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where to use my compressor in my chain

Discussion in 'Recording' started by straightoutthebasement, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. i just got a brand new dbx 266xs dual compressor and limiter. i am so very new to the world of compression and only barley understand what it does.

    i would like to use this in conjunction with my presonus firepod and cubase 5 to record vocals, and most importantly, guitar tracks.

    i play generally "tight" sounding metal; deathcore, "djent" and other types of heavy music.

    i was wondering where it would work best in the recording chain.

    should my chain look something like;

    guitar<amp<mic<firepod<dbx compressor limiter<and then back to the firepod?

    what inputs/outputs and what cables should i use for this?

    also, because its a dual channel comp, i can also compress my amps effects loop, have that go through the mic, then compress the firepod.

    i was also wondering the same thing about vocals, should it be something like;


    or should it be;


    i thank anyone who reads all of this and can help me. im totally new to the world of compression and am just looking to start in the right place.

    thanks in advance guys!
  2. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    I used to use compressors in the recording chain, back in the "old tape" days. With the headroom digital recording enables, I don't use them on incoming signals, unless it's for a specific effect.

    In the digital realm I only use compression during the mixing process.
  3. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    There's not much point using garden variety hardware compressors with digital recording. What/who gave you the impression this would be a good idea? A decent plugin will sound just as good and it has other advantages (like not getting stuck with the results). On the other hand, if you have a Drawmer, API, UA, Massey, Meek or other boutique compressor it may be worthwhile, but even then you can wreck a good take with bad settings.
  4. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Bass guitar anybody? if u use it on the way in, be light handed, until you really know how it works.
  5. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    In a guitar rig I like the sound of a compressor ahead of any distortion, otherwise the distortion drops off faster than the volume, which sounds weird and a little wimpy. Put the compressor first and the guitar sustains into the distortion which sounds beefier and more natural if you don't overdo it. But this compressor should be part of the rig and well sorted before tracking starts. It's really hard to fix bad compression.

    Dynamics are changes in level. Compressors are dynamics processors. Simply put, compressors decrease differences in volume over time. But that's an oversimplification. They can be used to flatten or enhance transients or extend sustain.

    Compressor settings are specific to each situation. You generally can't expect presets or suggested settings to be much help because the way compressors react depends largely on the signal itself.

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