Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by macthedoulos, Nov 10, 2005.

  1. macthedoulos

    macthedoulos Guest

    anyone have any good tips on basic compression settings for hip hop vocals? what should the threshold, ratio, attack, and relase be set to?
  2. CharlesDayton

    CharlesDayton Active Member

    Mar 22, 2005
    You are asking the wrong question. You should be asking, "How does a compressor work?" What do the functions of threshold, ratio, attack, release, and gain do? Each setting always depends on the material. Are all Hip Hop vocals exactly the same? If they are, than you can find one setting, set it and forget it.

  3. threshold: G#
    ratio: back to front
    attack: at dawn
    release: 2.7½

    Hope that helps.

  4. macthedoulos

    macthedoulos Guest

    ummm.....therealshotgun.....i don't really comprehend...

    charlesdayton....or you have any CONCISE readings or resources on compression...something in laymens terms....

  5. Exactly. The fact that you don't comprehend is what CharlesDayton was trying to politely point out.

    So, before anybody can give you any useful information, can you first tell us if you DO or DO NOT understand what a compressor does, or is supposed to do?

  6. TimRP

    TimRP Guest 101.pdf
  7. gilligan204

    gilligan204 Guest

    threshold -18
    ratio 2:1
    attack : 10 ms
    release : 250 ms
    knee : soft
  8. ggunn

    ggunn Guest

    shotgun wrote:
    Isn't a compressor sort of like an EQ? That's what I read in here a while back...

  9. YES! I'm dyin. I love it. It's so happy here.

    Actually a compressor would be the exact opposite of an EQ from what I read. Because what you do with compressors you UNDO with EQs. Or so I'm told....

  10. macthedoulos

    macthedoulos Guest

    nahh. i undertand the basics. just tryin' to wrap my mind about how to pratically apply in different situations. i understand that threshold sets the point where the compression kicks in and ratio deals with the ouput decibals per input decibals, etc..

    thanks for the link...
  11. tweeksound

    tweeksound Guest

    With hip hop vocals you want that in your face sound. To obtain this sound you want to squash the dynamics of the recorded signal. EQs and compressors are both very different animals.
    A multi band compressor is a bit like an EQ but basically your either taking the whole signal or just selected frequency spectrums of the signal and bringing the trasient peaks down and bringing the quiet nuances and passes up. This yeilds a more easily placed, and more easily understood effect for the recording.

    I see the correlation between compressor and EQ cause EQ's boost or cut certain selected frequencies along the audio spectrum.
  12. tweeksound

    tweeksound Guest

    The threshold really depends on the overall level of the recorded signal. A lower level signal will need a lower set threshold. -10 dbs is a good place to start. Watch your meters and most importantly listen to the signal carefully as you bring the threshold lower. You may need make up gain to get the vocal back up to the level you started with once you get it nice and compressed but there should be a good deal less movement in the meters as it becomes more and more compressed. The ration dicatates how much of the level will be let thru the compressor once it reaches your threshold. 2:1 means for every db of signal past the threshold the compressor will allow 1 db to get thru. Play with these settings and listen to the differnces. You'll learn a lot about compressors as well as sound ingeneral. Because it's all just dbs and frequencies man.
    just like everything.
  13. Guys, news flash on this thread. I have just recently learned that compressors are supposed to "EXCITE" the dynamics. Please adjust your techniques appropriately.
  14. macthedoulos

    macthedoulos Guest

    i've messed around a little...i just need to know some industry standards if there are some. ya know? like....i'm sure every engineer in major studios fool around until they get the right sound for the vocalist/rapper....but i would think that they also have certain standards or places they start as well. a mental template if you will that they adjust according to how it's sounding. like....." i'm doing hip hop so i'll start with the threshold here and the ratio here and build from there. tomorrow i'm doing metal so i'll start the threshold here and the ratio there and the attack here..."

    do i make sense? hopefully....
  15. jdsdj98

    jdsdj98 Active Member

    Jun 8, 2002
    Denver, CO
    Yes, you make sense, but unfortunately what you're suggesting isn't practical and can't be answered by anyone here. Nobody here, or anywhere else, can give you even a ballpark figure for something like a starting point for a threshold setting.

    How were the tracks recorded?
    Were they compressed during tracking?
    If so, how much?
    Was the vocalist on top of the mic while tracking, or did he/she move around a bit, resulting in fluctuating levels?
    Was the vocalist mic savvy in delivering track that is easy to place in the mix, or was he/she a rookie with poor control of vocal dynamics & mic technique?
    Are there any other factors playing into how much compression is needed, if any at all?
    And most importantly (but not finally), what kind of compressor are you using? All compressors sound and behave differently. What works on one may sound like garbage on another.

    See what I'm getting at? You're not getting any answers because there is no magic formula. The key to getting your compression settings right isn't waiting for someone to tell you what they are. The key is learning how your compressor really works and how it sounds, and developing a critical ear for evaluating how you use it to achieve a desired result.

    Now, use the time you've wasted on waiting for us yahoos to tell you what to do and just go do it. Experiment and listen until you find what you want. USE YOUR EARS!! They know more about your mix than we do.
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