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Author Topic: Compression  (Read 38449 times)

Ozzy

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Re: Compression
« Reply #15 on: December 24, 2005, 03:44:40 pm »

That's right Bob and you also get to hear the results as you adjust the compression.
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Larrchild

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Re: Compression
« Reply #16 on: December 24, 2005, 04:37:50 pm »

JJ, I think I have that CD you posted the waveform of.

It was mixed by you know who, and mastered by you know who, and won 5 Grammies last year! wtf?
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Daniel Farris

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Re: Compression
« Reply #17 on: December 24, 2005, 11:18:49 pm »

J.J. Blair wrote on Fri, 23 December 2005 14:42

I'm surprised that Bob and Jim didn't make you compress the room mics on their record, nuclear 1176 style.


While I appreciate Steve's minimalistic and pragmatic approach to limiting, I don't follow it. I do use compression often, and with great pleasure.

That said, I have never, not even once, been satisfied with the sound of compressed room mics. If given a choice between compressing my room mics or muting them, I would rather mute them.

Even at 1 or 2 dB of reduction, the room mics begin to do more harm than good for me.

DF
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J.J. Blair

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Re: Compression
« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2005, 12:43:21 am »

You see, I love that crushed rooom sound.  Give me a pair of ribbons and a pair of 1176s, and I'll give you "When the Levee Breaks".
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They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

PaulyD

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Re: Compression
« Reply #19 on: December 25, 2005, 01:04:49 am »

electrical wrote on Fri, 23 December 2005 11:40

...It occurred to me that if I played the tape backwards while recopying the part through the compressor, the compressor would still be able to even-out the slowly-modulating sustain, but would not have to deal with a sharp attack...


Very clever, Steve. I picture even Jimmy Page marveling at that. Sounds like something he would come up with.  Smile

I hope everyone is having a nice Christmas. Smile

Cheers,

Paul

PaulyD

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Re: Compression
« Reply #20 on: December 25, 2005, 01:18:52 am »

J.J. Blair wrote on Fri, 23 December 2005 12:39

...I was able to get the bottom end to tighhten up in a way that I don't think automation could achieve...


Do you sometimes "ride the faders" for bass guitar and/or kick drum?

Thx,

Paul

Ronny

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Re: Compression
« Reply #21 on: December 25, 2005, 02:18:54 am »

PaulyD wrote on Sun, 25 December 2005 01:18

J.J. Blair wrote on Fri, 23 December 2005 12:39

...I was able to get the bottom end to tighhten up in a way that I don't think automation could achieve...


Do you sometimes "ride the faders" for bass guitar and/or kick drum?

Thx,

Paul


I do that. I built a time machine for my left ear and transported it 2 seconds into the future. The left side of my brain controls the right side of my body, so when I hear the bass and kick get too loud my right hand zaps the two faders down. I swear by this technique, beats a compressor any day. Only song that I've had trouble with was "Flight Of The Bumble Bee".  
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Daniel Farris

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Re: Compression
« Reply #22 on: December 25, 2005, 03:54:33 am »

J.J. Blair wrote on Sun, 25 December 2005 05:43

You see, I love that crushed rooom sound.  Give me a pair of ribbons and a pair of 1176s, and I'll give you "When the Levee Breaks".


You already have those things. We would have to give you Bonham. And were those metal drums or Vistalites or what?

No, I love that sound too. Those are some of my favorite drum sounds in the world. I use other means to get a similar effect. The reason compression doesn't work with my room mics is because I often have delay on them and, for whatever reason, compression (even in small doses) seems to neutralize the effect of the delay... or something like that. I find it difficult to explain.

DF
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Ronny

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Re: Compression
« Reply #23 on: December 25, 2005, 10:09:47 am »

bacon skin wrote on Sun, 25 December 2005 03:54

J.J. Blair wrote on Sun, 25 December 2005 05:43

You see, I love that crushed rooom sound.  Give me a pair of ribbons and a pair of 1176s, and I'll give you "When the Levee Breaks".


You already have those things. We would have to give you Bonham. And were those metal drums or Vistalites or what?

No, I love that sound too. Those are some of my favorite drum sounds in the world. I use other means to get a similar effect. The reason compression doesn't work with my room mics is because I often have delay on them and, for whatever reason, compression (even in small doses) seems to neutralize the effect of the delay... or something like that. I find it difficult to explain.

DF


Physically this shouldn't happen, except perhaps with parallel compression, however if you are running compression post fader, any time you alter gain on the delayed channel the compression settings would no longer apply to the same values and depending on the material, may have to be reset.


Solo a delayed channel out of the mix and see if the compression inserted pre-fader and pre-eq does the same thing.
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J.J. Blair

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Re: Compression
« Reply #24 on: December 25, 2005, 12:59:22 pm »

PaulyD wrote on Sat, 24 December 2005 22:18

J.J. Blair wrote on Fri, 23 December 2005 12:39

...I was able to get the bottom end to tighhten up in a way that I don't think automation could achieve...


Do you sometimes "ride the faders" for bass guitar and/or kick drum?

Thx,

Paul


I'll automate the kick and bass when needed, but it's still not the same effect as when I get the stereo buss compressor to pump a little bit.
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studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

zmix

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Re: Compression
« Reply #25 on: December 25, 2005, 01:15:43 pm »

At the moment I am mixing a very delicate acoustic record and really fighting the urge to throttle the tracking engineer. I have no idea who he is, but it is apparent that he loves his compressors more than he loves listening. Every note of the upright makes a dull snick then drops about 20dB returning to the original attack level at the very end of the note, It is  an obnoxious and misdirected use of peak limiting. The guitars also suffer a similar fate... The bass drum is frequently so distorted that it has a tripled attack. These tracks came from a 'Name' studio. It is so disappointing. The record has already been mixed elsewhere (twice!?!?) and they've always felt it sounds wrong, so they sent it to me...  It's an archaeological expedition trying to figure out what balance they listened to during tracking that made them sign off on this....

I never use limiting during tracking. If you set your levels properly you just don't need it. On the other hand, if you are going for something really specific, go for it, but do it in the monitor chain or print it to a separate track. I have been involved in too many records where the direction shifts dramatically during the course of the production, or the label asks for 6 different versions of the mix for different markets.
I do, however, use much dynamic processing when I mix, but then I can always pull the patch if it isn't contributing.

When in doubt, patch it out.

cz

j.hall

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Re: Compression
« Reply #26 on: December 29, 2005, 10:42:04 am »

interesting thread.

the whole "compression, or not compression" always makes me wonder if those of you that shy away from compression and say you don't like the sound are the ones that have the most trouble dialing in a comp to sound good and musical.  and those who love are the ones who have an easy time working with comps.

i'd say tchad blake is a master of compression.  his mixes are crushed, but they sound so musical and organic to me.  then i'll listen to Ray LaMontagne's new record and love it for it's vast openness and dynamics.

personally, i think it's all approach and technique.  some guys can make compressors work well for them, others can't.

also, application plays a large role for me.  there are certain styles of music that are very difficult to mix without compression.  other styles are hard to mix with compression.
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zmix

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Re: Compression
« Reply #27 on: December 29, 2005, 12:47:36 pm »

j.hall wrote on Thu, 29 December 2005 10:42

the whole "compression, or not compression" always makes me wonder if those of you that shy away from compression and say you don't like the sound are the ones that have the most trouble dialing in a comp to sound good and musical.  and those who love are the ones who have an easy time working with comps.


That's a fair question (though potentially feather-ruffling!).

Compressors are one piece of gear that I feel everyone should make an effort to understand technically, at least on a block-diagram level. There is more BS and mystique surrounding compressors than any other processor, but  these are simple circuits, and easily understood.
I have more than 40 channels of compression in my outboard rack, and I know how each one works, what it does and how it affects the timbre and appearance of any given sound, so this makes me very sensitive to compression artifact -good and bad- and I hate compression when It's poorly designed, implemented or applied to a track. Record production, engineering, and electronics design all center on one thing: knowing what to listen for.

j.hall

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Re: Compression
« Reply #28 on: December 29, 2005, 01:11:45 pm »

we should all know all of our gear inside and out like you say you do.  that's what enables us the ability to make good decisions when working.

fact of the matter is, knowing how a compressor works, and knowing how to work it musically are vastly different things.
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Fig

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Re: Compression
« Reply #29 on: December 29, 2005, 02:55:57 pm »

j.hall wrote on Thu, 29 December 2005 12:11

fact of the matter is, knowing how a compressor works, and knowing how to work it musically are vastly different things.


J speaks the truth (again).

Second only to equalization, in my opinion, compression is the most abused process during mixing.  And compressing while tracking is best kept for those that truly understand - try moving the mic a bit before using a comp in tracking.

I observe compression being applied because folks think they SHOULD apply it - perhaps because they read it in a magazine or within these forums.  Apologies, but the plug-ins make it even worse - especially in the hands of novices.

Its the ears, not the gears.

Don't just strap a comp on a bass because "that's how its done".  Granted if the track needs dynamic processing, then do it.  Or if the client is seeking something in particular and the 1176 or Distressor is the only way to get there, then go for it.

Reminds me of a vocal track that was recorded.  Upon listening back to it, nobody in the room liked it.  The performance was perfect but the capture was poor - didn't serve the purpose of the song.  I was assisting at the time.  Engineer turns around to me and says something like, "I don't get it, I used a U47?!?"

Turns out the voice sounded better through a different microphone.

I see similar situations with compressors.  Currently I'm working on an acoustic guitar-centric project.  "Out of habit" a compressor was strapped across the acoustic.  One day while mixing, a recall was not performed and the mix came from the ground up (my favorite, BTW).  Client says to me, "what did you do to the acoustic?"  I reply, "nothing... yet."  He says, "its perfect, don't change a thing."

All the roughs he had received before had compressed acoustic tracks - again "out of habit".

I compared previous mixes to the one without the compression and -go figure- sounds better.  More lifelike and open.  Granted, I gotta ride the faders between the strummy-strum part and the picky-pick part but hey, that's called mixing.

Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE compressors, compression and compressing - but its gotta be, um, appropriate - you know?  Its gotta SERVE the track (and the tune).  Pumping room mics are very cool, but maybe not for a ballad - certainly not for a jazz trio.  

Mixbus compression has its place.  But to hang a comp there ALL THE TIME is a bit much, IMO.  That's coming from a guy who has had a mixbus comp in-line for many years and now does not have one - but only for a few years.  When the tune NEEDS it, its easy enough to patch it in - but I have found I use it less and less.  Instead I've been concentrating on getting the mix to fit with the FADERS, which is much more fun for me - and sounds better to my ears, too.

As always, YMMV.

Warm analog regards,

Thom "Fig" Fiegle
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