratio. IMO adjustments need to be made cyclically, because once you change one (especially the threshold) the optimum position for the others might change.
thats why you put the threshold on the lowest level, means it WILL alter the sound!

good tip, defo!
 
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