Skip to main content

Bruce Swedien's view on compression

i don't think it's any secret as to how Bruce Swedien feels about using compression:
"Compression is for kids."
"Compression is a crutch. "
And finally, if that doesn't give you an idea about how he feels:
"I hate compression."

We're not talking about a newbie here - as we all know, the guy has recorded and mixed more professional (and incredibly successful) releases than we could ever even hope to accomplish.
So... dear RO'ers ... what are your thoughts on this?
To be clear, he has never said that he has never used compression - to the contrary, he has said that he did use an 1176 on Michael Jackson's vocal tracks on Thriller, describing the amount as just a "squirt", although he's not defined how much a "squirt" is in terms of ratio, thresh, attack, release or MU gain...
Bruce is also well known as a lover of the Harrison 32 Series console, a desk which one of the main features of was in-line gain reduction of varying types on every channel; in fact, when that console was released, that was one of the big features that made it so attractive.
I've never seen an interview where he was asked that question, and to be fair I've never seen him say he didn't use the GR feature on the channels either, although he has been adamant that he never uses compression of any kind on the 2 bus, or on sub-busses, either.
My personal opinion is that compression is often over-used by those who are newer to the craft - but that being said, I'd be lying if I said I'd never overconpressed tracks or a mix myself over the years as well...
I'm curious to hear what you think about this.
Thoughts?

Source: Pensado's Place, episode 15, Bruce Swedien interview

  • Bruce Swedien
FAQ

Who is Bruce Swedien

Bruce Swedien was an American recording engineer, mixing engineer and record producer. He was widely known for his work with Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Paul McCartney and Barbra Streisand.

What does Bruce Swedien think about using compression?

"Compression is for kids."
"Compression is a crutch. "

Comments

audiokid Wed, 09/20/2017 - 09:41
I suspect most of Bruce's recordings are pretty organic.(y) I suspect some of the hit mixes he's been part of are mixed by others which use compression, including stuff we don't talk about in recording forums etc.

Just a hunch, I think a lot of what Bruce does (specifically when it comes to Michael's (bass and drum tracks) has less to do with recording and more to do with programming and sequencing tricks.
There used to be a video online where Bruce talked about how Michael was so upset over the tracks of the Thriller project. It was right around the time Roger Linn introduced the LM1 and New England Digital introduced the Synclavier.
Michael used these two products in his home studio so he likely wanted the exact Linn drums and electronic bass lines sounds in his album so until that happened, he wasn't hearing the same sound Bruce and the session guys would have done organically. Remember, this was a time when recordists refused to accept drum machines and likely musicians and recordists thought organic drums were and could always be accomplished better in the studio they tracked in. (Being a martyr = studios out of business comes to mind).

I've watched previous video's of Michael in his studio and saw his sequencing rig which was the same setup I used in the 80's so my ears identified specific sounds that where not in the original mixes of Bruce's tracks which later ended up in the Thriller tracks.
The video has since been removed online but Bruce talked about how Michael was in tears from it all sounding like ass so Quincy and Michael left with the tracks, came back later and it all magically sounded fantastic. :sneaky:

I suspect not only were the tracks replaced with LM1 samples which ironically became all standard drum sounds of the LM2 ... sound replacement and at least some compression was obviously done behind closed doors on most of his albums from 1980 on.

So.. I think we have to read between the lines when it comes to recording vs mixing.

As far as MJ drums and compression goes... I have been thinking about asking Roger Linn to talk about this as he would be the guy who really could set that record straight :)

audiokid Wed, 09/20/2017 - 09:50
That being said, the best vocal sound I have gotten and which I always shoot for is using an LA2A /1176 combo during tracking. I've never come close to that ITB. The two units sound glorious without even adding compression but sound even better when you just touch it. Modern , high quality AD loves it. So... if you love the sound of high quality tape during tracking, then you would love (appreciate ) the sound of an LA2A/ 1176 combo through high quality preamp> AD today (possibly even better).
Genre's that include big bass and rich guitar and drum tracks... nothing sounds better than this combo during tracking vocals imho. :)

audiokid Wed, 09/20/2017 - 11:20
Isn't tracking to tape tracking with compression?

I think today's pro audio sounds great, if not far superior to the past recordings. I try not to confuse talent and music with sound when it comes to trusting old school opinions then.

The magic in audio lives in the transients.
Audio with clear well captured transients sounds great.
I think we can learn a lot from the old generation when it comes to the vintage sound but it's important not to think old school tracking devices yield the same results like what we have today.

Tape is muddy in comparison to high quality digital audio. So brighter mics also sounded better too.
It's all so subjective inho

DonnyThompson Wed, 09/20/2017 - 12:50
audiokid, post: 452858, member: 1 wrote: The magic in audio lives in the transients.
This is, word for word, what Swedien says. And I mean exactly.
I though you were quoting him and just forgot to add the """.
And that is his main reason for not liking compression, because he says it kills transients.
I was a little surprised to learn that the compressor he used on MJs voice was an 1176 ... even at its slowest attack, it's 22 microseconds. That's lightning fast. I would think, based on his love of keeping transients intact, that he would have used a "slower" compressor - like an opto or tube.
(But not a Fairchild... for a tube based compressor it too is REALLY fast.)
But according to him, he can count the number of times he has incorporated gain reduction on less than two hands. I honestly don't know what to believe. As far as mixing goes, everything I've read about him says that he does indeed mix the tracks he records, including the MJ albums.
FWIW
-d

audiokid Wed, 09/20/2017 - 13:51
Regarding transients. I happen to believe the same thing as Bruce.

But since I've had the luxury to track through my particular system I no longer believe one way is the best.

I doubt many old school guys have used what we have available today.

They are simply past their prime and comfortable doing what worked back then.

Our resident veteran gentleman Kurt is a great example if that.
Put him back in his comfort gear and I'm sure he would do wonders , and also create enough buzz on an album that we would be asking him what he does too get such an amazing sound.

But that doesn't mean it's the best way to achieve the same results through another tracking system.

audiokid Wed, 09/20/2017 - 14:08
Question for everyone, which I think is relevant to the question about compression because I doubt the samples on the Lm2 are unprocessed. Which is relevant to the finished tracks MJ did. Which is a direct correlation to Bruce and one of the worlds greatest albums.

Does Billie Jean sound like a the drums are a drum machine or real all the way through?

audiokid Wed, 09/20/2017 - 14:52
Fun discussion, Donny. This is really bugging me.
If I knew Bruce, I would outright ask him about the drums on the Thriller Album.

Here is what I am thinking.
MJ had the drum programming/ sequencing at home and Quincy and MJ either added them to the bed tracks or replaced them. Either Bruce knew this or not. And I do know Bruce mixed it all but do not know if he knows or can talk about it in depth.


Someone that might know Bruce or know more about the drums on that album might be
bob Olhsson . Bob, do you know Bruce well enough to ask him about the drums?

And finally, either Roger Linn sampled the drums and they became the stock kit to the LM2 or MJ used what Roger Already had in the LM2 kit.
Either way... I trust my ears that those drums had compression on them to get them to the level they were on the EPROMs.

DonnyThompson Wed, 09/20/2017 - 15:25
audiokid, post: 452861, member: 1 wrote: He may have mixed Thriller but I'm 100% sure the tracks were taken out of the studio, returned and then Bruce loaded them up and said... wow!

Not according to Swedien. According to him, he recorded the tracks, and then he and MJ alone mixed that album, with final approval from Quincy. Now.. I have no idea what mastering did to the mixes...one would presume that some limiting was used in the mastering phase, there were still lots of vinyl releases in those days - and I know for sure Thriller was released on vinyl first, (and probably cassette) - and then a year or two later, eventually to CD. Maybe LaserDisc too. But certainly vinyl was first.

DonnyThompson Wed, 09/20/2017 - 15:30
As a side note, Swedien says that they didn't use straight DI's to track the synths used on the record - instead he ran them through the desk, then sent them out to the big speakers in the live room, and used a combination of stereo pairs and mono room mics to record the synths thru the speakers, and then printed that to tape.

audiokid Wed, 09/20/2017 - 15:42
I watched an interview, which is no longer online where Bruce mentioned MJ in tears over the sound of the tracks. QJ and MJ left, later returned with tracks or something significant that sounded great.

Here is what I suspect. They said they were mastered but what really happened was the tracks were replaced.

I've been wrong before but those drum tracks are an LM2. And this is where the mystery lays.

I'm not savvy with mics and such but I definitely know my samples and what an LM2 sounds like.

In fact the time this album was released I was using the LM2 and synced up my LM2 to Billie Jean and it lined up with all the samples I mentioned in this post.

Coincidence? I don't think so. ;)

DonnyThompson Wed, 09/20/2017 - 16:31
Swedien has never denied using drum machines, Chris.
And certainly, the Linn was considered cutting edge at that time; Swedien has mentioned using a variety of synths, I don't believe that all those tracks were organic in nature.
And I don't know what happened, I wasn't there, But I do believe that MJ, Quincy and Bruce were in charge of all the tracks, both recording and mixing. The Linn could very well have been a big part of the sound of that album; Swedien has never mentioned not implementing whatever tools were available .... except compressors. ;)

DonnyThompson Wed, 09/20/2017 - 17:54
I never got the impression that Swedien was against synths, or drum machines, or samplers and sequencers. I can hear a lot of those elements in a lot of what he engineered for MJ, and not just on the Thriller album. Smooth Criminal is a perfect example of drum machines and synths being used in a production. I'm just trying to figure out whether I believe him about his use (or non use) of compression. Maybe he truly didn't use it. Or maybe he used it so rarely and sparingly that it wasn't worth mentioning... or maybe he figured that limiting would be added at the mastering stage, and that this would suffice for release.
I dunno... you tell me:

DonnyThompson Wed, 09/20/2017 - 18:05
To be fair, it should be mentioned that drum machines and triggered digital samples don't really require the gain reduction that live drums do, (at least not for transient protection, "color" and "character" is another topic altogether) because you can program all the velocities to strike at the exact same power every time, alleviating the need to rein in differing strokes in power that a real drum kit - with a real human drummer - would present. If you were to set your sequences -Kick, Snare, Toms, cymbals etc., to all one velocity, say 127, then you could simply set your input gain based on that never-changing velocity. So in that case, I can see where compression wouldn't be needed.
FWIW.

audiokid Wed, 09/20/2017 - 18:40
DonnyThompson, post: 452872, member: 46114 wrote: To be fair, it should be mentioned that drum machines and triggered digital samples don't really require the gain reduction that live drums do, (at least not for transient protection, "color" and "character" is another topic altogether) because you can program all the velocities to strike at the exact same power every time, alleviating the need to rein in differing strokes in power that a real drum kit - with a real human drummer - would present. If you were to set your sequences -Kick, Snare, Toms, cymbals etc., to all one velocity, say 127, then you could simply set your input gain based on that never-changing velocity. So in that case, I can see where compression wouldn't be needed.
FWIW.
exactly

audiokid Wed, 09/20/2017 - 18:46
DonnyThompson, post: 452871, member: 46114 wrote: I never got the impression that Swedien was against synths, or drum machines, or samplers and sequencers.
nor I as well. I think he is open minded, very cool and relaxed.

DonnyThompson, post: 452871, member: 46114 wrote: I dunno... you tell me:
This track is full of programming. MJ did a ton of his own programming. I watched a video of him in his studio and he learned how to do it well, got into his tracks as he (sequenced) put it all together, danced around, edited etc. Just like we all do during the writing process. He likely brings his sequenced tracks and data to a studio and they mix it in. He lays down the vocal etc... takes producers leads, they polish it up and presto!

I think Bruce used compression but didn't crush tracks like you hear in this video Smooth Criminal above. Those are crushed and stacked samples that are likely something MJ used, or built himself.

just a guess.

audiokid Wed, 09/20/2017 - 19:24
DonnyThompson, post: 452871, member: 46114 wrote: I'm just trying to figure out whether I believe him about his use (or non use) of compression.

Unlike you and I, Donny, I doubt Bruce would want to spend time programming drums and keys. I can't imagine seeing him sitting in front of an MPC and a rack of keyboards shaping sounds lol. He strikes me of someone that keeps it simple on his end and if you have sequences, he's totally hip with that but has little to do with the processing of them. So, I think when he speaks about his personal use of compression, he is referring to the tracks he is recording.

DonnyThompson Thu, 09/21/2017 - 03:31
I agree with that, based on what I've researched, he was happy to apply his knowledge to record (and mix) whatever was available, but I doubt he himself sat down at a Linn, Sinclavier or Fairlight and programmed parts or sounds.
A well known drummer from my area, who had played drums in the band I was in (Easy Street) bought a Linn around '81/82, learned the thing from top to bottom, then packed it up and moved to NYC. He made himself available to the big studios there as a Linn Programmer (and because he was a drummer he could help right parts too) .. he ended up working with Hall and Oates, Cyndi Lauper, and a slew of other artists because he had the knowledge and skill to be good at programming the Linn.
MJ and Bruce could very well have hired in cats that were known for programming drum machines, synths, samplers and sequencers. Or, as you mentioned, MJ did it himself at home and then brought the machine in to lay the rhythm or synth tracks over.
I've also heard that the back beat on Billy Jean was augmented by the sound of two pieces of 2x4's slapping together, then mixed in with the Snare track, to add "snap". I think MJs stuff was a mixture of electronic and organic.

DonnyThompson Thu, 09/21/2017 - 03:53
Found this on drummerworld.com
Ndugu Chancler played drums on Billy Jean.

here's a Yt vid that has the drum tracks only. You can here Bruce verbally slating the take at the top. There's a brief moment of silence before the drums start, because the song starts with a bass line (played by Louis Johnson). Listen closely and you can hear the occasional push-pull of a real drummer.
I'm not saying that a drum machine wasn't eventually used to "spice" the rhythm track ... but these drums on this track are real. And FWIW, they don't sound compressed - not to my ears anyway.
;)

Smashh Thu, 09/21/2017 - 06:37
Interesting topic , hope you get some answers before it becomes an unsolved mystery .

In Quincy's autobiography he talked about the sequenced drums being replaced by live drums in the last moment .
On Billie Jean the drums sound like programmed to me . The Cabasa on the right side sounds live, giving more human touch .

On a hunch , If MJ programmed the drums , I would imagine him getting upset after they were replaced by a real drummer
because it didn't fit the brief he had for the finished song .
Ndugu Chancler is the drummer credited on Billy Jean track 6 in Wiki .

audiokid Thu, 09/21/2017 - 08:05
DonnyThompson, post: 452879, member: 46114 wrote: Found this on drummerworld.com
Ndugu Chancler played drums on Billy Jean.

here's a Yt vid that has the drum tracks only. You can here Bruce verbally slating the take at the top. There's a brief moment of silence before the drums start, because the song starts with a bass line (played by Louis Johnson). Listen closely and you can hear the occasional push-pull of a real drummer.
I'm not saying that a drum machine wasn't eventually used to "spice" the rhythm track ... but these drums on this track are real. And FWIW, they don't sound compressed - not to my ears anyway.
;)
I think you are missing my point. I suspect they replaced them with the Linn. The Cabassa is missing as well. Those do not sound like the Linn and the finished tracks on the album. The open HH was also very identifiable on the Linn and Billie Jean. They had 3 duration and the finished tracks match the Linn.

Even if Bruce said they never used a Linn. There is absolutely nothing that could convince me otherwise. I know a Linn when I hear one. I made a living programming it too. ;)

And they also sound compressed on the finished version. Nothing like in this video imho. :)

audiokid Thu, 09/21/2017 - 08:15
Smashh, post: 452884, member: 45856 wrote: In Quincy's autobiography he talked about the sequenced drums being replaced by live drums in the last moment .
On Billie Jean the drums sound like programmed to me . The Cabassa on the right side sounds live, giving more human touch .
exactly.

MJ was no different than me and all the other Linn lovers out there. Once you get the taste of programmed drums, especially when you are in the 80's, a dancer like he was... the slightest inconsistency in tempo drives you nuts. There is no way he would ever revert back to real drums with timing issues after producing his own tracks in his studio, that sounded way better :). No way. I don't care how great a drummer plays, when it comes to dance music, electronic/ sequenced drums rule.

Davedog Thu, 09/21/2017 - 08:42
Interesting. To my ear, the "push-pull" feel comes from David Williams' guitar part and the very tiny inside things going on in Louis Johnsons' bass line. Neither one of these things is synth or digitized or layered. Greg Phillinganes' keyboards has a push/pull feel as well. I think that they probably did layer the Linn over the acoustic drums. And maybe in parts replaced . The story of Bruce Swedien building a "drum platform" and placing a board between the snare and the hihat (separation??) is an interesting take on it. Also Quincy giving instructions to his engineer to create a drum sonic signature.

To me the beauty of the entire production is the LACK of anything in it. So few instruments....all notes count...BOOM.

Davedog Thu, 09/21/2017 - 08:51
Here's the real deal on "BILLY JEAN".... From the GS interview series.....Bruces' words

"How Music “Speaks” to Me

In order for a piece of music to communicate a feeling to me, or to anyone actually, it must first have a "hook"... not simply a catchy phrase in the chorus, but a melody and rhythmic concept, combined with highly interesting sonic values, that instantly arrests our attention. I think that this is true to some degree in everyone.

A piece of music must "Speak to me". For me, it's almost like falling in love. I think it is purely an emotional response. It must make me respond instantly. This response in myself does not have anything to do with style or variety of music. The actual feeling varies in myself a little. In classical music, if a piece of music "Speaks to me", it makes me feel 'jubilant', or 'sad' or it can make me want to cry. In 'pop' music it is usually a more primitive, animal-like response. It can make me want to dance, or 'move'. I think it is much the same in most people. I'm sure it varys with the individual, though. It is the one thing in myself that I hope falls in with this same type of response in the masses. If that is true then it makes it very easy for me to pick records and songs that will appeal to the general public.

I think I have this quality. Most of the records that I have recorded that have been huge hits, are songs and recordings that I have liked very much right from the start. A perfect example of this is Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean". I fell in love with “Billy Jean’ immediately, the first time I heard Michael sing a demo of the song. I call this ability for affection for certain pieces of music, in myself, my "Antenna".

Here's another thing that frequently happens to me when I go out and buy a record that I have heard on radio or TV and liked very much.(I think maybe I should get into this in depth elsewhere, if you are interested.) If I hear a song on the radio and it sounds interesting to me, more often than not, I get the record home and the sonics of it sound like doo-doo! This seems to happen mainly when I hear a record that sounds great on the radio, and that is my main interest in it. Perhaps it is musically not "Speaking to me", but the sound of it, on the radio, is interesting. Often when I play these records at home or in the studio, I am very dissapointed. Hmmm - Interesting...

But, More About "BILLY JEAN".....

The year is 1982. The song is "Billie Jean". The sonic image of Michael Jacksons' "Billie Jean" is a perfect example of what happened, when I sat around dreaming awhile, about combining different recording techniques to produce a unique musical canvas with a tremendous 'sonic personality'.

I recorded the drums,(played by my pal N'Dugu) with as tight, and powerful a drum sound as I could come up with. Of course I put N'Dugus' drum set on my plywood drum platform. Also at this time, I had a special kick drum cover made that covers the whole front of the kick drum. There's a slot with a zipper in it that the mike fits through. When the kick drum mike is in place, in the slot in my drum cover, I zip the opening tight around the mike.

Brucie asks - Shall I post a Photo of this beautiful device????? I still have it and use it on every session!!!

I brought in my old pal George Massenburgs' spectacular sounding, portable, 12 channel recording console and used it to record the rhythm section. With it I recorded the bass, drums and guitars on my analogue 16 track, with no noise reduction equipment in the way of that fantastic sound!

In my estimation, “Billie Jean” is a perfect example of what I call “Sonic Personality”. I don’t think there are many recordings, where all you need to hear is the first few drums beats, and you instantly know what song it is.

Great albums always start with great songs....

“BILLY JEAN” is just such a superb song! Of course, Michael wrote “BILLY JEAN”.

Quincy says that the lyric he wrote is highly personal. I’m sure that’s true. Michael told us... it was about a girl, that climbed over the wall at Michael’s house, and was lounging out there, by the swimming pool.... she was laying out there, near the pool , lounging... hangin’ out... with shades on, her bathing suit on.

One morning she just showed up! Kind of like a stalker, almost. She had accused Michael of being the father of ONE of her twins... Is that possible? I don’t think so....

Hmmmmmm....."

Bruce Swedien

Davedog Thu, 09/21/2017 - 08:58
He also states in an earlier post on GS, that David Williams' guitar part used on the final production is the part recorded at Micheal's home studio as part of the demo recording....I think this is what he's referring to when he's talking about "recording the rhythm section" here. Anyway, apparently when they tried to replicate the part it was never the same so they flew it in from the demo tapes.

And yes, if you are recording to analog tape, and I suspect that the tracks went on hot a s possible, this would have some sort of organic compression associate with it.

My signal chain for a lead vocal is much like Chris'. I use an LA2A and an 1176. I don't even punch in a button on the 1176, just like what the circuit does to the signal. The LA2A is 'feathering' the vocal. Just enough to bring in the thickness you get with those boxes but no enough to really be a heavy compression. Team this with the ViPre and the U67 and it's pretty damn good on most voices.

audiokid Thu, 09/21/2017 - 09:16
I've contacted Roger Linn in hope he will answer a few long awaited questions.
In the mean time, here is some history on him https://recording.org/threads/bobby-owsinski-interviews-roger-linn-plus-pirate-radio-is-coming-back.59512/

If you see this Roger, :love:
  • What is the sample history behind the stock LM2 kit?
  • What was the processing for each sample?

  • Did MJ use the LM 2 on Billie Jean?

  • Did you model the trigger function on the LM 2 kit for MJ or was this function something you came up with?
class="xf-ul">

audiokid Thu, 09/21/2017 - 10:56
Roger Linn graciously responded to me. Thank you Roger :)
This is what he said:

Hi Chris,


Please see below for my responses.


Best,

Roger Linn



On Sep 20, 2017, at 7:16 PM, Chris wrote:

Hi Roger, hope you are well.

You shaped my life and I will always be grateful. I have some questions I hope you can answer.


Roger wrote:

Thank you for your kind compliment.


Chris wrote

For 35 years I have wondered if Michael Jackson used your LM 2 for the Thriller album (specifically Billie Jean)? I owned the LM 2 and it sure sounded like it to me. If so, did he use your samples or did you model the LM 2 stock library from the organic drums off the Thriller Album?

Where did you get your samples from?


Roger wrote

I assume you are referring to my product called LinnDrum. FYI, I have never made a product called LM-2, though people often refer to LinnDrum as LM-2, even though “LM-2” appears nowhere on the product and “LinnDrum” appears in huge letters on the front. Go figure. :)


The samples for LM-1 and LinnDrum came primarily from drum hits I recorded of an L.A. drummer and friend named Art Wood. There were some others but I don’t recall their source. I don’t know which machine was used on Thriller, though Bruce Swedien kindly invited me to a Michael Session once and they were using the LM-1.


Chris wrote

What processing did you do to the stock LM 2 kit ?


Roger wrote

None except a little EQ. Reverb on the samples made no sense because of 1) the high cost of memory and 2) the inability to remove reverb from a sample.


Chris wrote

I’m having a discussion on my forum and would love to either quote you or even better, have you register and answer some of the mystery about your sounds and more. There are many engineers that need to learn what the Linn Drum sounded like and how it shaped the pop culture.

https://recording.org/threads/bruce-swediens-view-on-compression.62925/


Roger wrote

You’re welcome to pass my answers along. By the way. I’ve answered the same questions many times in interviews so it’s no secret. You can find a number of those interviews on my site under the More menu > Roger Interviews.
http://www.rogerlinndesign.com/

DonnyThompson Thu, 09/21/2017 - 12:40
audiokid, post: 452896, member: 1 wrote: Ironically I knew it was called LinnDrum but a dealer corrected me as LM2. It’s been posted as that on forums for years .
Good to clear that up!

So it’s the LM 1 on Billie Jean then.
Uhm... that's not what he said, Chris.
He said that he didn't know "which Linn drum was used on Thriller". it could have been on the title track itself, it could have been on any number of the other songs. He did not specify Billy Jean. At least not in the letter you posted.
According to both Swedien and N'Dugu Chandler, Chancler played drums. According to Quincy, they had used a drum machine at first but at the last minute decided on real drums.
This track might not sound as the finished track does to you because it was take 1 of the recording. A slew of processing could have been added to the drum tracks for the mix, in fact, they did 91 separate mixes of the song and Quincy told them to use #2.
FWIW.

audiokid Thu, 09/21/2017 - 13:23
Edited.

Well... i read between the lines on this one.
Anyone who thinks the drums are live, not a LinnDrum ... It really doesn’t matter. The bare tracks you posted do not sound like the finished production to me. They sound close but not close enough to me.

I would bet Billie Jean is the LinnDrum. Without question, the cabassa is identical in Cindy Lauper’s Time after Time and hundreds of other tracks. I could go on but who cares.
Knowing the LM1 was even in the studio is all I needed to know, to confirm the rest of the story.
The drums are perfect, simple and perfectly synced in the final production. Exactly what a LinnDrum does so well and sounds like.
. :)

The reality is... the final mix has without question... compression.
Which leaves us asking... did Bruce use compression or was that done in the mastering.

Likely it was done in the mastering.

Good thread.

Cheers :)

DonnyThompson Thu, 09/21/2017 - 13:28
audiokid, post: 452902, member: 1 wrote: Well... If you think the drums are live, not a LinnDrum ... It really doesn’t matter.
I would bet Billie Jean is the LinnDrum.
Knowing the LM1 was even in the studio is all I needed to know, to confirm the rest of the story. The drums are perfect , simple and perfectly synced in the final production. Exactly what a LinnDrum does so well and sounds like. But who cares. :)

The reality is... the final mix has without question... compression.

Cheers :)
At least the final release does, which, if what Swedien says about his use of compression is true, was most likely done in mastering.
He has stated - quite adamantly - that he "never uses compression on the master buss..never". So it would stand to reason that some form of limiting was done in mastering; and, as mentioned earlier, the main release medium in those days was still vinyl first.

audiokid Thu, 09/21/2017 - 20:45
Back to compression. Other than my go to vocal chain, which Dave also mentions is an LA2A 1176 combo. Just passing through those adds a glow and shine that I've not experienced without. Its a sound you just get used to and do because it always sounds nice.

I realize this comes at a cost but I prefer to use high quality gear that allows more headroom, less need to feel you need to compress. I mean, I don't compress tracks like I hear people do. To me it kills the vibe, adds a dullness that forces unnatural EQ boosts. Domino effect.
I do however, love side-chain processing and will use digital compressors (love Samplitude's comp for that) to trigger a side-chain process which could be for targeting specific freq that compress, EQ or dip volume for that matter.

How about you?

Only the DAW generation could truly know how cool ITB side-chaining is. Its not possible to do it in the same way, the analog way > Old school analog mixing is imho, fun from a tactile pov but primitive.

soggy mittens Thu, 09/21/2017 - 22:32
how does he feel about multi-band compression that is only effecting the low end fundamentals? xD

also when using drum machines and synth bass (which I don't know that much about) those samples/sounds would be somewhat processed into the hardware? I couldn't imagine drum machines using dry unprocessed samples, that would sound messy, right.
x

Register

Your recently read content