Two Stage Compression

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LeedyGuy
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Two Stage Compression

Post by LeedyGuy » Sat Sep 29, 2007 11:16 am

So I decided to try the Two Stage Compression suggestions from the article on pg. 26 of TO#61 (the new one).

Here's what I did (all in Sonar):
1. Doubled all my existing drum tracks
2. Sent the originals into Bus A
3. Sent Bus A to Bus B
4. Sent the "doubles" to Bus B
5. Sent Bus B to Bus C
6. Created Bus C, which I sort can't see the point in because that just sends straight to the master fader without effecting the signal at all, but the article said to do it, so I did it.
7. Put a compressor on Bus A (Sonitus built-in) with a 4.5 ratio and 14 attack and 115 release which is sorta slow on both ends which the article is looking for, right?
8. Put a compressor on Bus B, same sorta settings as A, but with a higher threshold. Is that right?
9. Listened back to a loud as shit drum sound that is kinda cool, but I'm not so sure this is what I want, and it drops out like crazy and sounds kinda shitty, so I'm not sure what the heck is up.

Did I do anything wrong?

Anyone have results with this or try it yet?
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Post by partyofone » Sat Sep 29, 2007 12:42 pm

hi. I was just reading that article over again too.

It looks like the difference between your setup and the article is that you had doubled your tracks and sent the unprocessed ones to Bus B, whereas the article setup only has a *single* set of tracks and sends the unprocessed to Bus C by itself and then routes that to B. Bus B would be going to the master.

What I did in Sonar was set my drum track output to 'None' and instead sent it to two Aux sends (Compressor 1 and Dry), and then setup another Aux (Compressor 2) where I routed Compressor 1 and Dry to.

I also just tried it at home on Sonar also with UAD 1176's, but I think I had my thresholds too low, cuz it was pumping too much and not cutting in the whole mix.

But yeah, I hear you on the first try not sounding as cool as I thought. I was all excited too!

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Post by ;ivlunsdystf » Sat Sep 29, 2007 10:06 pm

That kind of stuff is always more fun to imagine than to actually try, especially on the first go-around. The article is downright seductive, but after reading it and the sidebar about bad compression I still suck at compression.

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Post by partyofone » Sun Sep 30, 2007 5:21 am

ha, ha, yeah it *is* seductive! I think there's a voice in the back of my head saying "Now I know the secret I need to get that drum sound!". Ooops... that comes from trial and error and hard work right? Errrrghhh..

I did give it another go around before heading out to work this morning though. I only had about 3dB of reduction on each 1176 this time and it did sound pretty punchy.

It's cool that Tape Op has articles like that, because I don't know that that article would have ever been printed in any other pro audio publication.

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Post by drumsound » Sun Sep 30, 2007 10:05 am

I don't have the magazine yet (its always a couple days behinde here in hte sticks). Is it an article on parallel compression? I do that all the time. but not in a DAW. It does great things to a mix.

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Sun Sep 30, 2007 11:15 am

no, no tony...parallel compression is now considered 'hack'.

according to the author.

the article basically describes sending a bunch of tracks to a compressor, then sending both the uncompressed tracks and the compressor return to another compressor, and the output of that compressor is the only thing going to the stereo mix.

might be a great technique, i dunno. reading the article kind of made my head hurt. i sometimes feel like people keep inventing more and more convoluted ways of mixing records just because. when really you can just push up the faders, put eq on some and compression on some others and be done with it. but hey all my stuff sounds like shit so maybe i should be paying closer attention....

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Post by LeedyGuy » Sun Sep 30, 2007 11:23 am

The author also made sure to mention that this Two Stage Comp thing is really meant for a certain type of tune where the verse is way softer than the chorus. It makes the verse parts soft with sweet bus compression and then the technique should cause totally different bus compression to come in on the louder chorus part. It's not for everything in other words.
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Post by drumsound » Sun Sep 30, 2007 12:08 pm

It sounds a little like the Michael Braurer thing.

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Post by Mane1234 » Sun Sep 30, 2007 12:31 pm

I thought it was a great article even if it just gave me something to think about and draw little signal path diagrams while I was at work...I'm wondering how it will work in PT LE...I'm worried about the whole latency thing but I guess I'll give it a shot and see. I know we get a lot of things to try just through discussions on the board here but I was really glad to see a specific article on technique. Hope it continues....Great issue all the way around... :worthy:
Of course I've had it in the ear before.....

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Post by lightandmind » Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:04 pm

I know your a pretty big parallel-compression fan, Tony, so I'm very curious to know if you've tried it and what your thoughts are on using this method, and in what situation, if any, you might want use it, (aside from the Nirvana soft-verse/heavy-chorus thing of coarse).

Thanks Big Guy!- :twisted:

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Post by C_R_J » Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:52 pm

i just got done reading the article, and i have to say that my head seriously hurts. im a DAW guy (ableton) and i was sittin at my computer tryin to do it and i couldnt quite figure it out. anyone wanna help me? im not completely retarded, but im not a complete expert on all things recording yet. i am just having a hard time tracing the signal flow in my head. i think thats my problem. anyone got a good link to a drawing of the wiring up for this? lol

sorry... i think the article really did snap something in my brain. . .

i do wanna figure this one out. i promise whoever helps me free for life drumset advice...
time is money and im wasting both...

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Post by partyofone » Mon Oct 01, 2007 7:39 am

Cool is that a demonstration video of two stage compression? I'll have to check it out.

Yeah, Tony if I remember correctly I believe the writer actually mentioned Brauer in the article.

I tried the technique again last night with much better results than the first time. I experimented a lot with attack/release and threshold. I got a very usable sound, but couldn't get the absolutely slamming sound I was going for... but I would like to try it on vocals next time I mix.

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Post by fossiltooth » Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:28 am

drumsound wrote:I don't have the magazine yet (its always a couple days behinde here in hte sticks). Is it an article on parallel compression? I do that all the time. but not in a DAW. It does great things to a mix.
It's parallel compression, where both the compressed and uncompressed tracks are sent together to a subgroup compressor dedicated to those two channels. Kind of like parallel+serial. He's recommending that you don't squash your parallel tracks too hard, and use a second compressor in series across the two split tracks to allow for less dramatic settings on the parallel compressor.
drumsound wrote:It sounds a little like the Michael Braurer thing.
And it will continue to sound like a Michael Brauer kind of thing thing, because it is, and because no one outside of tape op has ever heard of Mike Caffrey.
MoreSpaceEcho wrote:no, no tony...parallel compression is now considered 'hack'.

according to the author.
Perhaps you can see why I'm a bit snippy about this. Warning others about the misuse of parallel compression is one thing. I don't think it's right to dismiss it as "hackery" altogether. This technique isn't particularly novel, but was presented with undue arrogance; I'm entitled to get a little annoyed.

Sometimes the results that you're after will call for heavier compression on your parallel tracks without an additional subgroup compressor. If it gets you what you want, there's nothing remotely "hackish" about it. There are no hack methods, only hack results.

That said, I'm sure Mike does fine work, and I won't knock the idea of using a second compressor after a parallel set. I've done it many times before. It's just something to file under "one of a billion things you could try during a mix to get the results that you're after". Many mixers have and will end up doing something like this without having a special name for it.
Last edited by fossiltooth on Mon Oct 01, 2007 9:43 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Post by wrenhunter » Mon Oct 01, 2007 9:07 am

fossiltooth wrote: Now you can see why I'm a bit snippy about this article.
You know, I really can't. The article describes an interesting technique that I, for one, didn't know about. Mike didn't say he invented it, and he didn't say all parallel compression is a hack -- I mean, why write a whole article about it then? He said it's sometimes misused -- like anything else, including straight compression.

Speaking of which, I found the sidebar on bad compression sounds helpful, too.

The one thing I didn't like is actually in the Chandler Germ Compressor review, where Mike got so into the idea of the "anti-compressor" that he declined to describe the "wet sound" -- i.e. when used as, um, a compressor.
partyofone wrote:What I did in Sonar was set my drum track output to 'None' and instead sent it to two Aux sends (Compressor 1 and Dry), and then setup another Aux (Compressor 2) where I routed Compressor 1 and Dry to.

I use Sonar, too, and did it slightly differently. I used two Aux sends (Comp 1 and Comp 2) on the drum track (Output = None), and set the output of Comp 1 to Comp 2. Output of Comp 2 goes to Master.

I *think* that should have the same result as your setup (i.e. Comp 2 gets the dry signal directly, and also the signal from Comp 1).

I also found the result a bit underwhelming, but I want to futz with it more, & also try it outboard.
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