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I am not Compressed

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Dr.John, Jun 19, 2002.

  1. Dr.John

    Dr.John Guest

    Hi to you all,amazing board plenty of good advice
    and not to much BS.Just started out on mixing my demo and a local S/Engineer told me,
    to put compression on everything in the mix,is this true.I would appreciate your advice to see if this is the way I should go.
  2. wink2k

    wink2k Guest

    Are you sure he didn't mean compress the 2 mix bus?
  3. If you compress everything in the mix you will be VERY depressed and need to start over.
  4. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Compression is an art that needs practice. Depending on the dynamic's of your tracks your engineer friend could be very right. Things like th Bass and Vocals could need quite a bit. Gtr's, Kick, Snare, Toms, ect. could use a tad. Rooms could use alot. The mix bus could use a tiny bit. It takes practice but no time like the present...especially if you own your own "studio" and all we're talking about is time.

    Do a search on "compression" and bone up on th advice offered here.

    good luck and happy compressing :D
  5. wink2k

    wink2k Guest

    I don't know... the Lord-Alge brothers might disagree...
  6. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Because I'm using a DAW I compress in lttle bit at all stages ..... without Tape Compression things just need it. Lots of different compressors adds lots of different flavours.

    Filters(and EQ's) and compression(limiting) are the main tools.

    More so than reverb units as you can get your reverbs from the rooms you work in.
  7. antonio

    antonio Guest

    I say the second you start compressing the crap out of 1 track, it immediately means you have to force all the other tracks into the same context. This means that if you compress the crap out of your lead vocal just to make it sit right, the other tracks are going to get thinner and thinner unless you compress them for more juice as well.

    I think this is why the lord-alge brothers compress so much. It's all about genre and context for them, as far as what I've read and heard of theirs. I have yet to hear a lord-alge track that didn't sound like 20db of gain reduction went into each track in the arrangement.

    I recall reading an article where Chris-lord-alge said that after a recording session is over, you have drums, guitars and bass layed down and they don't all mix well together in a rough mix with just faders. He said that the electric guitar sounded the "biggest" out of all the tracks in the arrangement because it was already "compressed" since it was driven hard through an amp. This thick guitar track basically has no more peaks but your drums still do and so does your bass, vocals and other instruments that still sound extremely dynamic. Compression is the key to getting the drums, bass, vocals and other tracks in context with this huge-sounding guitar track since you can't really "uncompress" the guitar anymore (distorted is how it's supposed to sound anyway).

    Smashing up the drums so that they contain less transients but more decay means that they will mix better with the guitar track which has basically a "never-ending-decay". The same goes for vocals and bass which when they're raw, sound very peaky and drop out alot.

    The point I am trying to make is that you've already burned the "compression" bridge when you track distorted electric guitars. There's no point in continuing with the mentality that less compression is always better when you have this beefy distorted/compressed guitar sound that needs support and a foundation to lie on. Since the guitar is now the dominating instrument in terms of constant energy (RMS), it's time to work everything around that and support it by bringing the degree of compression on other tracks higher. It's the only way to create a good relationship between all the instruments. It would be too contrasting to have a smashed guitar sound and transient-like drums in a mix. It simply wouldn't blend and I am sure alot of you would agree that you have to do what you have to do and activate all those compressors.

    I can only imagine how many multitracks the lord-alge brothers receive that have tracks which are completely out of context to one another. It's their job to get all the tracks to blend well and they don't hesitate to activate those compressors. That is why they both own something like 50 compressors each.

    Even if it isn't rock music but dance or RnB. There is always going to be a track in the mix that sounds bigger than everything else. If it's supposed to sound bigger and everything else is meant to sound thinner then fine. But if the kick sounds thin and the main synth is blairing away with constant energy, it's time to beef the kick up and bring it into line with the big synth. No kick drum in pop music should sound thin and weaker than everything else. It's funny because so much demo stuff has all these flaws I'm talking about. People are too scared to use compressors these days because of popular gossip that they destroy the sound. I would prefer to compress the crap out of everything if it meant the song would blend well but lose sonic integrity. IMO decision making in mixing should not always have to question whether or not it will destroy the "quality" or sonic integrity of the mix. It's more about the feel/vibe of the mix than the sonic/sound quality picture. That's not to say I don't track at 24 with the highest quality converters possible etc etc. In my opinion, I get the signals sounding as good as possible going to hard-disk so that way the chances are less of screwing the tracks up with lots of processing later on. I think an engineer has to be prepared to process ALOT if that's what the song needs.

    Decide what the song needs and do not hesitate to f!c around with processors and lots of compressors. When you compress the crap out of an instrument in your mix when you're going for consistency in level, don't forget that it may automatically call for a revision on the settings of your other tracks which may need to be squashed more to blend in with your new settings on the other track you just killed!
    But never compress every track just for the hell of it or because you can.

    Remember that compression isn't just used anymore to adjust the consistency in the overal level of a track, it is used to apply thickness to smaller and shorter sounds like kicks and snares more than ever today with really fast release times and attack times. Gone are the days where engineers are just attempting to balance a 3.5 minute kick track so that the level doesn't drop over time.

    Good luck,
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    RUN! I mean it, RUN! Find a new engineer, this guys head is so far up his anal canal it would be impossible for him to hear anything. To make a blanket statement like that is pure ignorance. This is why there are so many bad sounding records out today. Everybodies got the toys and they're going to use them by god! Less is more! cedar flat fats
  9. themidiroom

    themidiroom Active Member

    Keep running!! I often stay clear of any engineer that can tell you what to do (or not do) to a track before it's even recorded. If something needs to be compressed, compress it. If it sounds fine in the mix, leave it alone. The ears should be the judge of that.
  10. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    OH Yeah!!! What if I were to tell you that it'll be the best you ever heard. Would you keep running? (just checking my sales pitch).
  11. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    As far as the topic concerned is. I believe that who ever gave you the advice not to use a bumch o'compression was just giving some conservative advice. If you record everything as best as possible with no compression what so ever (it can be done. I recorded a record that mixerman mixed last year, and other than the vocals and the rooms on the kit, NOTHING was compressed-and very little eq- while being recorded....only in the mix...which meant it only got done once). It turned out great. Compression is great. But if you get it wrong, your stuck with the lifeless results.
    However; if you mdon't compress when you record, you'll almost certainly ahve to compress when you mix. The exception to this is orchestral, and jazz. Very little compression (if any) going on in those genres.
  12. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Really nice post, Antonio. You've helped me see some things from a new perspective. Thanks!
  13. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Ditto...a good dissertaion on compression.

    And remeber guys & gals... this (like everything ) is a learnig/growing process. You can't be anymore afraid of compression than a rodeo cowboy can be of a bronking buck.
    Get in there and compress....
  14. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I didn't mean don't ever compress. I love compressors. Heck, I've got more compressers than anything else. It's just to compress everything? Must be thinking of mixing on a console with onbord comps. or a DAW, anyway I digress... the point is kiddies, none of this stuff, EQ's, compressors,etc. makes an audio siginal sound better, just different. Thre is no such thing as a good-u-lator. I personally like to use 3 to 6 dB compression to track vocals, guitars, bass and horns. Anything that you really want to sound loud in the mix. I hate it across the 2-bus when mixing (you gotta leave somthing for the mastering engineer to munch on) but I will use it to pull stuff out in a mix by inserting it on individulal channels. Oh, and I don't care for vca compression. I love compression when it's needed but I do think it is waaaaaayyyyyy overused these days. Fats
  15. Dr.John

    Dr.John Guest

    Thanx Guys to you all.If it needs it use it,if it doesn't-leave the bloody thing alone..
    once ive finished it I will let you know how it worked out.Some fantastic replies and plenty of great advice.

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