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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 11th December 2008 , 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by TrevCircleStudios View Post
Oh, and when it comes to compression, rely on the bits of skin on either side of your head. You may not be able to tell the difference at first (it's usually easiest to tell the difference when you bypass and bring it back in). That's normal too (and just one more reason why your monitoring chain matters more than probably anything else)
I never knew i could use my cheeks for that
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Old 11th December 2008 , 10:30 PM
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I never knew i could use my cheeks for that
You've got enough cheek for anything
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Old 11th December 2008 , 10:37 PM
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You've got enough cheek for anything
Your too kind Trev
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Old 12th December 2008 , 04:00 PM
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Fantastic responses on this thread Just been trying out a few things and starting to get some pretty sweet sounding drums. That parallel compression technique is cracking Trev. This is the sort of stuff I'm looking to learn really, driving the sounds quite hard but keeping everything nicely defined and balanced at the same time
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Old 12th December 2008 , 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Centrifuge View Post
Fantastic responses on this thread Just been trying out a few things and starting to get some pretty sweet sounding drums. That parallel compression technique is cracking Trev. This is the sort of stuff I'm looking to learn really, driving the sounds quite hard but keeping everything nicely defined and balanced at the same time
Thanks for letting us know things are working out. Its always good to get that kind of feedback.
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Old 12th December 2008 , 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Centrifuge View Post
Fantastic responses on this thread Just been trying out a few things and starting to get some pretty sweet sounding drums. That parallel compression technique is cracking Trev. This is the sort of stuff I'm looking to learn really, driving the sounds quite hard but keeping everything nicely defined and balanced at the same time
it's a pleasure
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Old 14th January 2009 , 01:32 PM
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What I am wondering is, is it better to get the kick drum sound that you want in a mix and leave it alone or for a genre like techno would it be advised to really drive the compressor to achieve maximum punch and aggression and build the mix from there?
Missed this before... time of year and all that

Forgetting about compression for a second, I tend to find that too much of anything tends to stop specific instances of it standing out, for eg, if you have a very punchy kick, along wioth very punchy bass and everything else, then you can find yourself in a 'punch war' among the parts, and nothing particular stands out and ot all gets quite fatiguiing.

Kind of like getting into a cycle of choosing which bit you want prominent and cranking it a little, then finding something else gets drowned etc.

What I tend to (or at least try to ) do is instead of making the kick a punchy as possible (and there tends to be limits to this were it desolved into very fatiguiing attack clicks) is balance the sounds around it. In particular I find if you have a very agreesively punchy kick, then doing the same (for eg) with a snare and high hat can make a very fatiguing listening experience. You have to make a choice and decide what is most important for a track.

If you want the kick to really stand out, then rather than maxing out the kick, use sidechained compressors to dip other sounds around it. With techo and other 4/4 beat genres you may also want to reduce drum hits that coincide with the kick, but still leave a gentle HH in even when it aint needed (ie keep it there at very low level) as it helps to give the illusion of attack the the kick. If you do use sidechain compressors to duck around the kick, then dont be too agressive on the attack otherwise it will simple kill the attack part of the other sounds - which is a critical part of hearing what they are.

Another view of punch - sometime people get into the punch/loudness war among parts and assume the leveling, and EQ are the primary fixes - not so - often you can make a sound easier to pick up in a busy mix simply by making it subtley more punchy, and dropping it level a tiny bit as well to compensate or where possible adjust the envelope or using an transient shaper to push the sustain level down and reduce any kind of release - obvious with synths, but can be done with other sounds too to some degree.

For eg, subtle synth parts and guitar plucks detail etc that you wnat in the background, but still want them clear.

One of my favourite mays to acheive this is using extreme compression on a send rather than as an insert - stick a compressor on a send, set it for extreme accenting of the attack, then zero the return level, get used to the original sound again, then slowly bring up the return level again until you can hear the harder attack creaping in - then take the source part level down a tiny bit to compensate. This is particularly effective on drums mixes and actually vocals too - especially nice on harmonies as it can make the harmony sound really tight.
(Edit - trev has allready conver this - I should have read the whole thread first )

As a general thing, in most of my recent dance type tracks, the kick is not usually the peak level sound - thats usually a stabby synth or stabby bass sound, however the kick still generally stands right out (at least I hope...).

Also for kick I tend to think of them in two ways - punch and weight - the punchy being the attack portion, the weight being the boom portion - often only little adjustment to the weigh are needs to make a kick sit well or stick out like a sore thumb, however making the punch hard can be near impossible if there simple isnt enough high frequency content in the original sound to start with - hence using a short closed HH hit to augment when needed.

Either way, just find a kick you basically like that fits the music, dont worry too much about making it really hard ass, just balancing the other sonds around it in various ways and keep other sounds out of its frequency space and/or time space (sidechained compressors can help the latter).


Another edit for kicks - I allways load them into a simple sampler (in ableton Live I usually use 'Simpler' for this) now so I can have dynamic control of the decay/release time (for weight) and the attack time (for punch) to harden/soften, thin/fattten it as needed in different parts, and even continuously etc. If you do this, its worsth also having a silent steady kick that doesnt get messed with purely to drive key inputs to compressors where needed.

Track in this thread for eg has alot of kick sample envelope manipulation in places - the same kick sample is used thorughout, however it gets thinned in places and softened in others.
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Old 14th January 2009 , 01:42 PM
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Great post Khazul! Lots of techniques to try out there.
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Old 14th January 2009 , 04:23 PM
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So many different approaches and ways of doing things depending on style of music, instrument, quality of recording, whether you want transparency or colour etc etc etc

the list goes on

but

as a simple way into getting your head round how compression works is to do this (which is also a good way of getting your compressor working with your track rather than just going "oh a guitar needs 4:1 and a medium attack with slow release becase they did it on xxxx record, it said so in xxxx magazine"

Right:

compressors normally have 4 knobs.
if you work them in this order then you'll hear better what each section is doing and be able to tweak it accordingly,

you might get your release sounding nice then adjust your attack and something happens to the release etc etc etc, you can easily end up going round in circles.

let's start by setting everything to a temporary setting:

Attack anywhere

Release minimum

Ratio to max

Threshold to sensisitve.

right set the ratio to as high as it goes 20:1
next set the release to as fast as it will go

then drive the audio into the unit/plugin either by lowering the threshold or increasing the input

listen as you adjust only the attack, listen to the transient (the leading edge of the sound)

ignore the tail or pumping of the compressor and listen to what the attack is doing to the first part of the sound!!!

(fast release lets you hear more of the attacks)

the attack will affect the perceived "size" of the hit so if it's a snare on a fast setting it's like using a weedy drum stick. The alternative is true if it's a slow setting (fat stick, easy tiger!)

Now the release:

you want the release of the compressor to compliment the track/part/stye of your music. Try and get the release time so that it's complimenting the groove of your music (all music has a groove, even ballads!)

I don't mean pumping although that might be what you want but you can get the compressor to work for you and for your track without it being obvious.

"Any dynamic movement in a song affects the groove"

don't be the metronome, be the groove.

Ratio:

It's still on max and sounds awful!
lower the ratio as much as you can without losing the effect you just created.
Lower ratio = bigger sound (but more prone to being uncontrollable)
bigger ratio = smaller sound (but it's more contained)

ignore the numbers!!!!
dont touch the attack or release!!!!
use the ratio control at this point to control the size and firmness of the sound.

Threshold:

dynamic movement.

you don't want it compressing ALL the time unless that IS what you want but your track will thank yu in the long term if it has dynamic range which is achieved with dynamic movement.

WARNING!!!!!

Ratios are MULTIPLICATIVE, not additive.

If you compress your mix 10:1 then the mastering engineer compresses it 10:1 you end up not with a 20:1 compression ratio but a 100:1

If you compress a vocal at 4:1 on input and then again in the mix at 3:1 you're not getting 7:1 you're getting 12:1 (a common mistake)

I'll post something about E.Q asap got to get a brew, my fingers hurt.....


A.R.R.T

attack release ratio threshold
it's an art in itself

:P
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Old 14th January 2009 , 04:39 PM
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great info guys, i basically taught myself through simple fiddling the setting on compressors and just learning the results and how to achieve them, for me i tweak till im happy with the sound, i have found that over time like CZ explained you begin to pick up what certain parameters do and what you have to do to achieve the sound you desire
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Old 14th January 2009 , 06:32 PM
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Let's 'stick' this mutha!
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Old 29th January 2009 , 12:35 PM
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Cool, didn't realise this was made a sticky Some more quality info and advice
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Old 15th June 2009 , 11:26 AM
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Informative demonstration for compression.

Compressor Demo
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Old 15th June 2009 , 12:25 PM
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Quote:
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Informative demonstration for compression.

Compressor Demo
Nice link IABP.. A good '..ground up' tutorial

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