Compression?

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hydrogen
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Compression?

Post by hydrogen » Tue Jan 23, 2007 4:40 am

Compression. And how do i understand this? :shock: :shock: :shock:

After producing for so long. I still feel that I don't understand compression, where to use it, ratio settings, etc. I'm really confused because most of the tracks that I'm writing I would assume don't need it... for example my bass kick always hits at the same velocity. If my kick samples are precompressed, I shouldn't need compression on this track right?

Is there some sort of rules that I should know?

What are good vst compressors to use?
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hydrogen
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Post by hydrogen » Tue Jan 23, 2007 6:28 am

Ok so i searched the forum and posted most of what I could find here. But I still havn't really figured out my answer... I can hear over compression... but thats about it :)

Best Software Compressor?
http://www.mnml.nl/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=8555

Side Chain Compression
http://www.mnml.nl/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=14904

Multi band compression article
http://www.mnml.nl/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1356

Random Compression Help
http://www.mnml.nl/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=7558

Mastering/Finalizing
http://www.mnml.nl/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=3784

Sample Rates & Bit Resolutions
http://www.mnml.nl/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=11598

Preparing for vinyl release
http://www.mnml.nl/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=10057
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Size
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Post by Size » Tue Jan 23, 2007 2:40 pm

I found this document lately, it might help you out

http://www.patrickdsp.com/studio/how-to-master.pdf

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Post by caemgen » Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:41 am

I'm also still learning about this subject and it is a complicated subject but also very interesting to me.
I see a compressor as a tool that I can use to sculpt sound. And that can be on a micro-level and on a macro-level. Micro-level for me is at sample level, for example a kick drum sample. When isolated on a channel on the mixer, if I want more attack to make the kick drum snappier, I dial in a short attack time in the compressor, like 3 or 4 ms with 8:1 ratio or more and a low threshold.
If I want to make the kick drum beefier, fatter sounding, I'll adjust the release time to be much shorter that the length of the sample itself. If, for example, a kick drum sample is 300 ms long and you dial in a 5 ms release on the compressor with lots of compression with a low threshold: You will see in your wave editor that the tail of the sample is higher than the original sample. Because every time a peak in the waveform of the sample exceeds the threshold it is pushed down by the compressor by a certain ratio. Thus resulting in that the difference in peak heights is reduced. After you raise the level of the sample again to make up for the lost gain after the compression, the sample will sound fatter because of more overall level.
On a macro-level for me it's more on the level of using compression on a loop or a drum buss on your mixer where all your drum sounds come together. Same thing when on the micro-level compression tames the peaks of the sample waveform itself, on the loop level, compression tames the hits within the loop: the kick drum, the snare, the hi hats etc. Same effect, after compression the overall level of the loop sounds louder, because the difference in volume of the separate hits is smaller. But, overdo it and it can suck the life out of your loop, killing all the dynamics. Then again, sometimes people want that ;-).
When compressing a loop I adjust the attack and release settings different because I deal with music not just a sample. It works better to dial in musical values in the compressor. To me a compressor is an effect like any other, like delay, chorus, reverb. Delays can be set to sync with the bpm of your track ( 1/8 delay, 1/4 delay etc). Same thing can be done with a compressor, the attack and release times can be set to a certain value so it will work in time with your loop. In a 124 bpm loop, from one beat to the next is 483 ms. So if you set the release to 483 ms or less, the compressor will let go of the signal before the next beat. Maybe that knowledge helps in understanding how it works on your sound. I hope I explained all this in an understandable way :-).

Good vst compressors? I like the Sonalksis SV-315, great compressor with character.

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Post by harass » Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:55 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_level_compression

Basically, a compressors job is decrees the dynamic range of your signal, you’re increasing the perceived volume of your signal. It’s mainly used in mastering. See link for more details...

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Robot Criminal
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Post by Robot Criminal » Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:12 am

de-essing and limiting are also just compression with a different name (and technique).
Image we are all atomic and subatomic particles and we are all wireless...

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Post by codecks » Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:37 pm

I think of a compressor as a simple volume control over time (wich is very precise). It will be activated from a certain volume level (treshold), will start working after a certain amount of time (attack) and will stop working once the volume level decreases below the treshold and the release time is over.
How 'hard' the compressor will decrease the volume depends on the ratio you use, 1:1 being no compression, 15:1 being a very high compression.

An easy test is to use a kick with very strong attack. Use some compression on it and play with the attack. (a higer ratio will help you to notice the effect, and don't forget to lower the treshold if needed) During the process think of the compressor as a very short timed volume control.

Ok, it is simplistic but it helps me to understand what happens to the sound.

Grtz,

D

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Post by Torque » Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:01 pm

Warning!!!!

If you don't understand compression don't use it very often.

I think of compression as working like a mirror. If you are wearing something with a word on it and you stand in front of a mirror the word is backwards. That's what compression does with dynamics. It makes loud peaks quieter and quiet valleys in the signal louder. A compressor is nothing really more than a distortion effect with an envelope. Though it's very subtle.

The compression ratio works like a subtle distortion knob on a guitar amp. The higher you turn it the more sqashed and distorted the sound becomes.

The Threshhold controls at what level in the volume peak the compression works on.

The attack is how long after the compressor feels the peak should it start compressing.

The decay is how long the compressor should hold after the peak has passed.

The best compressors are the ones that don't make hardly any noise.
I hope this made some sense to somebody. It's almost impossible to describe what a compressor does with text.

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