July 6, 2007

Open Thread: Compression Discussion...

by Chris Randall

One reader wrote me expressing a wish to have a discussion viz. the various plugin compressors available. Compression is one of those topics that can rapidly get over the head of someone new to recording, as it is an effect you learn about later rather than sooner, and more's the shame, as compression is as much a part of any recording of reasonable quality as is EQ, 'verb, and delay. If you have good recording techniques, you can even take EQ and 'verb out of that equation.

So, open thread topic: what's your favorite NATIVE compressor and why? Personally, I use the Waves SSL pack and the URS products; I've been hearing good things about the Waves API pack, but for the money you could damned near buy a 2500, which would be, IMO, a better purchase. One of these days I'll buy me a Duende, I suppose, but until then I'm in native land, so that's where we'll keep our discussion.



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Jul.06.2007 @ 12:01 PM
The db audioware compressors are amazing sounding. Very Solid and Clean sounding. I have all the UAD compressors at my disposal, and while
they sound great, I still use my Quantum fx compressors when I want that sound. They almost give an analog sound, and I don't mean warm either because they are certainly not that, but sort of like you bounced the signal in and out of the converters once. Well worth checking out if you've never heard them.

Jul.06.2007 @ 12:17 PM
Take this with the appropriate grain of salt as I'm still learning about compressor usage. But for bread & butter I too use the Sonar-bundled Sonitus which is, as near as I can tell, the same as when it was first purchased by Cake, though now it probably processes at 64bit for whatever that's worth.

For character, digital fish are hard to beat, and there's some smartelectronix & freebies that're fun to explore. I've been using this free compressor: link [www.jeroenbreebrt.co...]">link [www.jeroenbreebrt.co...] a lot. The guy seems to know what he's doing and it sounds very clear. The VintageChannel/GAC-1 dual-compressors is also nice, but like VintageWarmer (also a go-to) way easy to over-do and best used in moderation.


Jul.06.2007 @ 12:32 PM
Wave Arts definitely takes the cake for punchiest native compression out there. Their TrackPlug has actually made my drum tracks kick me in the teeth before. Highly recommended.

Jul.06.2007 @ 1:05 PM
I just mastered a live Jazz album and i used peaks Mastering suite with squeez 5 compressor. I think it works great for mastering.

Jul.06.2007 @ 1:39 PM
beauty pill
When is someone going to do a software modelling of the Spectra Sonic 610? Whoever does it first will make a mint. Hint, hint, Audio Damage...

Coolest parallel compressor ever. Insane.

The original company is even reissuing the hardware after all these years.

link [www.spectrasoni10.co...]">link [www.spectrasoni10.co...]

--- Chad


Jul.06.2007 @ 2:27 PM
I don't use any compression. It is not that I don't like compression, but compression is something best left to the professionals. Whenever I download random non-pro people's music online, I would say too much compression is the most common problem. Getting good sounding compression is very difficult, and most people seem to way way over do it.

For what it is worth, I sequence each type of sound as a seperate track (kick drum a seperate track... high hat a seperate track... etc.), and thus I am able to set the levels exactly how I want it for each individual sound. That eliminates the need for compression, for the most part.

But speaking of compression... I was wondering if anyone used T-RackS for mastering their final stereo mix? Does anyone have any opinions on T-RackS?


Jul.06.2007 @ 2:58 PM
Wade Alin
I've used t-racks as a rather tremendous limiter . . i've thrown it on with absolutely no intention of leaving it there only to have bands fall in love with the sound. it's loud as fuck. it makes everything sound pop, i wouldn't hesitate to turn in a few "hot" producers for using it. if you close your eyes and maybe gouge out an ear or two, it sounds like a manley. I can't really articulate past that, all depends on what you like. Or what you don't like.

As far as my native faves, the Waves SSL stuff, URS, and I'll bust out a Renaissance, Blockfish, or AD Crush every now and again.



Jul.06.2007 @ 3:41 PM
Chris Randall
I agree with what Wade said. T-Racks is a toy for Podcast producers and nothing more.

But that said, Rex, you really should experiment with at least putting a comp on the drum buss; it can really glue things together. Just put whatever on and use its drumbuss preset, and twiddle the knobs until it all settles in. Personally, I can't really see a mix being called such without at least drumbuss and 2-buss compression. It's just a bunch of sounds running at the same time without that.



Jul.06.2007 @ 4:38 PM
Yeah, I agree with Chris. It's an important effect, just as important as the distortion with electric guitar -- which is a form of really rudimentary compression on itself. I never leave home without some kind of compression on drums, even when doing calm stuff (it's all relative, anyway).

Especially since the kind of music I tend to listen is supposed to be fatiguing to your ears and create as much mayhem as possible as loudly as possible. The goal is to make your ears bleed. I'd like to see the Metal album that was produced without compression and would sound like anything else but tired and sloppy.


Jul.06.2007 @ 5:33 PM
I third the Blockfish endorsement. I used URS plugs at my last studio, but didn't think they justified the cost over the built-in Logic plug-ins. Generally, I try to compress on input with my hardware (Gyraf 1176) when possible.

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