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Am I a compressaholic?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by EricWatkins, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. EricWatkins

    EricWatkins Active Member

    I just finished some demos for a cover band. I really liked the results for the most part but I definitely started slipping over the edge of using too much compression. What I'm wondering specifically, is if other people use multiple levels of compression at different places in the mix which end up overlapping? For instance, I use the waves SSL channel vat on a snare and add some compression to get a little sustain. Then, when I group all the drums, I put the SSL two bus compressor across them. Now they sound pretty great. But then, I usually like another bus compressor across the mains to bring the whole song together (and I think this works). Is all this normal? Maybe I just need to keep this in mind and start out sparingly as I go? Just wondering. I'd love to hear what everyone else does for pop/rock/modern country stuff. Thanks. :)
  2. AToE

    AToE Active Member

    There's another good thread that was just started recently that you should check out about using multiple comps on one track, slightly different topic but a good read none-the-less.

    Lots of people compress the drums as a group, I have been for quite a while (sometimes I chuck the bass guitar into that group as well), that's a fairly common practice even when the drums are individually compressed as well - personally I never put anything onto the mains, because if I'm sending it to be mastered (which I always am) then that's the mastering engineer's job to do, and they will always ask for there to be absolutely no compression on the mains.
  3. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Chances are when I'm doing the drum tracks and I want to put a compressor across the 2-bus, I will take out the overheads and sometimes the snares. Theres occasionally a phasing thing that can happen in these two specific sources when using multiple compression. If I'm looking for that heavy swat'n'splat snare I dont want to water it down with another compressor set to tame transients. I also am not a fan of compressed cymbals unless the release is very very good. I also find that by taking the overheads out of the 2-bus compression that it adds a little bit of life back into the overall drum mix.
  4. AToE

    AToE Active Member

    That's good to hear, I leave the cymbals out too. I generally leave the snare in, but maybe I'll do some playing around with it in and out.

    Do you ever toss in the bass guitar? I've thought about just running it along with the kick, but if I'm also compressing the whole kit together that starts to be a lot of layers of compression.
  5. EricWatkins

    EricWatkins Active Member

    Good idea on pulling the cymbals out. But then again, I thought that one of the elements that I really liked about certain tracks was the way they compressed the cymbals but I could be wrong. I just thought that they pretty much had to be controlled in such a manner on loud drum tracks.

    I wish I was passing my tracks along to a mastering engineer but unfortunately, I'm usually as far as the songs get so I do indeed often use some compression on the main bus. Not because I know that it's the right thing to do, I'm just reaching for that "Pro" sound.

    I'm posting a demo on the appropriate section of the forum. I'd love to hear some feedback. Thanks guys!

  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    The bass finds its own place.
  7. boxcar

    boxcar Active Member

    I always leave the cymbals out too, i guess after awhile you reach the same logical conclusion.
    I've come to compress bass drum,top&bottom snare group and tom group seperatly in the box now that i mix into the drawmer.
    I use a little comp. on bass /accoust. guitar and vocals wich all get mixed to the drawmer.
    The fender amp has comp. comming in.
    Maybe i use too much too but i like the sound im getting so i never really though about it till now.I use minor amounts though to shape and coax more than mold.
    I guess if it suits the style,its not too much,imo

    EDIT: i don't know what i did to my computer to get my text that dark.lol?????or is it showing up that way only on my end.
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Leo...Its really big letters here so we BELIEVE YOU....!!! LOL
  9. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    One situation where I do like to use a compressor on cymbals is a in a slow ballad where I want a lot of sustained sizzle to the ride or high hat. The UAD LA2A plugin works great for this. On fast tunes I generally like the opposite, I want a much faster decay from the cymbals. I use Moongel for this rather than electronics.
  10. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Is there any sense to compressing pre-recorded samples, ala Addictive Drums VST? Or are they already so good I don't need to?
  11. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Sure. The whole point of processing a drum sound is to give it the characteristics you want. Do you want to lengthen the decay and give it more boom? Emphasize the attack and give it more snap? You can do either with the right use of compression. The key is knowing what you want to achieve and how to get there. You shouldn't add compression to make it sound "better."
  12. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Not sure about Addictive Drums but EZ Drummer/Superior Drummer you can set it as a multi-channel output. So, you can choose which components to compress
  13. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Well, this really depends on the mix...
    Nothing else can help, except a pair of good ears.

    In school the first thing they told us was not to compress the overheads..
    This is often, but not always true.
    I have used compression on the OHs to get some nice effects for certain songs.
    As so often, there is no golden rule to this. But common sense helps a lot.

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