compressors = confusion?

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georgemarauder
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Re: compressors = confusion?

Post by georgemarauder » Sat Oct 29, 2011 5:06 pm

I'll throw my perverse outlook into the mix.

Compressors are great for making a track sound "different". If you really push a compressor you can get all kinds of "artifacts" such as "pumping", which means certain levels of certain sounds will go up and down, in and out of the mix in a way that gives a pumping effect, which sounds great when used properly. I love running a whole mix through a compressor and "squashing" the signal (over-compressing it), so it's all pumping and the levels are bouncing along with a lot of movement and variation. Hard to explain exactly what sounds pleasing to the ear by doing this, but to me it sounds great. On the other hand, it completely kills all the subtle dynamics of the song basically, so if you were going for quiet background noises with subtle dynamics, pushing a compressor to the limit is going to nullify that. However, I've found that I can properly mix a track that is pumping just fine and can still control some of the different sound dynamics by raising and lowering levels. There's definitely an art to running compressors in this way. But yeah, that's how I use them. Forget doing it by the book :)

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Re: compressors = confusion?

Post by tallowwaters » Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:36 pm

theotherleadingbrand wrote: A question though, other than the pumping bassline thing, can sidechaining be good for something like making a voice standout?
I believe ducking was first used for that sole purpose. DBX makes some duckers, I imagine it was pretty common in voice over work in the days.
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Re: compressors = confusion?

Post by cornutt » Sun Oct 30, 2011 4:39 am

I can't tell you how many electronica things I've heard where the entire rest of the track ducks the kick drum. It's a really cliched sound IMO.
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Re: compressors = confusion?

Post by cryabetes » Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:14 pm

So if you were to make a theoretical track where, say, the pads ducked the kick drum, and the hi hats ducked the pads, and the lead ducked the hi hats, and the snare ducked the lead, and etc etc etc all around in a big circle until the kick drum ducked....iunno the fart the bassist accidentally let loose that picked up pristinely on the room mic, something, would you use the pre-compressor inputs for the key in to the next compressor, or post-compressor?

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Re: compressors = confusion?

Post by DLovas » Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:32 pm

cryabetes wrote:So if you were to make a theoretical track where, say, the pads ducked the kick drum, and the hi hats ducked the pads, and the lead ducked the hi hats, and the snare ducked the lead, and etc etc etc all around in a big circle until the kick drum ducked....iunno the fart the bassist accidentally let loose that picked up pristinely on the room mic, something, would you use the pre-compressor inputs for the key in to the next compressor, or post-compressor?
Wouldn't the compressor just explode?

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Re: compressors = confusion?

Post by cryabetes » Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:46 pm

it is a circle of compressors.

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Re: compressors = confusion?

Post by Cruel Hoax » Thu Nov 17, 2011 9:46 am

More fun with compressors:

I get a lot of mixing projects that were recorded by morons in their home studios. Yeah, that's how it is. And like 70% of them have some stupid delay+verb "soup" INSERTED on the vocal track. EACH vocal track. Separately. Every f**k one.

So of course, I rebuild the mixes with the delays and verbs as send/return effects (because I <i>always</i> want EQ control of my echo separate from the main signal. maybe pan, too. Also want separate control of front/back ambience. Plus, I don't wanna use freakin' TWELVE times the DSP resources, just to compensate for the fact that I'm a dumbass.)

But I got to thinking - what does that stupid approach have to offer that so many people use it as a default? Well, it offers this rhythmic thang that's on all the time. And it gives you some "juice" that can leak through in the space between vocals. So what's a cool way to use this vibe in a more intelligent way?

So I started making a "verse juice" and a "chorus juice" track, which consist of delay (with the low end rolled off) maybe reverb (with that midbass clutter taken out) and maybe some auto-panning type of stuff to add stereo interest to a one-dimensional track. Let's say that I feed this Aux track with Send 17. Now, I insert a compressor AFTER the delay/verb/mod juice, and key it from the SAME send (17, in this case). Now, the juice turns itself down whenever vocals are present, (because the dry vocals are hitting the Key Input of the compressor) but the level comes back up to fill any space between vocals, pauses in delivery, etc. It works <i>with</i> the vocalist, rather than just arbitrarily imposing some never-changing sonic picture on top of him.

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Re: compressors = confusion?

Post by Miles Powerhouse » Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:29 pm

Quick tip on Compressors: If your using them for something with FX such as reverb and delay (mainly vocals or drums), put the Compressor FIRST. If you don't, the reverb/delay will be a lot louder than you want it to be (I'm talking from experience here).
This is assuming that a compressor is being used as a mean of dynamic taming/amplification.

I use software compressors, and I am yet to find one that does not squeeze the good sounds out of a track, or even a whole song!
cornutt wrote:I can't tell you how many electronica things I've heard where the entire rest of the track ducks the kick drum. It's a really cliched sound IMO.
I agree to some extent. IMO "kick-ducking" as I call it is one of many signature sounds/tecniques in Electronica and it's sub-genres. However, some artists don't know when its time to use it, and time to skip it.

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