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Dumb question

Discussion in 'Recording' started by johnnyl, May 22, 2007.

  1. johnnyl

    johnnyl Guest

    I should know this but I am getting two answers (from two engineers). I am mixing in protools. In the signal chain, should I put a compressor first and then an eq or the other way around? And why. Thanks.
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    It shouldnt matter whether you're in protools or what. The effect should be the same.

    Putting the EQ in front of a compressor and setting it to specific frequencies means the compressor is working MORE on these selected frequencies( if boosted) than the others. This is fine if this is the effect you want to achieve. Compellors and devices like that are sort of frequency dependant compressors.

    Eq'ng after the compressor does another thing alltogether. And could present some noise floor problems for particular compressed frequencies.
    Suppose you had a hot guitar sound that was peaking a bit uncontrollably in the upper mids. You use a compressor to control these peaks and then if you happen to add these frequencies back in with the EQ, what have you accomplished?? Theoretically the makeup gain should restore the levels without the peaking, so I suppose that the added EQ after the comp would restore some sparkle to the track. Hearing is knowing.

    Although I guess there isnt much noise floor in ProTools..........!

    As always, care should be observed when applying several devices to a signal chain be they digital or analog. A little goes a long way.
  3. johnnyl

    johnnyl Guest

    Thank you very much. I'm glad to know it works both ways according to what you desire.
  4. JessicaX

    JessicaX Guest

    Remy has told me many times to EQ to the trak to make it sound "almost right" first. Then on mixdown when you "crunch" the SOB summore' you'll want to add additional EQ to bring the sparkle back, since crunching has a tendancy to dull the signal. And she's ALLWAYS RIGHT!

    the original xgrrrl
  5. schizojames

    schizojames Active Member

    Correct me if I am wrong... but if the compressor isn't of the multi-band variety, wouldn't these peaks just be the triggers for compression of the entire signal? I mean, maybe a mono synth or a flute solo boosted at 1000Hz would be compressed only when the instrument hit the notes at or around that range. Maybe I misinterpreted your wording, but I think the compressor only works MORE (on everything) when those frequencies trip the required voltage... am I being redundant?

    I very much agree with the fact that it is a matter of what you want to happen and what your ears tell you. And REMY is always joking... I can't vouch for the always right bit.
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Correct me if I am wrong... but if the compressor isn't of the multi-band variety, wouldn't these peaks just be the triggers for compression of the entire signal?

    Correct. And by virtue of these 'boosted' frequencies becoming the trigger, the compression, set to these levels as the threshold would in fact ONLY compress when these are asking it to. Of course everything coming in would be compressed, but with the threshold set to these frequencies, the effect on the the other frequencies would be limited.

    ie: compression happens ONLY at the selected threshold. It would be operating as a sort of a side chain. Its effective for wildly variant snare hits where there are hits that are really hot and others that arent at all.

    You bring up the relative volume through the use of the EQ and limit the really loud passages with the comp set just below the level of the really obnoxious and loud hits.
  7. schizojames

    schizojames Active Member

    OK cool, thanks Dave. I guess this would be pretty acceptable as long as there wasn't too much compression or too many other things going on in there... like a bunch of steady cymbal action or something else that would betray this occasionaly attenuation.

    Oh, and johnnyl: There are situations in which both would be appropriate, such as using tape compression (thank Gabriel Roth for this one). Let's say you want some crunchiness on highs in your kit but you don't want the boom of compressing the powerful low frequencies more than anything else, so you boost highs and cut lows on the way to tape and let it saturate pretty good, then do the opposite on the way back... if you balance right on the way in, you might not even need to, but alas I am talking about things I have never tried again. :roll:

    I'm gonna go try it with the spring reverb.

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