HELP with compression

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by Muzicmn969, Jun 27, 2005.

  1. Muzicmn969

    Muzicmn969 Guest

    Hi guys,

    Finally found a decent forum for recording, have spent hours reading all the tips, thanks

    My problem is probably an elementary one that i was always too embarassed to ask but here goes anyway. I currently have a very extensive home project studio, Mackie 32x8 about 20 or so sound mods, outboard gear etc... Still with all this equipment I am not sure how to get that heavily compressed sound that you would get in a pro studio. An engineer told me once that all i had to do was compress. Well, my question is, where in line do you put the compressor?? do you compress ALL signals coming into the board, out of the board going to my drives? and if the latter is correct i assume that most studios will only monitor the outboard signals instead of the incoming signals. and finally is there a recommended setting for a good starting point in compressing EVERYTHING?

    I appreciate any help in imporving my sound, oh yeah one more thing, do you guys have a compressor on all 8 subs or is it in stereo... i feel so lost


  2. axel

    axel Guest

    hi musicmn, welcome to RO

    this is a rather complex issue, but i will try to get some basics going, first, there are many ways how to route a compressor, depending on what you want to achieve,

    say you just want to fatten up your drums, then it's a good idea to route the compressor through a bus and asign all drum mics to the bus where the comp. sits. or at least kick, snare, toms... you can obviously asign any other sound going through your board into the compression bus you like, if you keep in mind that it will have the same compression settings / caracter as the drums. (mono compr. or stereo where you can use both channels individuel as mono)

    or if you have more than one compr. you can set up two or three... buses with different compr. and asign to say one bus the drums and to the other bus(es) bass and say guitar...

    or if you have multiple (many) compressors you can route them direct to all the according channels directly (insert points)... you want to compress... (mono compr. or stereo where you can use both channels individuel as mono)

    or you can route the comp. on the end into the stereo out summ to your recording device (here you should choose a really good very transparent sounding comp. imho) to apply some overall compression to the signal and "glue" everything together. (stereo comp. or 2x mono with mirror settings)

    or with multiple comps route one into the "drum bus" and one into the stero summ, that way you can fatten your drums and "glue" the whole mix together at the same time...

    that's just a very few simple examples of the posibilities how to route a comp into the signal chain.

    about settings a good rule of thumb is to start "low and slow" your ears will tell... best is to experiment as each material and situation is different...

    ok, i know that this is VERY simplistic, but if you can specify a little more what sounds you whant to compress or what you want to achieve... (e.g. what kind of compressor do you have, does it have a sidechain, etc. etc.) then i can give a more specific answer...

    hope it helps a little.
  3. Muzicmn969

    Muzicmn969 Guest

    thanks for the reply. Simple but informative. As far as equipment i have the following:

    Mackie 32x8
    Mackie HR824 monitors
    2-Alesis 3630
    Behringer Multicom pro
    Behringer Autocom
    Ibanez CP200 Compressor/Limitor
    2-Presonus Bluemax compressors
    about 20 sound modules, you know the regular stuff, TR-Rack, Orbit, Planet Phatt, Triton Rack, etc... (even an MT32, lol)
    and a buttload of VST synths and effects
    Although a drummer by trade all of the music i now record is done via Midi so no soundproof room needed, and i have the occasional vocal recording in a whisperoom with a CAD E-300.

    My problem is that my music sounds too alive. I can never seem to get that tight professional studio coimpression. I was told to compress everything to get that tight feel. Since i am not doing any live recording it should be simple but my results are not very impressive. I was planning on patching my comps into all 8 of my sub inserts and only montor the output of that, is that the way most studios do it or do they have a compressor inserted into each and every track??

    Although my equipment isnt high end i believe i have enough to get that tight sound but always seem to come up empty handed.

    thanks again

  4. axel

    axel Guest

    hi ricky,
    to start off, as i already mentioned there isn't any that's how all / or most studios doing it, as the way you route compression really depends on the application, material you record, and personel taste / preferences...

    however, in your case that's what i would do to start off...

    route all your compressors into your buses on the mackie, set them to "zero" start with say routing your kick drum track through the first one and listen to it... start to 'DIAL" the settings from "low and slow" slowly up and listen how the kick behaves, if you set the attack and release times long e.g., you will create slowly a 'pumping' sound, if you like it, use this comp for all drum sounds, take the next sound say your bass or synth or whatever route it to bus 2, next compressor and do the same with that one... and so on, after you say route the kick, snare, toms to bus1 (your "drum compressor") adjust the compression settings to your like... remember that all sounds will react like a bunch of chemicals together so you have to listen to the 'WHOLE PICTURE" and adjust accordingly, the more sounds you will add...

    if you discover that for example you only like the sound of the Kick, but not of the snare and tom then pull the compr. out of the bus route, and you can plug the comp direct into the insert points of the kick drum track on your mackie, that way you will free up a bus for another use, e.g. or if you like two sounds compressed say snare and kick, but you feel that one needs a slightly different setting, then insert one compr. channel say from the 3630 into the snare drum track and the other into the kick track and tweak them individuel... (you see the possibilities are nearly endless, and all of them will give you a different result!)

    start with that step by step, if you are not satisfied then pull one compr. out and route him to the stereo out sum before your recording device... (sorry i don't know your devices sonically - only the 3630 and i think it's not so great for a all over compression, but that's just my 2cents!, so you have to try which one works best at this position) and try to apply some ALL OVER compression to the whole mix...

    always start "low and slow" with the compression settings... and listen... your ears are the ONLY MEASURE...

    i hope it will bring you step by step to the sound you are looking for!

    experiment around... that is the best advice i can give you, i am not into giving you numbers of settings or the like as i believe it doesn't make any real sence, your ears are the judge... and every material / situation and sonic taste is different, spend a few hours / days trying different settings and routings and so on...
    to create your personal sound YOU like...


    hugggh... did i actually made sense??
  5. Muzicmn969

    Muzicmn969 Guest

    yes, you made lots of sense,

    and i really appreciate your efforts. Reading your response opened my eyes to a whole bunch of ideas. Lets see if i can get them into practice

    Thanks again

  6. axel

    axel Guest

    :D Hi Ricky, let me know how you gettin' on with it, if you have any more specific questions and a certain point, don't hesitate to ask again... :D

Share This Page