Analog vs plug in compression- fundamental differences?

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by jmm22, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    I have to confess that I often have difficulty telling whether my compressor plug ins are actually functioning. I do not hear them the same way as I hear an outboard compressor in a guitar rig. Is this typical? Are plug in compressors more subtle? Does anyone else have difficulty hearing their plug in compressors at times?
     
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Plugins tend to have much more precise control over the sound than the average low/mid analog comp and getting the settings "correct" takes correspondingly more time. With an analog unit it's pretty easy to just dial it in while the musician is playing. Additionally, analog units can be overdriven which is not usually the case with plugins. I like the Ashly compressors just so we are clear (I have two CLX52's), but I don't know that they are necessarily better than a decent plugin.
     
  3. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    If you can't hear the difference I have to ask, are you using them as effects sends or as inserts. All the plugins I use, even the free ones, are quite apparent when I use them.
     
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Many plugs will also have a wet and dry gain setting. Some default to -infinity. No gozinta = no gozouta.
     
  5. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    I am using them as inserts. I trust that as effect sends, they would be doing virtually nothing, as the original signal would remain uncompressed. Does anyone ever use compressors as effects sends for any reason?

    I sometimes hear a difference, but it is not nearly as dramatic as I hear in a rack compressor, even with the same settings. I mean I can identify a difference when I use a bypass, but the difference is not the same as with an analog compressor. Some of the problem may be my lack of hearing acquity for this effect. I do believe certain aspects of hearing or listening skills are acquired. Perhaps the changes with plug in compression will be more apparent or more easily discerned with more practice.

    I am not using my Ashley much right now. I think it needs a re-cap. I am using my RNC 1773 in my guitar rig right now. It is indeed a really nice compressor, and perhaps one of those rare occasions where the product actually meets much of the hype.
     
  6. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    If using parallel compression then yes, you would use them as sends. In this case you will need to make sure that your "send" has the gain turned up to unity (0dB) and that the bus you are sending too has the fader up. If you are using them as inline FX (usually a different area of the stick than the aux send) then you will still have parameters within the plugin (pre/post fader), dry/wet balance (or sometimes two individual levels for that), and of course all the settings that particular plugin allows. Hueseph is correct, you should definitely notice when you have the compressor kicked in unless the gain staging is off or you have the ratio set too low or the "wet" mix is too low.
     
  7. JPBerklee

    JPBerklee Active Member

    Yea parallel compression is a huge thing, to get the punchiness of a drum kit with heavily compressed parallel aux track along with the clarity of a relatively uncompressed regular track. It's a nice little trick!
     

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