Old 08-24-2015, 06:30 AM   #1
insub
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Default Melda MCompressor

I don't know why, but I always seem to have a really hard time dialing in usable settings with this compressor.

Is there any advantage to using this plugin vs ReaComp?
And if so, do you have any tips?
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Old 08-29-2015, 10:02 AM   #2
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Hello insub,
In my experience both ReaComp and mComp seem to be pretty clean. I have used both for similar duties with similar results. That said, they both have their eccentricities. Once you start to understand and exploit all of their different functions the differences become pretty apparent. As far as tips and tricks it might be more helpful to know what you are trying to compress, or your goals for a specific instrument, then I could provide a few responses detailing which of the two compressors I might choose and how I would use said compressor. Look forward to hearing back from you.

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Old 08-29-2015, 08:46 PM   #3
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Thanks, Joshua. I don't have any specifics in mind at the moment. I haven't had much time to investigate/experiment since I posted this topic. Recently I've been using an instance of MMultiAnalyser at the start and end of my effects chain to better understand how my compression affects the actual waveform. It's been quite enlightening especially in regards to understanding the attack and release settings.

Sonically, ReaComp and MCompressor seem transparent enough to make them interchangeable. I have not checked to see if one or the other is more CPU intensive for one. Which would probably be a main decider for me in the absence of any other advantage.

Back to MCompressor though... I feel like I cannot tell that it is working until the threshold or ratio have gone too far and noticeable pumping/breathing have begun. Then I dial it back, but when I A/B to the unprocessed signal it always sounds dull and lifeless. If I determine settings with another compressor like GComp (which I feel like can be dialed in very quickly) and then transfer those settings to MCompressor then the results are usually satisfactory.

I'm sure that most of my situation stems from a hobbyist understanding of compression in general.

The main difference I notice with the available settings of MCompressor is the RMS setting which is not explained very well with no metric for comparison by the Help file. I assume it is similar to GComp's Peak/RMS dial which lets you vary the detection algorithm. So, that increasing the RMS value would give you more of an Opto-compresssor behavior? But, there is no frame of reference such as x-setting will behave more like an LA2A, etc. *EDIT* I see now that ReaComp does have this setting which is explained somewhat vaguely in this wiki.

Mostly, I feel really comfortable with using ReaComp for most everything. So, if you could enlighten me on when and why you choose MCompressor over ReaComp then I'd be really grateful.

I'm trying to stop using GComp because MMultiAnalyser indicates that there is some latency that is not being corrected by REAPER. The same thing happens when using any predelay amount in ReaComp too. I don't know how accurate MMultiAnalyser is in this regard and maybe it doesn't even matter, because I cannot tell that the signal is delayed by ear. The delays are in the 10's of ms I believe or less.
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Last edited by insub; 08-29-2015 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 08-29-2015, 10:42 PM   #4
Bristol Posse
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Quote:
Originally Posted by insub View Post

Mostly, I feel really comfortable with using ReaComp for most everything. So, if you could enlighten me on when and why you choose MCompressor over ReaComp then I'd be really grateful.
I don't know anything about how either of these compressors sound because I don't use them. But for me the best way to get a feel for when to use which one is to use and abuse the holy crap out of a compressor on a bunch of different things.

Crank the settings to hear what this thing does to the sound. Distort and mangle the sound, dial it back, dial it up, try it on something else and see what it does. Don't try to make it sound like another compressor. Find out what this compressor sounds like under all kinds of conditions.

Really until you do this, compressor choice is just throwing mud at a wall and seeing what sticks and never knowing if or why it works.

there are a lot of things like this
When do you use a Strat instead of a Les Paul? when you need the sound of a Strat.
Why use a female backing singer instead of a male? because you want that sound.

When do you use compressor x? When you want the sound and impact of compressor X.

How do you know this? You've spent a ton of time messing with these things.


I don't think there's really any other way than time and experience. Trying to do it from "book knowledge" is like trying to learn to swim without ever getting into the water. All that theory won't let you know how it feels to float.

YMMV and good luck.

Last edited by Bristol Posse; 08-29-2015 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 08-30-2015, 04:11 AM   #5
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I think if you listen to the podcast I recommended it will help a lot. And the first thing he says is the type of compressor doesn't matter as long as it has the basic set of controls...

http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=165708
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Old 08-30-2015, 01:16 PM   #6
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Hi insub,

Ok, when and why for me. In the interest of brevity and not doing more harm than good: I have only listed the times when I would specifically choose one vs the other do to features unique to that compressor. In instances where either compressor could work for the task, it's usually whichever I thought of or saw in the menu first. Or, did I have captain crunch or coco puffs for breakfast.

mComp:
custom compression curves. Think upwards + downwards compression
I want to fiddle with gain staging in and out of the compressor
If I want to setup and quickly compare presets A/B (yes you can do this in both but it is quicker in mComp imo)
If I want vector based preset morphing. I use this when there are 2 or more presets that seem to almost work and I suspect the answer lies somewhere between 2 or 4 extremes.
Anytime I need to look at a non grey UI (for instance staring at a hot pink compressor makes me feel better about this pan flute.....

ReaComp:
Want a Feedback style compressor with auto gain makeup which is fairly clean and not a hardware model.
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Old 08-30-2015, 01:51 PM   #7
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The RMS setting is preset tough to explain, understand, and apply effectively, but it can be extremely powerful in dialing in just the action you want. Use lookahead/pre-comp with it and it becomes even more powerful.

To an extent you can think of the RMS window as how long the signal has to stay above the threshold before the compression kicks in, and also how long it takes for it to cut back after it drops back under. That sounds redundant to attack and release, and to an extent it is. It can be used very much like a combined attack and release control. If you use all three together, you have a massive amount of control over the speed of the compressor.

If you adjust all three of these parameters to 0, the gain reduction amount for this given sample is completely dependent on the level of this given sample. This is a waveshaper and extreme ratios will sound like distortion. Infinity gives you a hard clipper and the knee control allows you to adjust the softness.

As you turn up any of these controls, it starts to get a sort of memory. The gain reduction now has more and more to do with what happened before now. It is no longer responding on a sample-to-sample basis, and distortion starts to sound more like compression.

This means that some peaks will get through with less gain reduction than they might "deserve", and with very long RMS windows, you are no longer making adjustments on a note-by-note envelope basis, but much more a note-to-note leveling kind of thing.

Of course, with just RMS, we're always living a bit in the past and that's not always appropriate either. Sometimes it might be nice to know where we're at now and maybe even what's coming next, so we can ease our way to where we want to go. If we react to this loud hit a little late, and don't recover in time, we're going to turn down the already not loud enough note after instead. That's where lookahead/pre-comp come in. It basically puts the detector ahead of the gain reduction that it applies. It's now looking into the future and applying gain reduction now based on both what will and what has happened. Moving pre-comp within the range of the RMS window is like adjusting attack and release in a complimentary fashion. Except that the attack starts to come before the hit, rather than waiting for it, so that when it's half the window, when a peak hits, it is already at full compression.

In fact, I never use A/R unless I want a special effect. When I want transparent control over dynamic content, I usually put lookahead halfway into the RMS window. With small numbers for both of these, and 0 for A/R, you get an extremely transparent brick-wall limiter that won't allow overshoots, but won't sound as much like distortion. With very big values (ReaComp's pre-comp only goes to 250ms, so RMS around 500 quite often) you have something like a Vocal Rider type leveling effect that I use on vox, drums, bass, busses, and on the Master.

IDK if any of that helps.

Last edited by ashcat_lt; 08-30-2015 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 08-30-2015, 08:24 PM   #8
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Super helpful ashcat. I am going to use the precomp setting straight away to solve a dynamics issue I have been struggling with.

ReaComp:
When I need fine tuned program compression to level a full mix with out destroying the dynamics and punch.
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Old 08-31-2015, 09:08 AM   #9
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Thanks, I appreciate your advice!

I had not thought about the downward and custom compression curves that MCompressor can do. Haven't delved into that side of compression yet.

Comparisons
As far as CPU use, with identical settings, ReaComp and MCompressor report nearly the same CPU, and often slightly less for MCompressor as they fluctuate. So, it appears that MCompressor may be more CPU efficient, at least on my machine.

ReaComp and MCompressor have differing maximum settings:
Attack: Rea 500ms (Has Classic Attack), MComp 1000ms
Release: Rea 5000ms, MComp 1000ms (Does not have Auto)
Ratio: Rea Infinity:1, MComp 20:1
Knee: Rea measured in dB (24dB max), MComp measured in % (also has linear option)
RMS: Rea 1000ms, MComp 100ms

MCompressor has no Pre-comp or look-ahead that I can tell. So, it doesn't seem to handle Peak/limiting type duties as well/cleanly. I'll probably have to use the upsampling feature in this scenario.

However, I just realized that MCompressor does have a waveform time graph which gives you loads of information about how the compressor is reacting! Really awesome.

Personal conclusions:
Sonically, I cannot tell the difference. Both are very clean sounding. CPU utilization is close to identical, more testing required here perhaps. The waveform viewer is especially helpful for people like me trying to really understand the ins & outs of compressor settings. ReaComp may be preferred for super-fast peak limiting (handles better/less distortion w/o upsampling) and with the higher RMS Size may be more suitable for bus/Master leveling especially when combined with Pre-Comp.

I think I just need to put in more time with MCompressor, but with what I've learned it may become my new go-to. Time will tell.

Thanks again all!
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Old 08-31-2015, 09:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bristol Posse View Post
I don't think there's really any other way than time and experience. Trying to do it from "book knowledge" is like trying to learn to swim without ever getting into the water. All that theory won't let you know how it feels to float.

YMMV and good luck.
Ahh, yes, this is so true. You cannot replace experience with anything other than experience. However, "book knowledge" can give one a solid foundation, and starting point to begin from saving tons of time from aimlessly milling about. If only there were time to apprentice under a professional...

But, for hobbyist/enthusiasts perhaps this forum is the best we can get access to. None of the musicians/home recordists that I know personally can offer me advice when it comes to recording/mixing. Usually as I try to engage in conversation on these topics they just get deer-in-headlights expressions or glazed over eyes.
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