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Author Topic: 2buss comps  (Read 21866 times)

Norwood

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2buss comps
« on: March 11, 2005, 02:18:02 am »

I have never used a compressor on the 2 buss before but I am beginning to notice that some of my mixes need something to pull it all together... a little "glue".  I was just wondering what you guys used, either plugin or hardware for "glue" or "color" or both.
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Michael Norwood
Wood Bros. Productions

neve1073

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Re: 2buss comps
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2005, 02:44:40 am »

why, fairchilds, of course! ;p
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stevieeastend

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Re: 2buss comps
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2005, 10:05:43 am »

SSL stereo bus compressor... depends on the tempo of the songs but more often than not slow attack and adjust the release, which may vary, depending on the material, from very short to very long...

steve

wwittman

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Re: 2buss comps
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2005, 01:22:21 pm »

I'm down to two choices these days...

The Alan Smart version of the SSL compressor, for those things that need to sound LIKE the ubiquitous commercial radio sound.

And the Daking compressors for records that I want to sound better.
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William Wittman
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Gordon Rice

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Re: 2buss comps
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2005, 01:48:51 pm »

Hey there--

Point of philosophy:  If my mix needs 2bus compression, there's something wrong with it and I should fix *that* instead of using a compression Band-Aid.

That said,

Point of reality:  All too frequently, I find myself under budget stresses that mean I don't have time to fix the mix the way I'd prefer.  As a for instance, not so very long ago I found myself mixing ten songs in 2.5 (long) days.  On that project (and more than one or two others lately), the master compressor on the SSL saved my butt.  Just be careful--someone else mentioned using slow attack times and I'm inclined to agree there.  Depending on the mix I'll either use a very low ratio and just "squeeze" the whole thing or go with limiting and make sure the compressor only touches the very biggest peaks for a dB or two, max.

Tha SSL compressor *does* seem to give a mix that "radio-ready" sound, sometimes even if it's not actually doing any gain reduction.

Strangely enough, at present I've been given a two-day budget to rework one of the tunes on the aforementioned project--it seems that the adage "There's always time to do it again, but never time to do it right the first time" still applies.

Other people will, of course, have other opinions and I don't for a moment deny their validity--for me it's a matter of philosophy first and other people are more than likely to approach things differently.
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stevieeastend

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Re: 2buss comps
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2005, 02:06:47 pm »

Hi Gordon,

it seems very similar to the "loudness/limiting" thing. As the SSL stereo bus compressor does make it sound like a finished/on the radio record it could easily misused. I bring the stereo bus compressor in at the very end of the mix and find that it works best to make it sound like a finished record still sounding like a mix. I know, that sounds kind of strange but it should still contain all the obvious dynamic/level changes like "chorus opening up" etc. AND sound kind of compact.
I find that after bringing the stereo bus compressor into play the mix usual gets worser as I will then kind of abuse it. I would then try to make the mix even more finished which is at that point simply not possibly and should be handed over to mastering. So, usually the first mix after bringing in the stereo bus compressor is the one I like best. On almost every following mix I usually compress the bus more and more which I usually dislike the day after..

As a rule I almost always try to make the mix as good as possible without stereo bus compression and bring it then in. Print that mix and 9 out of ten times, this is it.

cheers from the "slow attack guy"
steveeastend

Gordon Rice

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Re: 2buss comps
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2005, 03:43:13 pm »

Hey Steve--

We're clearly of very similar mind here--I forgot to mention that if I do the 2bus thing it's the VERY LAST thing.  Trying to do fader moves once I'm compressing the 2bus seems to be counterproductive.

Wish I could remember where and who--I recall seeing an interview somewhere a couple of years ago where a "big name" mixer said he'd been mixing thru the (SSL, I believe) compressor 100% of the time for a couple of years until one day he turned it off and was horrified to find out how awful his mix actually sounded!
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J.J. Blair

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Re: 2buss comps
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2005, 06:16:09 pm »

I'm a huge fan of using the 1178 on the stereo buss.  

What Gordon said is very important.  I read an interview with Matt Wallace one time, where he was saying that one day he accidentally forgot to put a compressor on the stereo buss when he started doing the mix and realized that it sounded better.  Well, fuckin' DUH!  

Another thing is that you really don't need more than 2db or 3db of reduction.  4db tops.  And if you play with the attack and release times, not only will you get that glue, but it will help the mix 'pump'.  But yes, always see what you can solve using automation and then make compression your very last piece of the equation.  

And don't forget, if you overcompress, then there's nothing the mastering engineer can do with it.  You're better off giving him something with some transients, so that he can do some recursive processing on the L2 and make it sound as shitty as every other record that's coming out.  

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compasspnt

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Re: 2buss comps
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2005, 07:39:42 pm »

Norwood wrote on Fri, 11 March 2005 02:18

I have never used a compressor on the 2 buss before...


Yes!  You have been doing it correctly!

Quote:

...but I am beginning to notice that some of my mixes need something to pull it all together... a little "glue".  I was just wondering what you guys used, either plugin or hardware for "glue" or "color" or both.


Well. that was a little bit of a joke, but in reality not too far from the truth, in my opinion.  A great mix shouldn't need any buss compression, unless you are going for a certain effect.  Remember, for a lot of recording history, no one EVER put a compressor on the stereo buss when performing a mixdown. Almost all of these classic, vintage songs everyone is raving about didn't have stereo compression until mastering, if even then.

Having said all that, I will confess that from about '86 through '94 I would use an Aphex Compellor almost always on the stereo buss, but ONLY added as the very  final function performed.  It did seem to be "glueing" things together a bit, and making a more finished sound.  But then one day I took it out, and haven't really looked back.  It is now very seldom that I will use one until mastering.  On occasion I've used the SSL buss compressor, but as others have mentioned, you have to be very careful not to overdo it, and to only add it in at the end.

I have been wondering about the API 2500...Paul Wulff told me it was very cool when carefully used (of course he would have!)

One thing I feel strongly about is that things like the Fairchild, the 176, or my Lucas tube/valve ones rarely help a stereo mix.  That's why the Fairchildren all left the mastering laboratory.
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drumsound

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Re: 2buss comps
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2005, 08:31:09 pm »

I'll be the guy with the opposite opinion on this thread.

I posted this over at Gearslutz

Read the whole thread here.

I bought a Drawmer 1969 in September of 2001.  It?s been on the mix buss of 98% of the mixes I've done since.  Recently I did a few mixes without it (for different clients).  I was shocked at how much that thing adds to my mixes.  The mixes with the '69 sound like a record and the ones without sound like refs.  

I need to have it in from very early on.  If I add it later nothing sounds right.  The top changes, the balance changes, the vibe changes.  I feel like I'm either screwing up the mix or starting over.

Like Chris I like fast attack and release.  And the 'big' switch of the '69, which puts a 100Hz filter on the detector circuit, is crucial.  I only have 1-2 dB of reduction (by the VU).

I think the unit sounds great.
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wwittman

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Re: 2buss comps
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2005, 10:48:53 pm »

I think the SSL compressor is SO much a part of the sound of so MANY pop hit records that it becomes, even subliminally, the sound in your head for a certain type of record.
That's why I use it for those types.. not to make it sound like it's already on the radio (which is a whole OTHER level of travesty) (or "whole 'NOTHER", for you, Terry, I know you're a proud Southerner <g>)


You're certainly right that many of those classic records, especially for us older guys, were mixed without stereo compression (or mono compression!) on the mix.
But often they were compressed at mastering, so it's only a question of WHEN.

At some point, some of us decided that the sooner our records sounded 'finished' in the process, the more likely the A&R weasel (speaking as a former weasel, I can say this blithely) or record company president or the band's manager or agent or whomever would like it and think it's finished as well.

So I started mixing through compressors in about 1975.

At that time, some people thought it was a lot of compression. But in comparison to what is now the norm, it was next to nothing... and my records tend to be on the less compressed end.

But it's all a matter of taste.
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William Wittman
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Norwood

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Re: 2buss comps
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2005, 12:10:06 am »

So, I'm working on this mix today of this anthemic rock tune, and I decide I'm gonna try out this 2buss comp thing.  I just got a UAD-1 and I decided upon the Fairchild.  I brought it up, made some rough adjustments to the settings, switched it out and turned on the music.  I wanted to hear the difference, with and without, so the music is playing and I take it off bypass and WHAM!!! I am floored.  I have never heard a Fairchild, only read about them as the "Holy Grail", well holy $#!@, that thing sounds amazing.  It might not be the compressor for everything but on this song, this mix, it almost brought a tear to my eye.

Keep 'em coming guys.


Quote:

I'm down to two choices these days...

The Alan Smart version of the SSL compressor, for those things that need to sound LIKE the ubiquitous commercial radio sound.

And the Daking compressors for records that I want to sound better.


That's funny! Laughing
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Michael Norwood
Wood Bros. Productions

Bob Olhsson

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Re: 2buss comps
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2005, 09:45:24 am »

At Motown we didn't even have a limiter or compressor in the mastering room, just an Ortophon high frequency limiter. Berry Gordy hated the sound of limiters as did a number of the singers who would demand that you take it out if they heard it in the headphones.

A problem many of us old guys have run into is that a ton of signal processing can make a mix sound better in the mix room but lots worse everywhere else. The best monitors only give you a clue. The worst send you off into left field.

When I started at Wally Heiders I was surprised to see an engineer patching an 1176 across the mix bus to mix a radio spot. After the client left, I asked about it. He responded "I do a hype mix for commercials because it speeds up the session which is the main thing they care about."

If you get the miking right and pay attention to what the performers are hearing, it's amazing how little compression you really need. And then there's the guy I heard about here in Nashville who was patching a Pro Tools rig into the 2-buss of an SSL so that he could L-1 his mixes to make them sound "contemporary!"

compasspnt

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Re: 2buss comps
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2005, 10:53:58 am »

Bob Olhsson wrote on Sat, 12 March 2005 09:45

At Motown we didn't even have a limiter or compressor in the mastering room, just an Ortophon high frequency limiter. Berry Gordy hated the sound of limiters as did a number of the singers who would demand that you take it out if they heard it in the headphones...



Just as I suspected!

Quote:

...signal processing can make a mix sound better in the mix room but lots worse everywhere else. The best monitors only give you a clue.....


Exactly!

Quote:

...If you get the miking right and pay attention to what the performers are hearing, it's amazing how little compression you really need...


Exactly!

Quote:

And then there's the guy I heard about here in Nashville who was patching a Pro Tools rig into the 2-buss of an SSL so that he could L-1 his mixes to make them sound "contemporary!"


Anyone who TRYS to sound "contemporary," whether in production values, or in sonic architecture, is making the classic mistake.


Good post Bob, as usual!
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stevieeastend

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Re: 2buss comps
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2005, 11:45:27 am »

I don?t see that much of a big difference in my mixes when stereo bus compression is turned on or off. What I am trying to say is.. it is the same mix, just with with a little stereo compression put on in order to make it sound like a finished record as it is understood nowadays. My mixes almost always got the same kind of dynamic range as all these older records as they were in the 60ies or 70ies, for example "Tapestry" by Carole King or to give a recent example Jeff Buckley?s "Grace".
I love this kind of sound, absolutely! But as a producer/mixer I never could convince a client to accept that kind of dynamic style. I always get best feedbacks the more the stereo compressions is on which tells me that people do not believe or trust that mastering at the very end will do the job.
So I always try to give it that finished/as known from radio and TV sound without overdoing it. In addition it kind of helps in mastering as the way for the mastering engineer is a shorter one. I must say that the SSL stereo compressor, when used properly, does a great job. It gives the whole mix a very cool sound and when you do it right it doesn?t affect the dynamics in a bad way. For me it is kind of the first step of mastering done after the mix in order to make the conversation with the client easier and to take responsibilty away from the mastering engineer, to say it in a polite way. The more I try to make it sound finished during the mix the less work for the mastering engineer and the better the results in mastering. By doing so, the difference between my mixes and the final CD are getting smaller and smaller and that kind of makes my life easier. I never could sleep that good if the mixes where way not loud enough and it was up to the mastering engineer. I sleep much better not to depend too much on mastering. And if it sounds good & finished before mastering then it?s pretty clear who is to blame if the results suck ....my experience...

cheers
steveeastend
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