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Author Topic: Compression  (Read 38011 times)

Slider2

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Compression
« on: December 22, 2005, 10:51:34 pm »

Steve-

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?
Sorry if this was addressed and I missed it.

Thanks-

Matt
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electrical

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Re: Compression
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2005, 02:50:46 am »

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.
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J.J. Blair

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Re: Compression
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2005, 09:42:29 am »

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

BTW, you don't compress acoustic either?  No Vari-MU type compression on guitar solos?

I guess I'm just one of those people who likes the sound of compression, when called for.
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craig boychuk

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Re: Compression
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2005, 11:04:44 am »

J.J. Blair wrote on Fri, 23 December 2005 08:42

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



I didn't catch the reference, but this brings up a good question...what if ridiculous compression is requested by the client?



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Ashermusic

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Re: Compression
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2005, 11:28:18 am »

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
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pg666

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Re: Compression
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2005, 11:56:05 am »

yeah, i also noticed when at EA the compressors tend to be 'cleaner' than you find at a lot of places. that GML unit is incredible in that regard.

there wasn't a distressor in sight  Smile
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Adam P

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Re: Compression
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2005, 01:48:16 pm »

craig wrote on Fri, 23 December 2005 11:04

J.J. Blair wrote on Fri, 23 December 2005 08:42

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



I didn't catch the reference, but this brings up a good question...what if ridiculous compression is requested by the client?






Steve recorded Jimmy Page and Robert Plant's Walking Into Clarkesdale record.
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electrical

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Re: Compression
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2005, 02:40:15 pm »

craig wrote on Fri, 23 December 2005 11:04


I didn't catch the reference, but this brings up a good question...what if ridiculous compression is requested by the client?

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.

The Jim and Bob record referred-to above is an example. Jimmy Page requested that a slide guitar part in the song "Heart in Your Hand" have its sustain evened-out, and this suggested compression. I tried several compressors and settings, and all of them made the attack of the guitar sound weird. 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. This proved to be the ideal solution. I never would have tried this if Jimmy hadn't asked for the sustain on his guitar to be levelled-off.

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.
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J.J. Blair

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Re: Compression
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2005, 03:39:48 pm »

Steve, I love the idea of the backwards compression.  Excellent solution.

I don't think that stereo buss compression means that you will lose dynamics, if done carefully.  I like the pumping that I can acheive with a stereo buss compressor.  I find it to make the mix more dynamic, if anything.  I can get the kick and snare to pop out a little more, even.

Here's a mix I did yesterday, with stereo buss compression.  I'd say to the eye, as well as the ear (if you could hear it), it's pretty dynamic.  I was able to get the bottom end to tighhten up in a way that I don't think automation could achieve.

index.php/fa/2098/0/
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"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

Ronny

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Re: Compression
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2005, 01:56:07 am »



The graphs don't show us much JJ, without knowing the length of the song, for example a 5 minute song will look more compressed than a 2.5 minutes song when viewing the whole song in the display, even it has a more dynamic crest factor by several dB's.
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Larrchild

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Re: Compression
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2005, 02:39:23 am »

"Steve, I love the idea of the backwards compression. Excellent solution." ~JJ

I'm diggin it too. I'm thinkin if i took a stereo limiter and linked it, and ran the master channel from my second output on the Studer set to the sync head of the same channel, I could get "look ahead" in the analog domain for the opposite channel of the limiter.
Methinks I'll try that soon too.

And JJ, kudos on the non-rectangularism of your sound files!
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J.J. Blair

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Re: Compression
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2005, 04:05:45 am »

It's around 5:30, Ronny.  The point was mainly that it did not look like this:

http://mixonline.com/images/2-U2-Vertigo_lg.gif
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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

bobkatz

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Re: Compression
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2005, 09:11:32 am »

"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."


Then you'll love my article, actually part two of a series, coming out in Resolution Magazine in January.

BK
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Ronny

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Re: Compression
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2005, 10:50:15 am »

J.J. Blair wrote on Sat, 24 December 2005 04:05

It's around 5:30, Ronny.  The point was mainly that it did not look like this:





I understand completely JJ, what you were saying from the get go and commend you for it. Zoom in on the last song so that 30 or 40 seconds fills the display view and compare the graph to the previous song at it's full view and you'll see what I'm talking about. My point being that without knowing the timeline on a given song, like you show at the bottom of graph 2, that the waveform view can be misleading or at best non-conclusive to determine dynamic content. I get a better sense of the dynamics of song 2, because I see how close the positive and negative sides of the waveform are within the shorter timespan.

It's the same with RMS averaged over a whole tune. A song that we may perceive as more dynamic can have a higher RMS than a song that is squashed, if the song that's pancacked has a half volume 30 second intro, several dead air breaks in the song and a long fade out. RMS averaging over the whole song averages the dead air, fade in's and out's, and lower intro's along with the high level content. ITR a song that has full peak gain from the start to end, without the low intro, dead air breaks and fades can have considerably higher RMS average compared to a song that we perceive as degraded due to dynamic loss. For me it's important to show the timeline, as it's relative to how the waveform graph displays dynamic information.
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bobkatz

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Re: Compression
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2005, 02:18:56 pm »

electrical wrote on Fri, 23 December 2005 14:40



The Jim and Bob record referred-to above is an example. Jimmy Page requested that a slide guitar part in the song "Heart in Your Hand" have its sustain evened-out, and this suggested compression. I tried several compressors and settings, and all of them made





snip


Properly-adjujsted parallel compression can accomplish control of the sustain or evening it out without losing the attack. In some ways, it IS like playing the tape backwards.

BK
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