Old 10-10-2019, 09:14 AM   #81
Glennbo
Human being with feelings
 
Glennbo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 4,049
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by karbomusic View Post
Once it flattens, I'd call it a limiter. I'll make the same point I made in some other thread months back...

How come words like compression and limiting seem to mean "every second of the audio" to everyone discussing, though when used properly, they often only act once in awhile and a very small amount? I could create a mix with compression and limiting all over it and you'd not know it, because all those tools have KNOBS.
Spot on. For limiting, especially on drums I like to put a drum track up until I'm getting a peak light every now and then from the loudest bits. Then I'll slap a brickwall limiter on it just to tame those few peaks.

As for compression, I use it more to accentuate transients using slow attack times than to squash things, although there have been instances where I've done stuff like triple or quadruple compress a part or vocal with the idea that each iteration is only dusting off the very loudest peaks, and by using multiple instances, there is no pumping or loss of clarity.

Just last year I sold my last hardware compressor which was an FMR Audio RNC (Really Nice Compressor), which could act like a single stage compressor, or when you pressed it's "Super Nice" button, employed triple stage compression like I was referring to.
__________________
Glennbo
Hear My Music - Click Me!!!
--
Glennbo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 09:31 AM   #82
karbomusic
Human being with feelings
 
karbomusic's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 24,890
Default

I have an RNC - I also have a PRO-VLA II, I'm about to get rid of the VLA because it works good for vocals but I have yet to get it to do anything good with anything else, it's as if it starts compressing way early and way more than it should or none at all.

My favorites are the 1176 type circuits in my UA 4-710D - those sound fantastic to my ears and are used on the way in for things like bass, vox etc. That preamp/comp is not good for clean/pristine reproduction, but it's great for "round and puffy".
__________________
If it requires a null test to find it, it is by definition minuscule.
karbomusic is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 09:44 AM   #83
DVDdoug
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
Posts: 1,952
Default

...There was an article in Recording Magazine recently about re-mixing/re-mastering the Toto recordings. They used all-analog processing (from digitized masters) and he (I don't remember who it was) was sort-of bragging about not using any compression. But, then he mentions something about "pushing" the analog electronics so I think there was some analog clipping/limiting. And of course, there probably was some compression, limiting, and maybe tape saturation, on the original recordings.



Thriller -

With my copy of Thriller (the song) I get an UBU R128 Loudness Range of 5.9 and a crest factor of 14.5 (using dpMeter4). That's an MP3 that I happen to have on my computer right now. It was ripped from a pretty-old CD so it's probably the 1st CD release... I've had it "forever".


...I don't trust crest factor. All it takes is one short-peak that might not even be perceived as "loud" to push-up the crest factor. And if you make an MP3 or cut a vinyl record the wave shape changes and you typically get a higher crest factor (some boosted peaks and some reduced peaks) without affecting the sound of the dynamics. That fools a some people into thinking the vinyl is more dynamic even if it's made from the same master.

In general, you can't define/describe dynamic range with a simple dB measurement. There are short-term microdynamics and long term dynamics so the measurements & "numbers" are just part of the story.

Last edited by DVDdoug; 10-10-2019 at 09:54 AM.
DVDdoug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 09:45 AM   #84
citizenkeith
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ohio
Posts: 741
Default

I applaud Coachz for trying different techniques. I love dynamics, and have found myself using less compression lately, so I totally get where you are coming from.

That said, the studio where I work has just racked up seven 1176 compressors, so you know my next tracking session isn't going to skimp on it.
citizenkeith is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 09:58 AM   #85
karbomusic
Human being with feelings
 
karbomusic's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 24,890
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DVDdoug View Post

In general, you can't define/describe dynamic range with a simple dB measurement. There are short-term microdynamics and long term dynamics so the measurements & "numbers" are just part of the story.
For most pop music, you can develop a very accurate idea of DR based on simple RMS/DR measurements and even better your own ears. I got so used to it, I can almost quote you what the average DR of something will be just by hearing it - point being you are technically correct but the number very often contains enough info for either good decisions or sanity confirmations.

Now... think of this, if you can't hear DR as I'm describing, why the hell are you (proverbial you) even using a compressor? I'm 100% sure I can compress my own tracking and know whether it's going to measure -12 LUFs or -18 LUFs every single time. I already knew where thriller was going to land before I measured it, because I could hear it.
__________________
If it requires a null test to find it, it is by definition minuscule.
karbomusic is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 10:18 AM   #86
drumphil
Human being with feelings
 
drumphil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 3,518
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Audio Enthusiast View Post
I agree, but that's when compressors are used as a special effect for the distinctive sound and colouring, not purely as level control. Artificial level control has a sound all of its own.
Practically, emulating the precise behavior of a compressor that only does level control with no "coloring" is basically impossible. Sure you can get much the same effect, but you'd have to do manual calculation per sample and apply that manually in automation to get the EXACT same result. I don't mean a very equivalent sounding result. I mean, to get the exact waveform a compressor gives you, through automation, requires performing the same calculations the compressor does, and then precisely replicating that with volume automation.

I'm not making a judgement about which way sound better. That's subjective. But to get the exact same output as the compressor, even a completely transparent one that just varies the volume, you have to do the same calculation it did.
drumphil is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 10:27 AM   #87
Coachz
Human being with feelings
 
Coachz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Charleston, SC USA
Posts: 7,343
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by karbomusic View Post
For most pop music, you can develop a very accurate idea of DR based on simple RMS/DR measurements and even better your own ears. I got so used to it, I can almost quote you what the average DR of something will be just by hearing it - point being you are technically correct but the number very often contains enough info for either good decisions or sanity confirmations.

Now... think of this, if you can't hear DR as I'm describing, why the hell are you (proverbial you) even using a compressor? I'm 100% sure I can compress my own tracking and know whether it's going to measure -12 LUFs or -18 LUFs every single time. I already knew where thriller was going to land before I measured it, because I could hear it.
Same here. I can just hear how crushed the dynamics are and know where it's going to fall. Like the latest albums by KISS (sonic boom and monster) are absolutely crushed to snot whereas you go back to albums like Carnival of Souls and Psycho Circus and you can hear the Marshall guitar amps as if you're in the room with them. They sound absolutely wonderful and then you switch back to their more current albums and they sound like absolute shit.
Coachz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 10:52 AM   #88
JamesPeters
Human being with feelings
 
JamesPeters's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Near a big lake
Posts: 2,721
Default

While on the subject of Thriller, if we want to assume there's no compressors used at all (I'm ok with that)...

What about the musicians that performed on the album, their level of ability, how consistently they could play an instrument and/or sing into a mic. Plus how their instruments sounded, how they were chosen for their sound and dialed in. Plus what mics and preamps were chosen (which probably ended up compressing the sound a bit).

And then, recorded to tape...and probably compressed in the process.
__________________
http://petersamplification.com
Using REAPER for Linux
JamesPeters is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 11:00 AM   #89
Coachz
Human being with feelings
 
Coachz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Charleston, SC USA
Posts: 7,343
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesPeters View Post
While on the subject of Thriller, if we want to assume there's no compressors used at all (I'm ok with that)...

What about the musicians that performed on the album, their level of ability, how consistently they could play an instrument and/or sing into a mic. Plus how their instruments sounded, how they were chosen for their sound and dialed in. Plus what mics and preamps were chosen (which probably ended up compressing the sound a bit).

And then, recorded to tape...and probably compressed in the process.
those are all valid points. Most people don't know that Toto was the main band behind the Thriller album. If you type in Toto Michael Jackson album Thriller into Google it tells quite a bit. These are definitely some first-rate musicians and arrangers.
Coachz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 11:10 AM   #90
JamesPeters
Human being with feelings
 
JamesPeters's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Near a big lake
Posts: 2,721
Default

I mean, we should all strive to a level where we don't "need" compression. The reality is that most of us will never attain that goal in our lifetime. I don't have a studio that's as awesome as what was used, engineers with that kind of expertise, performers of that calibre, co-producers to help, and so on.

Thriller is such an outlier. For the time it was amazing. Today it still holds up. I just watched the Thriller video again, and even that holds up (some fashion choices are dated but otherwise it's still impressive all around). The dance scene impresses me more now than it did in 1983. Like the music, "tight" is all I could think while watching the dancing.
__________________
http://petersamplification.com
Using REAPER for Linux
JamesPeters is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 11:11 AM   #91
Glennbo
Human being with feelings
 
Glennbo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 4,049
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesPeters View Post
While on the subject of Thriller, if we want to assume there's no compressors used at all (I'm ok with that)...

What about the musicians that performed on the album, their level of ability, how consistently they could play an instrument and/or sing into a mic. Plus how their instruments sounded, how they were chosen for their sound and dialed in. Plus what mics and preamps were chosen (which probably ended up compressing the sound a bit).

And then, recorded to tape...and probably compressed in the process.
I've always worked with guys who know how to work a mic and will go off axis when they have to belt it out to hit the note, so recording with them was always easy peasy.

But, when I ran my own commercial recording studio and had local bands coming in to record their album I had to work with folks who would eat the mic at their loudest passages, or back away from it when not belting it out.

A finely honed seasoned group of musicians and vocalists can record live one take sessions and sound great with zero post processing. And if any post processing is used, it's easy to dial in the sound you are going for because it's already in the pocket.
__________________
Glennbo
Hear My Music - Click Me!!!
--
Glennbo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 12:14 PM   #92
Judders
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 8,924
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesPeters View Post
While on the subject of Thriller, if we want to assume there's no compressors used at all (I'm ok with that)...

What about the musicians that performed on the album, their level of ability, how consistently they could play an instrument and/or sing into a mic. Plus how their instruments sounded, how they were chosen for their sound and dialed in. Plus what mics and preamps were chosen (which probably ended up compressing the sound a bit).

And then, recorded to tape...and probably compressed in the process.
Yeah, all very good points.

We're lucky that we don't have to pay for tape by the reel. If my bass playing needs levelling, I'll record it again and play better.
Judders is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 01:51 PM   #93
Glennbo
Human being with feelings
 
Glennbo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 4,049
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Judders View Post
We're lucky that we don't have to pay for tape by the reel
At the time I sold my 1" Ampex AG440B-8, a roll of Ampex Grand Master or Scotch 456 tape was costing me about $110 per roll and you got fifteen minutes of recording time on eight tracks.

https://sclkssl.ssl.hwcdn.net/63/img...205_789423.jpg

-
__________________
Glennbo
Hear My Music - Click Me!!!
--
Glennbo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 02:01 PM   #94
Judders
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 8,924
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glennbo View Post
At the time I sold my 1" Ampex AG440B-8, a roll of Ampex Grand Master or Scotch 456 tape was costing me about $110 per roll and you got fifteen minutes of recording time on eight tracks.

https://sclkssl.ssl.hwcdn.net/63/img...205_789423.jpg

-
Judders is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 03:06 PM   #95
BobF
Human being with feelings
 
BobF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 657
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glennbo View Post
At the time I sold my 1" Ampex AG440B-8, a roll of Ampex Grand Master or Scotch 456 tape was costing me about $110 per roll and you got fifteen minutes of recording time on eight tracks.

https://sclkssl.ssl.hwcdn.net/63/img...205_789423.jpg

-
Those software subscription models don't sound so bad now
__________________
--
Reaper 5 x64/Studio One 4P, Win10 Pro x64, UMC1820, FaderPort
i7-6700@3.8G/32G
BobF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 03:28 PM   #96
ChristopherT
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: South
Posts: 573
Default

I don't use compression much after mixing well over 500 albums.
I almost always use it on bass, and a little on lead vocal, sometimes snare/kick/toms/OH's / drum room mics.
But the whole thing about compression to me is all about the sound the compressor imparts - never about squashing it: its EASY to squash something.

Dynamics are king - and in my experience, it is about deciding what is dynamic, and what is not.
So it is this combo that is a secret of mixing - knowing what to not compress, and what to leave dynamic. Also, to understand what to leave for the mastering compression. (without using mix bus compression)

As far as Thriller, the use of mic pre's, tape, many transformers on the recording chain, and the mix console, mixed back to tape again - all soaking up transients - so there is some compression happening - coupled with the best players in the world who hardly ever need compressing, as their performances and playing is compressed via amazing playing techniques.

The better the player - the less need for compression to solve dynamic issues.

I do know Quincy liked to compress guitars with a certain Urei comp on Thriller - because of the sound that particular compressor imparts.

But in the real world, I get many albums where the playing dynamics are all over the place - as in they are not seasoned pro players. So I need a compressor to help solve the unevenness.

I have lots of hardware comps to use, but I also do really like MJUC compressor in the AGC mode with HQ, and use in places it on every mix. (voc + bass)
(never more than 2:1 ratio).

Going back to Thriller, I read an interview with QJ decades ago, and he was talking about the vocal on thriller, and how he double tracked the lead vocal spread over 4 tape machines - so around 90 double tracked vocals.
He stated that MJ was the only singer he had ever worked with who could keep doubling the vocal with perfection every time.

I would also imagine that there would be very little compression on MJ's voice as he was so in control.
So in context, of course QJ hardly uses any compression - its all done in the performance by the best players in the world

I view compression as an FX - an EQing device, a way to dirty things up, a way to change how the transients interplay between instruments.

Compression is also a tool that can make flat performances sound extremely dynamic, make things leap out of a mix - WITHOUT squashing the performance.

A great sculpting tool when viewed through the right lens.
ChristopherT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 05:40 PM   #97
Glennbo
Human being with feelings
 
Glennbo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 4,049
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobF View Post
Those software subscription models don't sound so bad now
It certainly made you be sure you really wanted to record a song. I kept a little Fostex four track cassette deck around for a scratch pad. If the framework for a song took shape on the Fostex, then I'd pursue it on the big machine. Bands coming in to record would buy their own reel of tape to use, and I kept some empty reels around for those times when I'd be approached to do commercials for radio.
__________________
Glennbo
Hear My Music - Click Me!!!
--
Glennbo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 06:06 PM   #98
citizenkeith
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ohio
Posts: 741
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glennbo View Post
At the time I sold my 1" Ampex AG440B-8, a roll of Ampex Grand Master or Scotch 456 tape was costing me about $110 per roll and you got fifteen minutes of recording time on eight tracks.

https://sclkssl.ssl.hwcdn.net/63/img...205_789423.jpg

-
I’m still rolling tape quite often. Millennials love it, and I like the work flow of the sessions. When people know there aren’t unlimited tracks, most tend to step up.

Then I usually dump it straight to Reaper and mix in the box. But sometimes we will mix straight to 1/4”. I did this recently, and the band released that single the following week.

Last edited by citizenkeith; 10-10-2019 at 06:26 PM.
citizenkeith is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 06:15 PM   #99
karbomusic
Human being with feelings
 
karbomusic's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 24,890
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by citizenkeith View Post
Millennials love it
Hehe, I bet especially since they don't have the scars many of us do to keep that up and running. That said, I have an unopened real of Ampex 456 and a 1980s Teac 3330s (in need of calibration) - one of these days, I'm gonna break it out and record to that tape.

It had it's own unmistakable sound, not just the tape, the entire package.
__________________
If it requires a null test to find it, it is by definition minuscule.
karbomusic is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 06:25 PM   #100
citizenkeith
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ohio
Posts: 741
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by karbomusic View Post
Hehe, I bet especially since they don't have the scars many of us do to keep that up and running. That said, I have an unopened real of Ampex 456 and a 1980s Teac 3330s (in need of calibration) - one of these days, I'm gonna break it out and record to that tape.

It had it's own unmistakable sound, not just the tape, the entire package.
I am in love with Quantegy/Ampex GP9 and Scotch/3M 996. I hate throwing around words like “warm”, which has no real meaning. But it fits here. Warm and fantastic fidelity.
citizenkeith is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 06:48 PM   #101
karbomusic
Human being with feelings
 
karbomusic's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 24,890
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by citizenkeith View Post
I am in love with Quantegy/Ampex GP9 and Scotch/3M 996. I hate throwing around words like “warm”, which has no real meaning. But it fits here. Warm and fantastic fidelity.
The last time I used mine I was carrying it on the road for some gigs. We carried full PA so I'd make a board tape when I could - it's just so damn juicy and great sounding.

Come to think of it, the band I'm in now, is 3/5ths of a different band I ran sound for 25 years ago, I recorded one of the shows with the Teac while mixing one random night, it was a great recording. I played it back once when I got home that night - the band never heard it or even know it exists - I'm going to transfer it to my PC soon and give them a real surprise.
__________________
If it requires a null test to find it, it is by definition minuscule.
karbomusic is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 07:13 PM   #102
TabbyCat
Human being with feelings
 
TabbyCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 42
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lokasenna View Post
What do you think a compressor is doing that your volume automation isn't? ... because a compressor is just an automatic fader-rider. Compressors don't kill transients unless you set them that way.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Audio Enthusiast View Post
It's flattening the waveform.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Judders View Post
So is level automation. The only difference is the speed at which it is working.
Not to be pedantic (lol), but Retro Audio Enthusiast is generally correct here. Calling a compressor an "automatic fader rider" is a little dangerous, and saying that a fader is doing the same thing isn't quite accurate, most of the time. The reason being that a fader will adjust the entire period of a waveform as a unit, symmetrically altering its overall gain. The "problem" with a compressor is that it can ignore part of the waveform (the pre-threshold ascent) and only act on the portion that exceeds said threshold, resulting in distortion (the "flattening" to which Retro Audio Enthusiast is referring). You can turn a sine into a pseudo-square much more easily than you think, even with relatively gentle settings. In fact, the speed (pitch) of the waveform is often the main liability - low "E" on a bass guitar is 41Hz, or a period of 24ms - the average attack time on the LA2A is 10ms (!), ensuring that the first several frets will always incur collateral damage. (The waveform on an electric bass is more complex than a sine, so you aren't likely to notice it, but this post is about theory).

The maximum attack time on the 1176 is 800 MICROseconds - it's probably going to induce distortion no matter how "gentle" you are with the ratio.

Again, not bringing this up to be a jerk (lol), I just feel it's important to realize that compressors and "macro" automation aren't the same thing spectrally, and it's generally impossible to distort / flatten a single-cycle waveform with a channel fader - unless you start working with ultra-speed sample-level automation curves.

"Hey well thanks for listening" lol.

[slinks back under the woodpile]
TabbyCat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 07:26 PM   #103
Stews
Human being with feelings
 
Stews's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 1,337
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coachz View Post
It's also odd to me that so many compressors are really being used for saturation. When did those two decide that they made sense in the same plugin ?
Saturation is similar to compression. The threshold is the physical limitations of the electronics or tape.

When you turn a guitar amp up it gets to a point where it can't get any louder so it just stays the same volume but gets more distorted.

Likewise when you compress something, the harmonics are raised in volume.

Compression and saturation being linked totally makes sense to me.
Stews is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 07:27 PM   #104
TabbyCat
Human being with feelings
 
TabbyCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 42
Default

Great thread. I haven't used compression for about 10 years now. I do music / sound design / mixing for ads, and despite the extremely insane turnaround times, it doesn't really help me. I should say I usually don't have to work with vocalists, so that does remove a huge argument for compression.

Dynamics processors were invented by broadcast / film people, largely to lift the signal out of the noise floor. We haven't had any noise to speak of for about 40 years...so there's that.

In terms of creative use - for transient / sustain management, a dedicated transient designer will always do better, without the fussy attack/release. Especially a digital one with look ahead.

Spectral-based limiters like Izotope's IRC make any kind of ordinary "compressor" pretty pointless on the master.

Sibilance? Duck the syllable in the Item in question by hand. Look, no de-esser, which means no collateral damage for the rest of the things around 8k

Samples libraries are so processed, with extreme epic-ness already baked into them these days, that it would be insane for me to add anything else.

Now EQ on the other hand, EQ is on everything...
TabbyCat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 09:24 PM   #105
Glennbo
Human being with feelings
 
Glennbo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 4,049
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by citizenkeith View Post
I’m still rolling tape quite often. Millennials love it, and I like the work flow of the sessions. When people know there aren’t unlimited tracks, most tend to step up.

Then I usually dump it straight to Reaper and mix in the box. But sometimes we will mix straight to 1/4”. I did this recently, and the band released that single the following week.
It was not uncommon for us to record 6 tracks on the old Ampex 1", then bounce that down to stereo so we could do another 6 tracks, and the loss with that wide tape and bulky head stack there was pretty minimal loss, but no going back once you did it, so the initial mix had to be right or you were screwed.
__________________
Glennbo
Hear My Music - Click Me!!!
--
Glennbo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 09:30 PM   #106
Glennbo
Human being with feelings
 
Glennbo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 4,049
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by karbomusic View Post
Hehe, I bet especially since they don't have the scars many of us do to keep that up and running. That said, I have an unopened real of Ampex 456 and a 1980s Teac 3330s (in need of calibration) - one of these days, I'm gonna break it out and record to that tape.

It had it's own unmistakable sound, not just the tape, the entire package.
I cut my teeth on a Teac 3340S in 1974 and then bought a Tascam 80-8 1/2" eight track a couple of years later before buying the Ampex.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Teacs.jpg (16.4 KB, 219 views)
__________________
Glennbo
Hear My Music - Click Me!!!
--
Glennbo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 10:12 PM   #107
citizenkeith
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ohio
Posts: 741
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glennbo View Post
It was not uncommon for us to record 6 tracks on the old Ampex 1", then bounce that down to stereo so we could do another 6 tracks, and the loss with that wide tape and bulky head stack there was pretty minimal loss, but no going back once you did it, so the initial mix had to be right or you were screwed.
We have an old 3M 16-track 2" that can also run 8-track 1". That track width really does help... though the old 3M machines don't have counters and are a bit rickety by later analog standards, like classic 70s MCI decks.
citizenkeith is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2019, 10:40 PM   #108
Glennbo
Human being with feelings
 
Glennbo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 4,049
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by citizenkeith View Post
We have an old 3M 16-track 2" that can also run 8-track 1". That track width really does help... though the old 3M machines don't have counters and are a bit rickety by later analog standards, like classic 70s MCI decks.
The sound you get when printing those wide lines can be described as "chunky". Sort of like the difference between putting an SM57 on a floor tom vs putting an MD421 on one. Sound jumps out at you.

You could run the meters into the red pretty far on that deck too and get a creamy saturated compression effect. See how I brought it all back on topic?

BTW, one of the two guys who sang on the clip I posted of my old band has a 2" MCI in his studio but hasn't got it hooked up yet. I was at his place a few weeks ago and he also has an Ampex 2 track mastering machine and wants to have tape available along with Logic on his Mac.
__________________
Glennbo
Hear My Music - Click Me!!!
--

Last edited by Glennbo; 10-10-2019 at 10:46 PM.
Glennbo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2019, 02:29 AM   #109
Judders
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 8,924
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TabbyCat View Post
Not to be pedantic (lol), but Retro Audio Enthusiast is generally correct here. Calling a compressor an "automatic fader rider" is a little dangerous, and saying that a fader is doing the same thing isn't quite accurate, most of the time.
I agree that the "automated fader" analogy is not really a great one, even though it is the most common one you see in educational material.

I think of compressors more as ADSR envelope control... though I guess as an analogy that isn't helpful to beginners who don't know what that is.
Judders is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2019, 03:10 AM   #110
Stews
Human being with feelings
 
Stews's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 1,337
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TabbyCat View Post
Great thread. I haven't used compression for about 10 years now. I do music / sound design / mixing for ads, and despite the extremely insane turnaround times, it doesn't really help me. I should say I usually don't have to work with vocalists, so that does remove a huge argument for compression.

Dynamics processors were invented by broadcast / film people, largely to lift the signal out of the noise floor. We haven't had any noise to speak of for about 40 years...so there's that.

In terms of creative use - for transient / sustain management, a dedicated transient designer will always do better, without the fussy attack/release. Especially a digital one with look ahead.

Spectral-based limiters like Izotope's IRC make any kind of ordinary "compressor" pretty pointless on the master.

Sibilance? Duck the syllable in the Item in question by hand. Look, no de-esser, which means no collateral damage for the rest of the things around 8k

Samples libraries are so processed, with extreme epic-ness already baked into them these days, that it would be insane for me to add anything else.

Now EQ on the other hand, EQ is on everything...
Are you recording instruments or just using synths and samplers?
Stews is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2019, 03:23 AM   #111
Stews
Human being with feelings
 
Stews's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 1,337
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Judders View Post
I agree that the "automated fader" analogy is not really a great one, even though it is the most common one you see in educational material.

I think of compressors more as ADSR envelope control... though I guess as an analogy that isn't helpful to beginners who don't know what that is.
It seems that people use that explanation because that's how it was explained to them once, even though (if they have relevant experience to be explaining it) they've almost definitely been using them for other purposes for years.

I think it's hard to explain and isn't easy to hear at first like EQ, reverb etc. where the effect is immediate and obvious.

I've seen quite a lot of intellectualising and trying to think about it theoretically from people who have only recently started using it; I think that's because it's not as obvious to hear at first.

But after years of using it, the sound becomes very familiar and it's easy to know when it's desired but still not easy to explain.
Stews is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2019, 11:22 AM   #112
TabbyCat
Human being with feelings
 
TabbyCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 42
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stews View Post
Are you recording instruments or just using synths and samplers?
Instruments every now and again, but no vocals (which are of course the main liability for dynamic consistency).

For "jumpy" notes in things like guitar / bass, I'm one of these FabFilter addicts that would prefer to use the spectral "grab" and pull down the node in question, rather than attack it with dynamics processing. If it's touchy, I'll make the node dynamic - which is about as close to traditional compression as I get.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stews View Post
But after years of using it, the sound becomes very familiar and it's easy to know when it's desired but still not easy to explain.
^^This. If I were forced to get in front of a classroom and start explaining from square one, not sure if I would have the patience!

I personally really dislike when compression is audible, especially on things like pianos...if I hear that initial hammer transient duck and then come back up, I almost get dizzy
TabbyCat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2019, 11:24 AM   #113
TabbyCat
Human being with feelings
 
TabbyCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 42
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by citizenkeith View Post
Millennials love it
My next shirt
TabbyCat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2019, 11:29 AM   #114
Lokasenna
Human being with feelings
 
Lokasenna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
Posts: 6,347
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TabbyCat View Post
Calling a compressor an "automatic fader rider" is a little dangerous, and saying that a fader is doing the same thing isn't quite accurate, most of the time. The reason being that a fader will adjust the entire period of a waveform as a unit, symmetrically altering its overall gain.

...

it's generally impossible to distort / flatten a single-cycle waveform with a channel fader - unless you start working with ultra-speed sample-level automation curves.
So you agree that they're doing the same thing, albeit at different scales in most cases.

Anything you can do with a compressor, good and bad, can be done with a fader. The reverse is obviously not true, but an appropriate* compressor could happily take on the bulk of your levelling work with no ill effects and little difference from what broad automation might accomplish, leaving you free to spend time automating the awkward parts or pushing the level up and down creatively i.e. for verses/chorus/etc.

*appropriate: Having long enough time settings to get past transients, and/or lookahead so that you can actually compress from just before the transient to just after it like someone riding a fader would.
Lokasenna is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2019, 12:23 PM   #115
davetbass
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 143
Default

What about the great live albums from the 70's was compression used on them? I'm struggling with compression in my rock recordings, so maybe I do want to hear that you don't need it, lol!
davetbass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2019, 12:43 PM   #116
TabbyCat
Human being with feelings
 
TabbyCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 42
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lokasenna View Post
So you agree that they're doing the same thing, albeit at different scales
YES - I do agree with this in principle. In retrospect my post was probably nit-picking - my concern (paranoia?) is primarily about less-confident mixers reading broad analogies, without realizing there are consequences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lokasenna View Post
*appropriate: Having long enough time settings to get past transients, and/or lookahead so that you can actually compress from just before the transient to just after it like someone riding a fader would.
...and that's everything. You can even mitigate some of the 1176's demonic grabbiness by adjusting the release appropriately (I think you can get 1000ms?) so distortion only occurs at the onset, not at every peak.

...or I could make a partial Item selection and nudge the clip gain lol. Dunno, I really prefer the latter...to each their own as they say!
TabbyCat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2019, 01:05 PM   #117
TabbyCat
Human being with feelings
 
TabbyCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 42
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by davetbass View Post
What about the great live albums from the 70's was compression used on them? I'm struggling with compression in my rock recordings, so maybe I do want to hear that you don't need it, lol!
Sure, compression was used on them like crazy. But - some things to consider:
  • Recording to tape at higher levels will automatically induce some "gentle" compression that many find pleasing, without the need for a dedicated compressor....and the 70s were all tape. They got a little bit of compression "for free", so to speak.
  • Tape has much lower headroom than the average DAW - when recording you need to be loud enough to get "out of the noise", so compressors helped with this. Digital has no noise however, with 24 bits you have 120+ dB of headroom so you can print at lower levels and just deal with it later. This eliminates the need to compress at input.
  • You can make adjustments to your recordings right on the timeline in Reaper, for example you could select just the first few notes of a chorus that are too quiet and bump them up. People working with tape didn't have the luxury of being able to "look" at the result and make edits - so compression was a brute force way to make sure everything sat it where it needed to - not too loud and not too quiet.
I mention these because while compression was used a lot in prior decades, it's quite possible to work without it these days due to the difference in tech - you shouldn't get insecure about it

Having said that, there are solid reasons why you might want to work with a compressor, for creative / artistic reasons. Some people just like the sound. For example, track the same guitar part several times and smoosh the takes together in a compressed wall of voodoo. Chris Lord-Alge was mentioned earlier in this thread, he uses it like nuts. But - this is a creative choice that achieves an intended result, not a necessity. Don't lose sleep if you're not doing it.

Put differently: "If it sounds good, it IS good." -Duke Ellington
TabbyCat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2019, 01:21 PM   #118
Stews
Human being with feelings
 
Stews's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 1,337
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TabbyCat View Post
Sure, compression was used on them like crazy. But - some things to consider:
  • Recording to tape at higher levels will automatically induce some "gentle" compression that many find pleasing, without the need for a dedicated compressor....and the 70s were all tape. They got a little bit of compression "for free", so to speak.
  • Tape has much lower headroom than the average DAW - when recording you need to be loud enough to get "out of the noise", so compressors helped with this. Digital has no noise however, with 24 bits you have 120+ dB of headroom so you can print at lower levels and just deal with it later. This eliminates the need to compress at input.
  • You can make adjustments to your recordings right on the timeline in Reaper, for example you could select just the first few notes of a chorus that are too quiet and bump them up. People working with tape didn't have the luxury of being able to "look" at the result and make edits - so compression was a brute force way to make sure everything sat it where it needed to - not too loud and not too quiet.
I mention these because while compression was used a lot in prior decades, it's quite possible to work without it these days due to the difference in tech - you shouldn't get insecure about it

Having said that, there are solid reasons why you might want to work with a compressor, for creative / artistic reasons. Some people just like the sound. For example, track the same guitar part several times and smoosh the takes together in a compressed wall of voodoo. Chris Lord-Alge was mentioned earlier in this thread, he uses it like nuts. But - this is a creative choice that achieves an intended result, not a necessity. Don't lose sleep if you're not doing it.

Put differently: "If it sounds good, it IS good." -Duke Ellington
While I don't disagree with any of the facts TabbyCat has posted here, I do have different advice and that is not to avoid compression for the reason that it's easier to avoid something than learn how to do it properly.

Don't feel like you ever have to do it for any reason if you think something sounds better without it but I think you'd be doing yourself an injustice by avoiding it just for ease.

If you like rock music, if you took 10 of your favourite sounding tracks and were able to see the mixing session, it's likely they'd all use plenty of compression - it's 100% a benefit to at least have the option of it for that genre and you'll probably find yourself using it a lot once you've got used to it.
Stews is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2019, 08:22 PM   #119
jerome_oneil
Human being with feelings
 
jerome_oneil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Seattle
Posts: 5,336
Default

I recently purged a lot of plugins. I am down to two compressors. Molot if I need something "colorful", and ReaComp/ReaXComp if I need something transparent.

I never cease to be amazed at how clean the ReaPlug compressors are.

Nice work, guys!
jerome_oneil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2019, 09:33 PM   #120
hopi
Human being with feelings
 
hopi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Right Hear
Posts: 15,104
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lokasenna View Post
ompressors don't kill transients...people do!
sorry Loka... I couldn't stop myelf... I'll try to do better next time
__________________
...should be fixed for the next build... http://tinyurl.com/cr7o7yl
https://soundcloud.com/hopikiva/angel-rain
hopi is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:23 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.