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Author Topic: Compression  (Read 38602 times)

CWHumphrey

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Re: Compression
« Reply #180 on: July 02, 2006, 11:39:27 pm »

groucho wrote on Mon, 03 July 2006 04:10



When someone mentioned that it might in fact be the BANDS who often REQUEST this kind of treatment, he responded with the above quote comparing them to people who are too dumb to know they're being abused.

This seems out of line with his general respect for the band's desires, so I assume I'm misunderstanding him here. Either that or, just like everyone else in recording it seems, he really just thinks that his way is the ONLY good way and it happened to leak out in that one comment.Smile

Chris



I gotta honest with you. I think your trying to put a coat on Steve that just doesn't fit.  More than anything else, I mix for a living.  I have plenty of definate opinions about the business, the state of modern production, and of course, the production process.

However, I especially like working with bands because, ideally, they come in with their own identity musically, and aren't looking to me to create music out bits and pieces or often, the overall "sound" of the record is to be concocted in the studio, as sometimes happens with solo artists (and some bands).   At the end the day, as I have often counseled, it's their name on the front of the album.  Mine is on the inside (and maybe the back).  However, I've even said to people, if you can what I do as well or better than me, you don't need me meaning maybe I do bring something to the table that they need.  Do you feel those 2 statements contradict each other?  

At the end of the day, I want the mix, the album, the production to sound "good" and the band to be happy (or better).  I interpret Steve's comments about production to be in line wih my philosophy.  Servant of the band, yes.  Slave to the band, no.  Don't you agree, there's a difference?

I'm sorry but I have read nothing Steve has ever written (and I've read a lot of his words) that indicates he feels his way the way.  Especially in this particular thread, please quote him directly and show me where he has imposed his opinion.  As I recall, Steve said that he generally doesn't use a lot of compression not that other people should not use a lot of compression.

Cheers,

Carter William Humphrey


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Carter William Humphrey

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"Or you can just have Carter do the recording, because he's Humphrey."-J.J. Blair

CWHumphrey

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Re: Compression
« Reply #181 on: July 03, 2006, 12:23:52 am »

CWHumphrey wrote on Mon, 03 July 2006 04:39

Especially in this particular thread, please quote him directly and show me where he has imposed his opinion.  As I recall, Steve said that he generally doesn't use a lot of compression not that other people should not use a lot of compression.

Cheers,

Carter William Humphrey


I decided to do the homework assignment myself.  These are quotes taken directly from this thread:
electrical wrote on Fri, 23 December 2005 07:50

As a rule, I don't use compression as a sound effect. Rarely, it is called for, and then it's the perfect thing. I do use compression on bass guitar most of the time, though not always, and even then, not as much as I see other people use. I often have a limiter or compressor on the bass drum, though not always.

I virtually never use stereo bus compression. In mastering, there is almost always a peak limiter used to catch the occasional stray peak, but I don't generally like the sound of heavily-compressed music. I'm of the opinion that the dynamics within a piece of music can be as important as the notes, and I always feel like I'm missing something when they are flattened.


electrical wrote on Fri, 23 December 2005 19:40

If a client requests that I make him pancakes, I'll do it. The client gets what the client wants, anything short of a prostate massage. Often, bands have heard through the grapevine that they should concern themselves with compression, and ask to hear it on many sounds. Generally, they do not prefer the sound of the compressed signal compared to the un-processed signal, but in some instances they find a use for it that I wouldn't.

Robert Plant also really liked heavy compression on his voice, but he "sang to the sound" in his headphones, so it was incorporated into his performance and sounded quite nice.


electrical wrote on Fri, 30 December 2005 21:49

It's not that compressing music never works, but that it should not be a default maneuver,


electrical wrote on Sat, 31 December 2005 03:31

I think there are vanishingly few records that would better serve the bands by being more tweaked, more compressed, or generally more slaved-over. It is so easy to manipulate sound that manipulating the sound has become a goal unto itself. I find that ridiculous, and I defend the approach less likely to create freakish sounds and cliches.

electrical wrote on Sat, 31 December 2005 21:24


I think I'm an experienced specialist in a technical field, trying to help a band use a sometimes-convoluted process to make a recording. I recognize that my contribution to their record is subordinate to theirs to an enormous degree. I would never suggest that I am "collaborating" with them. I am working for them.


Actually I have to disagree (sort of) with this last one.  In a couple of cases as a producer, I was "collaborating" with the band mainly, because there was a "hole" in the band (more likely a hole in the song) and it was discovered in the studio.  I had to fill the hole, or really give direction to have the band fill the hole.  But most of the time, I do not see myself collaborating with the band either.

Well folks, this cut and paste session has been interesting.  I even got to see where this thread turned confrontational...but you can read that for yourself.  I was surprised who the guilty party was.

So enough.

You may think I'm some sort of cheerleader for Steve Albini, but I'm not.  We could go back into a discussion of billing & money and I can guarantee we will fall on opposite sides (it's already happened BTW).

Cheers,

Carter William Humphrey
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Carter William Humphrey

"Indeed...oh three named one!" -Terry Manning
"Or you can just have Carter do the recording, because he's Humphrey."-J.J. Blair

groucho

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Re: Compression
« Reply #182 on: July 03, 2006, 01:32:59 am »

Quote:


Especially in this particular thread, please quote him directly and show me where he has imposed his opinion.


Um, I *have* quoted him directly. I'm not sure where you're getting the "impose his opinion" thing. Those are your words, not mine.  

Quote:


I gotta honest with you. I think your trying to put a coat on Steve that just doesn't fit.


Again Carter, I kinda feel like you're not really reading what I'm writing, but are responding to some other, larger agenda. You seem very concerned with "sides". I just found that one remark of Steve's sort of curious and inconsistant with the rest of his "philosophy". That's all.

I hope it was clear that my "like evryone else he thinks his way is best" comment was tongue-in-cheek.Smile


Chris

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CWHumphrey

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Re: Compression
« Reply #183 on: July 03, 2006, 02:12:19 am »

[quote title=groucho wrote on Mon, 03 July 2006 06:32]
Quote:


Again Carter, I kinda feel like you're not really reading what I'm writing, but are responding to some other, larger agenda. You seem very concerned with "sides". I just found that one remark of Steve's sort of curious and inconsistant with the rest of his "philosophy". That's all.

I hope it was clear that my "like evryone else he thinks his way is best" comment was tongue-in-cheek.Smile


Chris




I'm reading it.  I guess I'm just not getting it.  

I'll be honest, I'm not really interested in sides, though I find it curious how this thread turned confrontational about a dozen or so responses in(I'm not referring to you Chris).  But, I've been around long enough to realize that confrontation, as well as controversy, is what gets people klacking on the keyboards so have at it!

Cheers,

Carter William Humphrey
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Carter William Humphrey

"Indeed...oh three named one!" -Terry Manning
"Or you can just have Carter do the recording, because he's Humphrey."-J.J. Blair

Ali Moniack

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Re: Compression
« Reply #184 on: July 03, 2006, 04:10:17 am »

I'm responding to this topic (late) because it raises issues i'm interested in, but for what it's worth:

Someone mentioned the drummer of Jesus Lizard, Mac McNielly. Absolutely amazing drummer. I saw Jesus Lizard a coupla times in Glasgow and watching and listening to that band and that drummer was an intense experience, and yes the guy just puts out that sound you hear on the records on his own, live. They were one of the best bands on the planet, ever. To me that sound is the breath of life itself. Angry, passionate, totally dynamic, one of my favourite bands.

Thank god Steve recorded them and I can now close my eyes and imagine Mac's limbs flailing at the kit without the interfering colouration of whichever compressor was fashionable at the time. Great musicians and great music need no "fairy dust". "Fairy dust" is something which disappears up people's nostrils shortly before they attempt to "repair" poorly recorded sounds by playing with their toys. Sorry, but I cannot believe that anyone who believes in the integrity of recorded sound wouldn't rally round Steve's comments, especially in the current situation where good musicianship is clearly being suffocated by ersatz sound production, and where it seems increasingly more imperative that those with sonic influence try to let the music breathe, and preserve the natural qualities of live music. If you're recording in midi pop hell, it's already too late, roof it...and if you're working with bad players, why not try to harness the sound without imprinting the characteristics of various pieces of equipment upon it...


As regards the work ethic of engineering music, I offer this: while some jobs are pure engineering and of course one is never an "artist", occasionally an element of "craftsmanship" is called for...like being given a bunch of slightly damaged paintings and being asked to fill a few cracks, let the intended/original colour through and frame them...or if the painting looks best without a frame, hanging lopsided and faded, leave it alone!

To be fair, Steve was asked for his opinions on compression in this thread (as if that wasn't sonically clear already) and he gave them, clearly he states that there's no rule, but that compression isn't a pre-requisite and doesn't necessarily make things sound "better" - it's my understanding that over-compression and over-use of compression is the issue, & there's no point in attacking those views as though they were directed at yourself unless you know you're crushing sounds intentionally and considering yourself to be an "artist" for doing so. Writing music is art, presenting a sonic impression of a band/artist is at most a craft, and always a technical endeavor.

It's an opinion, a politic almost, an idea about hearing musicians and what they're really playing, I guess capturing that isn't as important when you aren't recording a drummer as incredible as Mac McNielly was and a band as great-sounding and mind-blowing live as Jesus Lizard were.

People like that go to Electrical, or a studio with a similar philosophy. People who want it loud on the radio get it crushed elsewhere. Each to their own.
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Pingu

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Re: Compression
« Reply #185 on: July 09, 2006, 09:48:15 pm »

Ashermusic wrote on Sat, 24 December 2005 00:28

electrical wrote on Fri, 23 December 2005 07:50

Slider2 wrote on Thu, 22 December 2005 22:51


Is it true that other than bass and vocals, you almost never compress anything?
Is mix bus compression ever an option for you at mixdown?

As a rule, I don't use compression as a sound effect. Rarely, it is called for, and then it's the perfect thing. I do use compression on bass guitar most of the time, though not always, and even then, not as much as I see other people use. I often have a limiter or compressor on the bass drum, though not always.

About the only thing that I use compression on routinely is vocals. The range of a close-mic recording of a vocalist can span 20dB and more, which makes positioning the vocal within the music problematic; the loud parts are too loud and the quiet parts are too quiet.

Generally, I dislike the sound of a compressor working more than I dislike the little bit of extra effort it takes to balance things without it.

I virtually never use stereo bus compression. In mastering, there is almost always a peak limiter used to catch the occasional stray peak, but I don't generally like the sound of heavily-compressed music. I'm of the opinion that the dynamics within a piece of music can be as important as the notes, and I always feel like I'm missing something when they are flattened.



Standing ovation here! Accurately stated for an analog guy Smile





Yep.

Different rules apply ITB
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robot gigante

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Re: Compression
« Reply #186 on: July 10, 2006, 11:31:51 pm »

Pingu wrote on Sun, 09 July 2006 21:48



Different rules apply ITB


For sure, use even less compression ITB whenever possible!   Since comp plugins never sound as good as rides... or a better way of putting it, they hardly ever sound good period.  

As far as what I think about compression, well let's just say: thank gawd for both the Steve Albinis and the Tchad Blakes of the world!

Both extremes sound good to me!  Both approaches make for variety, and variety is a good thing imho.  It would be a sad thing if you never heard the sound of compressor pumping in music, and likewise it would be sad if that was all you heard in every mix.

I kind of disagree about a lot of compression dating an album, that would make Revolver sound dated then- I don't think so.  Also, Tchad Blake's mixes sound fresh to my ears simply because no one else's mixes sound like his & no one uses compression precisely the same way he does, so you can't nail his sound as belonging to a particular era.  

I think there's absolutely room for both hands on and hands off approaches of molding an artist's sound in the wide wide world of rock & roll.
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