My system helps me work faster since I know from experience what usually works. Learn what all the buttons on your compressor do, experiment with the different compressor styles and then start applying the aforementioned compression tricks in your mixes. Understanding what a compressor does and when you should use it might give you a clearer insight into why you should compress your tracks and how to go about it. WHAT DOES A “SLOWER ATTACK” LOOK LIKE THE ON COMPRESSOR. hi Graham, We do this by offering simple and practical music production and success skills they can use right away to level themselves up to the next level - while rejecting negativity and gear-shaming from the industry. Thanks. I take it more as a “normative” step as a pure compression). In radio, the main board in the on air studio has several compressors and then we have more units at the transmitter. I follow my go-to presets in my head whenever I’m mixing. Metering window – The window is convenient for seeing the waveform on the screen, what the compressor is doing to the signal and for seeing how much gain reduction is going on. 2. Listen to your tracks before you do anything, and if you can point to anything improving your track (a compressor, EQ, distortion, etc) throw it in, but if you can´t point to the actual reason for throwing in a plugin, you should probably stay away from it. There might be already much treble and sheen etc on the music. Trying to figure out when its a good idea to stay above threshold all the time and when its better to let the signal drop below. Sometimes when I use a nice preset or think I got the Compressor dialed in, my drums sound kinda wavy. Long story short, there’s still one thing that still throws me off: There are tons of videos and tutorials out there (books, Youtube, Blogs and stuff) explaining how to use Compression, EQ, Delay … but I hardly find tutorials on how the affect (!) But like I said before, compression used improperly can kill your mix. As every instrument within a song is just a part of a whole compisition, I find that no plugin or mixing move stands alone as well. Only this time you should ask yourself why you’re doing it and then try to accomplish those goals. I used to be so worried about compressing vocals, but now I often use two compressors in series and find that 4-5 db on each one (or even more!) Compression used to be somehing I’d do aimlessly, more or less. Faster release times means faster recovery time for the compressor. Happy mixing! Absolutely. With certain compressor plug-ins, you can switch between a few different emulations. Take a line from a vocal for example. If we just talk about the software side, excluding any outboard compressors you might have, then the typical DAW compressor has a few different settings that you should experiment with. I tend to paint myself into that same corner at times. Never process for the sake of processing, remember that mixing is also about recognizing and keeping the good stuff unharmed. I’m not talking about all those buttons you know all too well. So if you’re going to throw a compressor on a track, only do so because you have a plan for it. Also, I believe that waveform view of a track gives the perfect idea whether or not to use compression. All of these questions have different compression answers depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. I have a mix that starts out with just chugging acoustic guitar (You know, punk riff style) and a lead vocal. The 1176 is perhaps the most famous FET compressor. You always assume that the dealer’s other card is a 10, so by default you’ve lost. I hope you’ll get the point. It works a little slower and doesn’t react as quickly to your audio. Normally, automation is the last step in making a mix sound good. what folks typically mean by the need for compression is uneven levels, where a track may be too quiet in places and too loud in other places. It is said that you do compression after the mix. Don’t fit every situation but sound great when they do work. Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window). Automation is a great way to enhance a mix, but don’t take the long way home just because you’re intimidated with using compression. I understand what you’re saying about compression but can I still ask one question that may be stupid? First off, let’s talk about the threshold and the ratio. One of the best things I think you are sharing is the reason behind the techniques. Of course I have destroyed mixes completely with too much compression. I appreciate Graham’s clear explanation of why you compress individual tracks. If this is wrong and one is to compress each track individually, should compression be set up as a send? They have some great free plugins that are simplified versions of the ones they sell (which are VERY affordable). Awesome tips, Graham. It all sounds good track by track. Threshold – The threshold sets the level for where the compressor should start listening to the audio signal. A lot of times I leave my mix one or two days before continuing and when I come I can hear something is not the same as I left it and as I wanted it to be. The most confusing thing about compression for me is how attack and release times work. WHAT DOES A “FASTER ATTACK” LOOK LIKE ON THE COMPRESSOR. On certain compressors you’ll find a few more settings to tweak: Knee – Whether you select a soft or hard knee will change the way the compression is applied, either gradually as the signal approaches the threshold, or linearly as soon as the audio hits the threshold. I was using reason 8 and put a pulverizer on the drum bus thinking I could use the wet dry to my advantage and save a step by not making a separate parallel compression track. How much is too much? If you have a very quiet signal you might need to increase the gain so that the compressor works better (or down if you can’t put the threshold low enough and it’s always compressing way too much). You’ve probably heard that professional mixing engineers use compression when they mix. If you’re sending it to a good mastering engineer to get it professionally mastered, you can leave all your compression off the master bus. But it took me developing better ear for it to really hear where i was going wrong in the past, so they weren’t too bad. So when things are nicely balanced, and EQ’d, the thing you reach for next is the compressor. Here are just a few of the ways I’ve been using the multi-band compressor lately: The multi-band compressor is a seriously useful tool to make better mixes. Hey, Yep, I’ve destroyed lotsa only to go back to square one again. Try it out on overly dynamic vocal phrases, irregular guitar performances or inconsistent drummers. Slow attack is better. So I just kept on using my other compressors, not realizing the potential I was passing over. Hi, I think with a look-ahead compressor, which is an option in the context of mixing, faster attack times shouldn’t cause unwanted artefacts at the transients…, hmm, ok, his sound’s really new to me that i.e. Your ears will let you know if you are making the “right” decisions. Then I can have a real fat compression, but not destructive for the signal. Everything else I use is stock Reaper plugins. Even if the signals stays above threshold all the time, the compressor still works depending on the attack and release settings .

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