Searching, Slicing, and Squashing?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by Alanfc, Apr 25, 2003.

  1. Alanfc

    Alanfc Guest

    RE: Frequencies and Compression

    On a per/song basis(not my overall sound):

    After a few hours/days/weeks with my EQ, once I've found the frequencies my individual instruments are happy in, and I somehow get them to have their own space; do I need to - or would I Want to, do the following: >>>>> -
    Compress each instrument an appropriate amount to make it really distinct?
    Or is that a totally weird idea, no reason to do that if I've already EQ'd....

    Because, I was reading something by a big buy that talked about the "compressors for each instrument", like every single instrument just went through its own compressor no matter what. That made me wonder if he was compressing every instrument according to its frequency and its character. Which led me back to wondering about EQ..

    If you get the EQ right for each instrument will it be helped by just a little compression to make it stand out (without more volume)?

    I'm not looking for any kind of "sound" but there have been a few bands I've heard in the last couple years who's instruments you can hear perfectly/distinctly, while they keep the levels up high for each instrument. And no one is lost. I want to do That....

    Thanks for any opinions...
  2. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    From a previous post by Kurt Foster:
    " can be a baaaaad thing to over compress the overall mix. That is why we like to compress a little on each track, 2 or 3 dB @ 2 to 1 ratio, when we record, and then perhaps a little more, 2 or 3 dB at mix. Then we might add just a touch more, 2 or 3 dB on the 2-bus (mix bus) to finish off the whole process. This will slowly and gently bring the "real world" dynamics (120+ db) of your instruments and vocals into the dynamic range of recorded music at 16 bit 44.1. (90 dB)". Kurt Foster

    :) Alan, this post of Kurt's is one of the most straight forward explanations I have seen.

    You might find that applying this type of mild compression in your process, will cause you to use even less EQ track for track, giving you the same results.

    You can see by Kurt's post, there is as much as 9db combining all the mild compression. There are EQ adjustments to allow distinction between instruments that share common fundamental frequency, but this gradual control of dynamics may help to use less EQ as the mix builds and combined tracks compete for space.

    Hope this helps,
  3. Alanfc

    Alanfc Guest

    this is great to hear. I'm glad you really read what I was asking- guys on other boards I posted on, thought I was just another newbie looking for compressor settings like for an easy fix...

    Anyway, what I'm translating you& Rick's ideas are into this:

    -I can use little or no EQ unless I want to really change my sounds. Assuming I'm happy with the sound of the raw input of my instruments (which I usually am-I work very hard on the front end), less EQ means less alteration of the character of my sound.
    -just this little bit of compression on each instrument won't sound too squashed and I won't be sounding like I'm imitating the flavor-of-the- month off of rock radio.

    One last thing-I'm starting to really feel the controls on this compressor but one thing stumps me. A statement like "compress a little on each track, 2 or 3 dB @ 2 to 1 ratio". I understand the ratio business but 'compress by' eludes me. Is this bringing the threshold down to -2, -3, etc? I know that when I mess with the compressor I have that -2 or -3 will never come close to triggering the compressor. I think I'm missing something really obvious here. Let me know if you can .

    Thanks again for the help
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    What I meant by that was as you apply compression, the meter on the compressor will show the amount of gain reduction. So at 2 to 1 ratio, adjust the threshold until you see two or three dB of gain reduction... Kurt
  5. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    :) This is just an alignment difference if your compressor does not trigger at a given setting. You can confirm the accuracy with a known level steady 1k tone. IOW, on the peaks, your not seeing action at a specified dial setting only means the input may not be driven to spec, which can be difficult to determine with dynamic content.

    You can solve this by increasing the level of the track prior to the compressor, or by reducing the threshold till the compressor reduces the peaks by 3db, despite what the dial say's, then of course, gain is restored with the output control.

    Increasing the level at the main gain stage is preferred. Your pre-amp, or trim should allow you to do this with sufficient headroom.

    The threshold control is a calibrated input control, it must be aligned to the proper input level to be accurate at the markings, any subsequent change in the input level, like at the pre, will change the threshold with respect to the markings. It is not critical, however for signal preservation, too many inaccuracy's could add up.

  6. Alanfc

    Alanfc Guest

    Thanks alot/this now makes perfect sense

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