Set the starter vocal compression settings. However, if you then increase the attack time, you'll find that some of the drum transient begins to sneak past the compressor before its gain reduction clamps down, effectively increasing the level difference between the transient and the rest of the snare sound. What you need to realise, though, is that your mix is probably trying to tell you that simple compression is not what you're looking for. With the electric guitar example, you might start off with a fairly low ratio (maybe 2:1) and then set the threshold so that gain‑reduction happens for all but the quietest notes. The simplest approach is to have a single control that makes the compressor react to more of the signal the more you twist the dial: at the minimum setting, the signal remains uncompressed; as you turn the control up, only the signal peaks are reduced in level; and as it reaches the maximum setting, all but the softest signals are sat on. With the threshold in roughly the right place, you could then turn back to the ratio control and tweak it one way or the other to achieve your static fader level. On the other hand, if you partner your fast attack with a slower release, the gain‑reduction will reset very little during the drum hit itself, instead resetting itself mostly between the hits, so the balance between the transient and sustain phases of the drum will remain pretty much unchanged. It’s important to have an understanding of what you are trying to achieve with compression. If you try to keep your vox parts up-front and audible in a mix entirely with compression, they'll usually sound over‑processed, and it's a better tactic to keep the compression within musical‑sounding limits before dealing with fine, moment‑to‑moment level tweaks manually, by moving the vocal fader during the mix. That's a lot of explanation for only two controls, but I make no apologies for that, because they can actually deal with a lot of compression tasks on their own. Antress Painkiller takes the approach of the famous Teletronix LA2A compressor: you turn up the Peak Reduction knob to increase the amount of compression. All the main sequencers now have good fader automation systems, allowing you to edit and refine fader moves until they sound exactly right, so if you're after the best vocal intelligibility possible, you should make a point of learning how these facilities work in your own software. First Look: Pro Tools | Carbon. The reason why the compressor in our example isn't doing the job it's being asked to do is that it's reacting too fast to changes in the signal level. It can be difficult reading about compression without hearing what it does. Gain‑reduction displays are typically in the form of VU‑style moving‑coil meters or LED bargraphs, and sometimes the compressor's normal level‑meter can be switched to show gain‑reduction instead. The third time has the same settings, except the Release is at its fastest. Now insert your chosen compressor into the channel in question, and if there are presets available, select something likely‑looking — again, there's no need to give it too much thought for now, just go with your gut. That way you can set the threshold just above the level of the majority of the bass part, and it will then kick in at full force only when the over-zealous slap notes hit.Setting a compression threshold above the majority of the note peaks allows you to compress just the rogue slap note, but if you used a normal moderate compression ratio (as in this waveform envelope) you wouldn't be able to contain the spike as well as you might like. Just switch to a new compressor or preset and have another crack. To see how the compression ratio control can work, let's take the example of a slap bass part, the waveform envelope of which might appear as shown here. The compressor does this by turning down (or 'compressing') the louder signals so that they match the quieter signals more closely — and all it needs from you is an indication of which signals you think are too loud. You can do so by turning up the input and setting the fastest release time. No single fader‑setting gives a good balance because the difference between the highest and lowest signal levels (the 'dynamic range') is too large.Antress Painkiller takes the approach of the famous Teletronix LA2A compressor: you turn up the Peak Reduction knob to increase the amount of compression. With a fater release, the drums—particularly the snare—sound louder and significantly more crushed. The best solution is to try both ways and choose the one that best resolves the balance. Here you can see the transient‑suppressing effect of very short attack and release times. Here you can see some fairly typical level automation for the lead‑vocal phrase featured in the audio files that accompany this article on the SOS site. These three compressors (Digital Fishphones' Blockfish and Tin Brooke Tales' TLS 2095 LA and TLS 3127 LEA) all sound quite different even for similar amounts of gain reduction — and you don't need to know why this is to take advantage of it. To help keep the vocals sounding natural, he sets the attack at its slowest and the release at its fastest. Up to this point, we've been dealing with the compression controls that are the easiest to get a handle on, but when it comes to a compressor's Attack Time and Release Time parameters, a lot of newcomers quickly become confused. Both terms make sense, because you get more compression (more reduction of peak levels) as you crank the knob. You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address. Set the attack time too fast and the compressor will respond quickly to the fleeting initial drum transient, reducing the gain swiftly. On the first two, the 1176 compressor is providing a pretty significant amount of gain reduction (up to -10dB), but the release is relatively slow (about 9 o’clock). Re: Why does Liam Gallagher's vocals sound shit? Once you know this is a danger, it's not that tricky to avoid, but if you're not listening for it, it's easy to miss while you're concentrating on balance issues. If you're wondering what order to put the different processors in, though, the answer isn't quite as clear. This is quite common in commercial practice, and lets you dedicate each specific compressor to a different task. Getting precisely the results you want from compressors can often be the key to a tight, modern-sounding mix. And once you get some practice working with all the extra controls, it actually ends up being quicker and easier to set them up from scratch anyway. An article about compression isn't the best place to go into all the other processes you might use at mixdown, but here's one example to demonstrate what I'm talking about. On the other hand, although you may find an appropriate balance through heavy compression, you could find that the processing isn't doing nice things to the instrument's sound. In the article for Episode 2, we looked at the effect of adjusting attack time. Example 3: Here’s a conga part with a UAD 1176 LN plug-in on it. To start with, pile on a fair dollop of compression using the Threshold control, so that the gain‑reduction meter (usually calibrated in decibels) shows at least 6dB of compression occurring on signal peaks. Then, of course, there are the Ratio buttons. You want your compressor to act more gently on signals overshooting the threshold level, so that you can set the threshold just above the level of the softest notes and then subtly squeeze the whole dynamic range down to a more manageable size. In this design, there's a fixed signal level, above which the compressor will turn the volume down. We’ll use the UAD 1176 LN plug-in for the following examples. Occasionally, he says, he’ll slow down the release and speed up the attack. Ratio: 1.5:1–2:1 Let's say that we're mixing a song where a strummed acoustic guitar has a nice, natural sustain that works really well when it's at the right level in the mix, but you find that you have to turn the fader down whenever the player digs in more during your song's choruses. So let's introduce some of the more advanced controls and look at how each can be used to adapt the compressor to specific tasks. When we set up the attack time above 500ms you can feel the vocal is like spitting out the words. Having said that, there are a few 'one‑knob' compressor designs with only a single Compression control. However, it’s also quite versatile, and in this excerpt, you’ll see how Greg Wells sets it for tracking vocals. However, if the ratio is set too high, as in this bottom waveform envelope, the compression will iron out the part's internal performance dynamics and render it unmusical. Commercial expectations for the audibility of lyrics are very high, and compression, no matter how expertly set up, is simply not an intelligent enough tool to keep a lead vocal exactly where you want it throughout most mixes. Increase the ratio to stamp on the peaks more firmly.In contrast to the slap‑bass example, lower ratios tend to be better for instruments which have good musical dynamics, but simply have too wide a dynamic range. Release Time. It's much better to address this problem with EQ first. Few things confuse home‑studio owners more when mixing than compression. You'll be able to tell when you're doing the right things with the EQ when it starts getting easier to find a suitable fader level for the bass, and you might, again, discover that you don't need any compression at all. Before I move on, let's quickly recap what we've covered so far. Because the effects of gentle compression can be subtle, the visual feedback from the meter can be a great aid in setting up the controls. You’ve probably read about crushing a source with the “all buttons in” setting, but did you know you can get a heavily compressed sound even with the ratio at its lowest setting of 4:1? The danger is that if you turn it up too high, you'll iron out the important performance dynamics that make the part sound musical, leaving it a bit flat and lifeless — so try to turn up the Ratio control only as much as is required to get the balancing job done.Let's assume that the waveform envelope at the top represents such a part, then compressing with a low ratio can be used to gently squeeze the dynamic range such that it will maintain its position in the mix balance. If you then set the release time very fast, the gain reduction will also reset very rapidly — well before the drum sound has finished, such that the lower‑level tail of the drum hit won't be compressed as much. Why do we need all the other controls are preserved while still taming the loudest transients determines how much compressor! Signal level into orbit before you 've brought about the gain‑reduction you require different article anything put... 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