Newbie needs compressor tips

Discussion in 'Compressors / Limiters (analog)' started by Slavebell, Jun 11, 2006.

  1. Slavebell

    Slavebell Guest

    Hay people im a newbie in mixing so i need your help with compressing. I readed alot of books, and they have nice explanations how to eq, or use deley... but with compressors its a diferent story, they just say put comp. here and there and thats it, maybe they explain whot is ratio and all that but its still doesent mean nothing to me when i dont know how to use it...
    Can someone give me some compressor tips.. for exmp. how to compress drums (kick,snare,hats in hiphop). Yeah i know it can be explained that eazy but i need some tips how to set up compressor just to get me started... and when (if) ull give me some tips i would like to explain it to me why to put "this" to exmp. 2:1 or "that" to 4:1...
    Thank you.

    P.S. This is great forum and im very happy i found it, and sorry for my bad eng.
  2. saemskin

    saemskin Active Member

    Nov 6, 2005
    Read these:
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    (Dead Link Removed)

    When you are reading and then later trying, know in your head at all times there is no "should be compressed this way". There is no set way to do anything. General guidlines are great to get you started, but in the end.... either you're a preset monkey or you learn to use your ears and turn the knobs until it sounds right.

    First you need to understand what each knob does, and then most importantly, how it affects the source material.

    When that happens you need to sit your ass in that chair and DO IT! That is where you do all your learning. We can sit here are post back and forth all day long, but its up to you to get it done my friend.
    Granted, there are some great articles on compression with general setting throuwn in, like this one
    Which is the most practical essay on compression I've read.

    Now, go and do. Report back your success!
  3. saemskin

    saemskin Active Member

    Nov 6, 2005
    stop reading this post and get to compressing!
  4. chrispick

    chrispick Guest

    Here's a good introductory description of audio level compression:
  5. Slavebell

    Slavebell Guest

    Yeah i dont wonna use presets (be preset i wonna learn how to use it. Thank you for quick reply.
    One more newbie question... i know all things dont have to be compressed so how do u know whot needs to be compressed? and why not just turn channel volume up?
  6. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    First do a search of these forum with the seach function and the word "compression" then do a search of the web with the same word. After you have done all your "homework" and you still have questions, that can be answered, then come back to this forum and I and most others will be happy to answer your specific questions. What you are asking (please reread your quoted post) is impossible to answer in a simple one paragraph answer and would involve a whole book on recording music.

    <It might also make your post easier to read if you put in the proper punctuations >

  7. chrispick

    chrispick Guest

    Herein might be your confusion: Compressors are used to keep a track from getting too loud, not make the track louder. That's why they were invented, in fact.

    Think of a compressor as a volume's ceiling. It can be a ceiling made of concrete, stopping any volume from getting higher. Or it can be a ceiling made of spongy stuff, allowing a little more leeway. The higher the ratio, the harder the ceiling. The higher the threshold, the higher the ceiling.

    Got it?

    So, why do people use compressors to make tracks sound louder? Or punchier? Or thicker? Or more sustained?

    It's because compressors usually have an additional amplification function: a gain stage that precedes the compressing function.

    For example: You set the compressor so that it makes the loud parts of a sound wave quieter (think volume ceiling). Then, you turn up the gain stage, making the quieter parts of the sound wave louder while keeping the loud parts quieter (same volume ceiling).

    Doing this reduces dynamic range, doesn't it? The range between the quiet parts and the loud parts has been minimized. You've lowered the volume ceiling and raised the volume floor, so to speak. This dynamic reduction can make a track sound fuller or more sustained.

    The effect is the track is perceived as being louder when it really isn't (at least not by any great amount).

    Moreover, many compressors introduce distortion when dynamic reduction occurs -- you're smashing sound, after all. That distortion can actually sound good to your ear. Most of the heavy drum sounds you've heard on records are due to compression and compression distortion.

    Help any?
  8. Slavebell

    Slavebell Guest

    yes thank you. I thought compressors primary function is to make sound louder.
  9. dementedchord

    dementedchord Well-Known Member

    May 11, 2006
    minor point???

    hey chris one small?thing the gain is generally inthe make-up fashion after the compression to restore the level... after the range is diminished....
  10. chrispick

    chrispick Guest

    Re: minor point???

    I'm sorry. You are correct.
  11. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    In a basic sense, you are somewhat correct in the fact that compressors/limiters can be used to make softer things louder and louder things softer. They can also be manipulated to make things seem " apparently louder" which means that it is not actually louder but may be perceived as being louder. That is generally accomplished by speeding up the release time of the compressor/limiter. A compressor can compress volume levels while still allowing dynamics to be perceived by slowing down the attack time which allows the peaks to pass through while crunching the meat of the signal into submission. What people frequently don't understand or the ratios of the compression/limiting curves. A ratio of 4:1 means that for a dynamic range of 20 DB, the output will only have a dynamic range of 5 DB. With a ratio of 10:1 and an input dynamic range of 20 DB the output will only vary by theoretically only 1/2 DB. So we should give you a clue that the lower ratios such as 4: 1 or better for overall compression of the signal as opposed to limiting the signal with a ratio of 10: 1.

    Since all of these controls interact with one another, a variety of characteristics can be customized for the sound that you want to process. How do you know what to do? It requires experimentation and experience with each and every compressor/limiter as they all have their own particular characteristics sound.

    It even goes a step further of whether the device utilizes a peak detector or an RMS detector. Whether it uses an optical device for gain reduction, a field effect transistor or a voltage controlled amplifier for gain reduction. Those latter three types all produce different characteristic sounding dynamics control. Which one is the right one? All are as there is no right one but only the one you want that particular sound of. Others even have variable programed release circuitry that varies with the input source. An awful lot to be concerned with when choosing a compressor/limiter for your specific application purposes. Many of us have all of the different types I have mentioned at our disposal because they are all so different.

    In goes the big sound out goes the small sound
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  12. chrispick

    chrispick Guest

    That's what I meant to convey: Perceived loudness as opposed to actual dB increase. Perhaps I was unclear? I tried to word things in a digestible "primer" language, erring on a broad understanding of comps rather than the specific, given my assumption of the posters knowledge level.
  13. twon

    twon Guest

    read shotguns post on compression in the recording studio forum.
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