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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10th December 2008 , 07:34 PM
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Default Using compression in electronic music

Been messing around with different settings on compressors with my tunes and looking for some advice. I record my parts to peak around -12db. As an example I can bring up the level of a kick drum a fair amount with compressor settings.

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?
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Old 10th December 2008 , 07:48 PM
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im no expert but when i use compression to give my sounds character i will normally do this first as a basic go to setting then tweak an eq or setting to find the type of sound i want, later on i will get everything to fit but hopefully i would of chosen the right sounds so that the mix wont be too hard. but then tbh just use your ears really i know thats not much help but the more you play the more you will pick up on what works and how to achieve it, but im sure some of the more experienced members will be able to offer you a more defined answer
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Old 10th December 2008 , 08:00 PM
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Cool, sounds like good advice I know i can achieve the sound I'm after when I'm recording audio or playing in midi parts and I can get the drums and bass really pumping with a compressor/ prob just a bit worried of over processing at mix stage.

Suppose there's no harm in doing a few different mixes of the same track to see what works best.
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Old 10th December 2008 , 08:44 PM
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are you talking about compression for an overall feel or for say drums/bass/vocals etc?
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Old 10th December 2008 , 09:25 PM
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I suppose I want to make tracks that can compete with commercial releases in terms of punch and drive. Great techno tracks have that sort of bouncing kick and bass combination that has maximum punch but also clarity and weight. Im looking to achieve a similar result but can't decide whether to just leave it to the mix with a combination of the right sounds or to really use the processing tools at this stage to get the right sound.

I would definitely leave compression of the master track (or buss compression?) to a mastering engineer. Wanted to get a few opinions on mix compression really. Suppose sidechaining could be quite helpful but I am only just getting into this.
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Old 10th December 2008 , 09:31 PM
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how long have you been producing? i suppose my philosophy is do what you need to do to get what you want really, obviously there are certain tricks to it but you WILL fine tune these to your preference and way of working eventually imo what sequencer do you use?
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Old 10th December 2008 , 09:39 PM
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I've been making tracks for a few years now but am only just getting serious about making finished articles for the last year for so. Just wanting to learn as much as possible but your advice appeals to me cos its so easy to get frustrated by the sheer amount of gear and knowledge that faces you even before you put a couples of loops or riffs down!!!

I use Ableton myself gonna check out Logic next. I like to learn one bit of software thoroughly before moving on to anything else.
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Old 10th December 2008 , 09:55 PM
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yes my piano teacher and a freind as well told me once something along the lines of "a fresh mind not bound down by rules has no limits" so what they where saying was just because something isn't meant to be done in this way doesn't mean it wont work, you obviously know how to achieve the sound your after so why question about the way you do it, i can understand you may want to improve it but for compression its just a case of tweaking till the sound is what you want, but say for nice drums i would usually do
saturator>comp>eq>comp>limit
dont know why i have 2 comps but it sounds better with 2 than with the one and it doesn't cost me any extra cpu, i may be able to do it another way but dont need to
now im just rambling rubbish sorry
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Old 11th December 2008 , 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Centrifuge View Post
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?
There are so many ways to approach this subject and I am no expert!

I would say go by what sounds best for you but avoid too much gain reduction. If you are getting 8db or more (even that is a lot) it may be too much and your Kick will lose definition and just sound squashed.

Sometimes a little compression can go a long way. It is a very wide subject that heavily depends on the source material you are compressing. Some kicks will have more of a sub bass sound to them some will be lighter and you might get away with layering something underneath it.

But it's almost impossible to say what is right or wrong for you, as you no doubt like the rest of us, you will like a certain sound or sounds that will differ from another persons preference.

But as a general guide I would watch the gain reduction carefully, 6db should be ok. Another way to get your Kick to stand out is rolling off low frequencies adding a slight boost around 50hz or so and making sure the bass in the same mix is not boosted at the same frequency. 80hz or so is worth considering. You really should not have to boost more than 3 -4 db.

Transients...

The first few milliseconds of a drum sound contain a lot of information...the transients are a good example. A fast attack can reduce transients and a slow attack setting can enhance transients. We are back to your preference again. What sound would you prefer...spending time adjusting a compressor will give different results but only you will know what sounds good to you.

Exciters can help add sheen to a drum part as can Transient shapers. Sonar, Samplitude (likely other hosts) have there own version of these.

Sidechaining (related to compression) is another way to really get your Kick to stand out. I was working on a track and the bass needed slight ducking to let the kick stand out. Feeding the Kick into the bass tracks compressor achieved this superbly well.

Some Eq tips

1.An EQ boost around 12 - 16 KHz can add air.

2.Roll off your bass around 70hz to give your kick more space.

3.You can cut some mud from kicks around 300Khz

4. Again these are not hard and fast rules YMMV.

These links might help...

Mixing Electronica (this video will REALLY help)

Live 7 Compression and Sidechaining.

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Old 11th December 2008 , 03:28 PM
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I can't get to grips with compression
That and EQ

Kinda important for what I do

It'll sink in one day
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Old 11th December 2008 , 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I_Am_Bic_Pentameter View Post
I can't get to grips with compression
That and EQ

Kinda important for what I do

It'll sink in one day
i was like that, i had to stop over thinking it and it all hit home
have you tried reading this
Compressor 101
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Old 11th December 2008 , 04:36 PM
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Cheers.

.......
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Old 11th December 2008 , 08:19 PM
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Cheers Monarch, some stuff to think about. Gonna check out that link see if I can pick up some tips
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Old 11th December 2008 , 09:08 PM
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Read point 13 of this post on parallel compression:

Recording and mixing awesome drums

Now go practice it. Start by getting the best core sound you can without compression and then try this. It will do more to give you the punch thing than most anything else.
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Old 11th December 2008 , 09:11 PM
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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)
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