i don't understand compression, dammit

general questions, comments and ideas about recording, audio, music, etc.
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Scodiddly
ghost haunting audio students
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Re: i don't understand compression, dammit

Post by Scodiddly » Fri Jan 21, 2005 7:01 am

The NanoCompressor isn't a terrible unit. Not the greatest, but I still use mine once in a while.

You need to play around with the compressor to learn what it does. Set it to "peak", then crank up the ratio and see what that does.
Set the fastest possible attack, set the threshold way low, let it really crunch the vocal down. You're basically trying to get a feel for what it'll do. Then start playing with the attack & release, and try it both soloed and in a mix. Maybe set the uncompressed vocal so that it gets lost in the mix on quiet parts, and too loud on loud parts, and then start seeing if you can get the compressor to even that out.

When I'm recording myself I'll set the compressor to squeeze maybe 2-4dB on average stuff. I might still lean into the mic on quiet bits or lean back a bit when I'm really loud, but I'll let the compressor do its job too.

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TheStevens
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Re: i don't understand compression, dammit

Post by TheStevens » Fri Jan 21, 2005 11:54 am

workshed wrote: If you have that large of a difference between levels in parts of the song, then I agree with previous posts that you could try riding the fader or recording two different tracks for each type of vocal (unless that would totally screw with the flow of the vocals, which is quite possible).
Record the same vocal take on two different tracks. Split the signal to two tracks (or use 2 mics if you can't split) and have the gain on one of them higher (for the quieter stuff). Set the gain on the other one low for the louder stuff.

benton netty
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Re: i don't understand compression, dammit

Post by benton netty » Fri Jan 21, 2005 3:22 pm

ah, this is what i was hoping for. a lot of great hints and tips. i'm going back into the basement to try them all out.

the mic technique thing has me vexed, though. i've been singing onstage and on home recordings for years, and i've learned to back away gradually on louder parts and then back in for quieter parts, but whenever i record in a studio, i don't have to do this.

i dunno. i've still got a lot to learn, and that's cool.

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antilog
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Re: i don't understand compression, dammit

Post by antilog » Sat Jan 22, 2005 8:08 pm

I started to learn compression more when I used compressors with the following controls:
  • threshold
    ratio
    attack
    release
    output gain
Run different signals through it (snare, program material, etc), tweak the controls, and hear how the compressor works and can be useful.
"Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact." William S Burroughs

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