Peak vs. RMS on compression only, not limiting.

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by ThirdBird, Jun 1, 2009.

  1. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    Mod, please move if this belongs in a different forum. It is budget gear, but the principle still remains behind it. I am sure some other high-end pieces have the same option I am talking about.

    I am thinking of purchasing an alesis 3630 from my friend for 50 bucks, and have been doing some research on it. It has the peak and RMS modes to it, and to my understanding the peaks only monitors the transients and the RMS monitors the average signal.

    During tracking purposes only, what would some different uses on putting something to track before it goes in the box? (I already know some of you are going to question why I don't just do it in the box, but let's save that for another thread if you want.)

    For instance, what instruments or voices would get which choice (if any at all), and what would be the reasons for the effect behind it.

    Thank for anyone who chimes in!
  2. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Are you asking why compress on the way in?

    Well I do it to save time in the mix later. If you have a stong sense of what you want the mix to sound like then go for it. But if in doubt don't compress on the way in.
  3. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    Yes, in essence that is what I was asking.

    Can you elaborate more on some of the specific reasons why you would compress on the way in?:

    How your methods save time?

    What are some of the specific instruments and styles of music you might want to use what compression setting (peak/RMS) for?

    Sorry if that sounds too forward, I just want to be enlightened!

    (and thank you link, you always seem to be one of the first to answer my posts!)
  4. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    I compress on the way in if:
    -I know the instrument will need it in the mix.
    -I want to ensure I don't overload the digitial Input.

    For example a Bass player has slaps in the progression. I will try to even it out a bit on the way in, then whenI mix its one less thing to worry about.

    Peak compression essential removes the RMS filter from the control path in a compressor. Thefore the compressor responds much faster to input signal.

    Peak compression works on the input peaks directly but it can also introduces a risk that the input will be slammed when a large transient occurs. If your release is too long, then you may squish too much.

    Peak compression is best used for short pulse wavefoms such as individual drums.
  5. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    If something is going to be severely limited and/or compressed, then it's better to do a lot of it with analog. Digital is transparent, but only does good up to maybe moderate compression/limiting. For example: I suck at bass. It needs to be compressed. Oh no! The digital compression and limiting is not going so well. Slam the analog compressor/limiter, and then use digital compression/limiting for transparent taming. Analog can also offer colorization that isn't possible with digital.
  6. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    ? NC Dan I disagree. Analog or digital doesn't really matter here. I have some excellent UAD comps and some excellent hardware comps.
  7. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    The problem with digital is that it's just a simulation of a real compressor. Digital starts to sound very nasty once you get past maybe moderate compression or limiting. Of course, you could always just daisy chain plugins, which is what I recommend if you are going to have to compress and limit a lot and you have no analog unit. Heck, daisy chaining analog units is great if you want the compression to be as unnoticable as possible. But have you ever tried to do a lot of compression and limiting with plugins? It really doesn't sound very good: everything starts getting crunchy and harsh. I like digital compression and limiting because it's transparent, but digital compression and limiting is used as the gloss over the wood; the sanding and base coats are analog if possible.
  8. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    FWIW, I have gone by the "rules" that the original dbx company set out many years ago, suggesting the criteria to use rms detection (their invention, I believe).
    They suggested using rms when compressing program material that is "harmonically dense", because the compressor will respond to the increased spectral energy that way. They listed things like saxes, overdriven guitars, rich synth parts, etc. as instruments to set to rms. I know that's kind of vague, and I'm sure that there are those out there who would refute this, but that guideline has served me well since the mid 70's.
    And on another note, whoever said that "digital compression sounds nasty" must have never used a Yamaha digital mixer ( or a Tascam DM24, for that matter). That is certainly a generalization that is untrue.
    Maybe true with some of the cheap plug-ins, but not with ALL digitally-based compressors...And that can happen to many cheap analog comps, too.
  9. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    I'm speaking in general. Sure, a nice, expensive compressor plugin will do a better job than a bargain bin analog compressor, but digital is quite cold, and that tends to exaggerate the digitalness of the plugin when anything over moderate compression or limiting is applied. Also, plugins don't affect audio the same an analog unit does. Sure, I use compressor and limiter plugins, as they are very transparent, but they don't do extreme well. If I know that I'm going to have to compress or limit more than a tad, the signal is going through an analog unit first. Seriously, you don't think modeling amps are just as good as tube amps, do you? I don't think plugins are as good as the real thing when it comes to sound quality, but they can be good, convenient, and possibly most importantly, applied non-destructively. End of rant. 8)
  10. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Au contraire!
    Stick your hand into a PC that's been working it's ass off for a few hours.
    Now tell me again, is digital cold?

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