how important is compression

Discussions on sound production outside the synthesizer such as mixing, processing, recording, editing and mastering.
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Zamise
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Re: how important is compression

Post by Zamise » Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:20 pm

If you know I'm stating opinions how do you figure I'm stating facts? Are you transfering your compression haters' hate on to me? Besides that what you did was a lame way to post and call me an idiot, I was supposed to infer you meant that by "wow" or "indeed"? What you did there is compression my friend.

I'm not saying compression is bad, it is very useful, although what someone uses it on was usually bad. Its not like you are going to go "this sounds perfect, lets put compression on it", I mean you can but yeah in that case it is bad, but no, you are going to leave it alone. If your sounds suck, and the more you suck then yes the more you should go compression happy. I use it a lot to bring out certain instruments myself, the ones that suck and sucky sounding house systems to get what once sounded good to sound better again, but I'm not always succesful with that, perhaps due to my lack of compressor knowledge.
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Re: how important is compression

Post by _dan » Sat Aug 04, 2012 2:45 am

Perhaps if you posted a reference of something that you wanna use compression on, people could talk about how they would or would not use compression on it.
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Re: how important is compression

Post by nvbrkr » Sat Aug 04, 2012 1:42 pm

Zamise wrote:If you know I'm stating opinions how do you figure I'm stating facts? Are you transfering your compression haters' hate on to me? Besides that what you did was a lame way to post and call me an idiot, I was supposed to infer you meant that by "wow" or "indeed"? What you did there is compression my friend.

I'm not saying compression is bad, it is very useful, although what someone uses it on was usually bad. Its not like you are going to go "this sounds perfect, lets put compression on it", I mean you can but yeah in that case it is bad, but no, you are going to leave it alone. If your sounds suck, and the more you suck then yes the more you should go compression happy. I use it a lot to bring out certain instruments myself, the ones that suck and sucky sounding house systems to get what once sounded good to sound better again, but I'm not always succesful with that, perhaps due to my lack of compressor knowledge.
... but this is precisely what happens all the time! :lol:

When something sounds really "perfect" to me during the tracking phase - full, warm, plenty of dynamics - I usually take it as a sign that the mastered and distributed version of that track should be a little less perfect. It's not necessarily going to translate over to other playback systems that well. I've noticed that the more editing and tampering of the recorded takes I do on a DAW the more likely things like compression and EQ is going to save my a*s (say, if I've chopped up drums or a rhodes piano parts in small slices and have copied and pasted them around the entire track).

There are also some music styles where people are used to a heavily compressed sound and a lot of listeners and a lot people are simply going to press "stop" on their player if they're not feeling comfortable enough with what they are hearing.

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Re: how important is compression

Post by Zamise » Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:41 am

So under certain circumstances compression is great, other times it is not, and it is all up to personal taste?

Sounds like, I can't think of a good term... maybe a habitually neutral response. That is if that is the stance you are taking to counter my argument, maybe it isn't, I am confussed?

I still like thinking less is more. The trick is to use less of it, the more you use the more you are trying to compensate for not sounding as good as you could have been in the first place. It is like prison, correcting for how bad your sounds are for the most part. Sometimes I'll agree, that is not the case, most the time though, put your crappy tune in detention and make your poop sound better to my ears.

Personally I like the compressed sounds, but it seems my friends do not. Maybe what we are all trying to say is that there is happy compression medium that balances out none and over compression??? Or maybe, depending on your friends, or the system you are playing your music on should dictate more along the lines how much you use or do not use compression. That is my diagnoses, my cure has been to use it on individual tracks and instruments while making tunes, but I've personally found it most useful to adjust compression amounts across the master depending on the system I am playing my c**p on at the time of playing it.

Now I'm thinking that a certain amount of compression will help over a broader range of systems, but if you want to cater to certain sound systems, or type of people who like it or not, then you should be adjusting the amount of it specifically to them. Yes?

There are a lot of areas you can compress in a song or tune, or do it over the whole thing, it isn't as simple as just putting it on a mixdown and hoping you've got the next floor breaking stomper that will always sound the same in everyone's car stereo, stadium, or dive bar.

I also get the impression, tell me I'm wrong or not on this, but there is a world of difference between using hardware compression and software compression. I'm thinking software may be doing a lot more sometimes, a free software compressor can cost $1000 in hardware. Use of hardware compressors might be a dying science with what little they do for what they cost and do to your sounds. Or maybe compressors themselfs can suck or be great whichever type you are using, maybe I've just used a lot of sucky compression utilities. It is not me or you that is great or sucks, it is the compressor?

We might be coming at this issue from two or three different angles too. We got soft compressors, hardware, and then a combo of the two. I am coming from both. Where are you coming from, and where is the OP coming from on their tunes? I have to agree with _dan, post the song and lets see if compression will help.
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Re: how important is compression

Post by dubold » Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:56 am

Zamise wrote:If you know I'm stating opinions how do you figure I'm stating facts?
I don't think you're stating facts.
Zamise wrote:Are you transfering your compression haters' hate on to me? Besides that what you did was a lame way to post and call me an idiot
I didn't say you were an idiot. I disagree with your opinion about compression.
Zamise wrote: What you did there is compression my friend.
well... no, it isn't.
Zamise wrote:I'm not saying compression is bad, it is very useful, although what someone uses it on was usually bad. Its not like you are going to go "this sounds perfect, lets put compression on it", I mean you can but yeah in that case it is bad, but no, you are going to leave it alone. If your sounds suck, and the more you suck then yes the more you should go compression happy. I use it a lot to bring out certain instruments myself, the ones that suck and sucky sounding house systems to get what once sounded good to sound better again, but I'm not always succesful with that, perhaps due to my lack of compressor knowledge.
A compressor is used when the engineer or artist wants to alter the dynamic range of the material. It has nothing to do with whether the sound is "good" or "bad".

the following image is not how a compressor works:
Image

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Re: how important is compression

Post by tallowwaters » Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:23 pm

Zamise wrote:Besides that what you did was a lame way to post and call me an idiot, I was supposed to infer you meant that by "wow" or "indeed"?
I wonder how anybody would arrive at that conclusion?

Oh yeah...
Zamise wrote:There is not enough crashes in modern tunage that I like.
You don't know what I like then that is your problem.
I want my ear holes to split open and hurt three days later, maybe even "walk funny" for another two days.
Overuse of any studio tool will sound bad. Guitars sound good through guitar amps, an entire mix doesn't. Playing with a little buzz sounds good, playing completely trashed doesn't. Some reverb on a snare sounds natural, but layered all over a track sounds like amateur hour. Anybody that calls compression a crutch has never, ever recorded an acoustic instrument or voice.
colmon wrote: yes, it's absolutely shocking that somebody would hold a differing opinion about an artistic endeavour, isn't it? must post pithy response in order to show how superior i am!
Oh, by the way, thanks for contributing absolutely nothing to the discussion other than your own brand of self-righteous behavior.


Let's try and keep this topic from being locked
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Re: how important is compression

Post by tekkentool » Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:49 pm

I'm not entirely sure why people look at compressors as an "effect", or something used to colourise sound. You might as well build it into the channel strip on the DAW for me, most things will require their dynamics altered in some way or another. This may have nothing to do with the original sound but rather the fitting of that sound within a mix.

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Re: how important is compression

Post by Zamise » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:35 am

Dearest Talls, you serious dude? An ad hominem followed by threatening to lock the thread? Come on, you know that is below the belt.

Maybe you should try recording vocals and guitar without compression every once in a while, keep the full range, see how bad it sounds or not first, then 'enhance' with post processing/effects/compression on it.

A crutch is a great way to put it.
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Re: how important is compression

Post by tallowwaters » Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:29 pm

Zamise wrote:Dearest Talls, you serious dude? An ad hominem followed by threatening to lock the thread? Come on, you know that is below the belt.

Maybe you should try recording vocals and guitar without compression every once in a while, keep the full range, see how bad it sounds or not first, then 'enhance' with post processing/effects/compression on it.

A crutch is a great way to put it.
I'm not attacking you, simply stating it's difficult how seriously you want to be taken most of the time. Your posts are typically non sequiturs that seem more in line with fustigating the original topic as opposed to offering any enlightenment. Surely you know what I am referring to here.

The lock would come from letting this become compression p***s war instead of an actual thread about compression.

Dynamic vocals and acoustic guitar w/o compression = clipping or seriously inaudible parts. You can't compress them after the fact, they have to hit the wall on the way in, as not amount of post is going to fix clipped vox.
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Re: how important is compression

Post by Zamise » Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:18 pm

Ideally, I would think if you are clipping you should turn your gain/velocity/volume down or use a limiter which is a common function of compressors but I couldn't say that alone constitutes compression.

I know you've taken me seriously before when I was being totally not, I think that has got me placed on your s**t list and I am sorry about that Talls. I'm not sure but I think maybe Tekken may know a bit more about my lust for a good hard crash.
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Re: how important is compression

Post by Stab Frenzy » Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:13 pm

tekkentool wrote:I'm not entirely sure why people look at compressors as an "effect", or something used to colourise sound.
Because the output sounds different to the input?
Zamise wrote:Maybe you should try recording vocals and guitar without compression every once in a while, keep the full range, see how bad it sounds or not first, then 'enhance' with post processing/effects/compression on it.
Do it all the time; always use compression.

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Re: how important is compression

Post by Zamise » Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:37 pm

Do you always use the same amount stabby? Would there be a scenero where you'd use more or less of it? Never ever do without it? I bet you sound great even in an elevator. I'm joking.
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Re: how important is compression

Post by nvbrkr » Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:45 pm

Zamise wrote:Now I'm thinking that a certain amount of compression will help over a broader range of systems, but if you want to cater to certain sound systems, or type of people who like it or not, then you should be adjusting the amount of it specifically to them. Yes?8
You should be doing whatever works for you. Like already brought up in this thread there are some highly respected engineers that try to stay away from compression as much as possible. I just think their overall production techniques and environments differ greatly from the typical bedroom DAW enthusiast's.

It's the safest to follow the typical mixing strategies of your own genre, of course. Conventions do not exist just because people are unimaginative, but because they tend to work quite well. There are also some genres and styles that do not really need compression - soundtrack-y, ambient or experimental music, for example.
I also get the impression, tell me I'm wrong or not on this, but there is a world of difference between using hardware compression and software compression. I'm thinking software may be doing a lot more sometimes, a free software compressor can cost $1000 in hardware. Use of hardware compressors might be a dying science with what little they do for what they cost and do to your sounds. Or maybe compressors themselfs can suck or be great whichever type you are using, maybe I've just used a lot of sucky compression utilities. It is not me or you that is great or sucks, it is the compressor?
People more knowledgeable than me have said that analog hardware handles transients differently. You'll usually want those to sound pleasant and natural enough. If they don't then I think it's the best to just iron them out.

Free software compressors like the Kjaerhus Classic Compressor, Cockos ReaComp or the SWH SC4 should be just fine for dynamic control on individual tracks. They're sometimes a bit too slow and some percussive sounds and accidental pops (transients, you know) might seep through, but that should be fixable with envelopes and so on. I've only used "mid-priced" hardware compressors like the TL Audio and Focusrite ones and haven't been that impressed with them, to be honest. Really, I've preferred the Waves plugins, even if they are pretty much the definition of digital sounding comps. I don't always like their sound, but I've just thought that since they are the "industry standard" I have only myself to blame if I end up with a f**k up a mix.

I don't have an opinion on what type of units are the most suitable for the compressed sounds heard in contemporary dance music.

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Re: how important is compression

Post by Stab Frenzy » Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:56 pm

Zamise wrote:Do you always use the same amount stabby? Would there be a scenero where you'd use more or less of it? Never ever do without it? I bet you sound great even in an elevator. I'm joking.
I would say I never use the same amount, it always depends on the material but I always compress vocals and acoustic guitar. I always sound terrible if I'm singing, the vocals I'm compressing are people I'm working for, not myself.

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Re: how important is compression

Post by Miles Powerhouse » Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:02 pm

Ignoring the flame war going on above...

I suck at mixing vocals, but I would use compression on vocals just because I have NEVER heard a singer keep the same volume while they sing. Don't tell me they can do it live; there's probably a compressor on the vocal channel during live shows anyway. I use compressors to even out the vocals (or any other non-synth instrument that I record) and rarely over-use it for effects.

I compress drums a lot just because I produce Dance/Rock/Electronic music, and that almost always calls for punchy drums (I even have a preset on my compressor called "Punchy Drums" because it sounds perfect!). I use sidechains for pumping, but I try to mix it up so that you can't tell as much.

It all depends on what genre of music you are doing... unless you're like me and you're doin' your own thing.

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