Go-to track compressor?

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
jochicago
KVRian
770 posts since 26 Feb, 2018

Post Sun Oct 27, 2019 2:33 pm

cnt wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:36 pm
I know a purist that don't use compressors AT ALL.
Just about every time I hear someone talk about "no compression" they are actually compressing stuff some other way and their stuff sounds either plenty compressed or not good.

I don't know what you'd call this, but I'm a realist in that all I care about is what comes out of the speakers. If you got there in a way that makes you happy, and it sounds good, then the approach is solid. So I won't judge someone that doesn't compress, I say more power to them. But let's also have a real conversation, because I've also heard the following from the "I don't compress" crowd:

- I don't compress drums, but I'm using an 808 machine (really? tell me more about your machine-generated squashed sound that doesn't need compressing)
- I don't compress tracks, but I run them hot through my preferred analog gear for that "leveling" effect (so, you don't compress with a "compressor" because you already compressed the dynamics elsewhere?)

The bottom line is that few acoustic recordings sound good without compression/leveling. People are either compressing with a compressor, or compressing/leveling with something else that they refuse to call compression, or they are using something that is not acoustic (some instrument affecting air recorded by a mic), or the mix is not that good.

But I've never seen a case of this: I don't compress, I don't level, all tracks are real instruments, just a bit of automation = Award-winning mix.

reggie1979
KVRAF
1895 posts since 26 Nov, 2018

Re: Go-to track compressor?

Post Sun Oct 27, 2019 4:22 pm

cnt wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:36 pm
I know a purist that don't use compressors AT ALL. Not a single limiter or compressor. For a whole album! Not even at mastering! Only using only a little bit of EQ and then only volume/automation.. Surely that is a somewhat esoteric way to mix... But some of the most dynamic and rich/full sound I ever heard came out of that actually. It's amazing when your hear it. Almost everything else sounds dull/lifeless in comparisson. No details. No subletly. Although, in a way it destroyed the pleasure to me of listening to a lot of other music, so it wasn't all good to have this "a-ha" experience... :)

Personally I tend to use less compressing during the last year, instead I often reach for transient shapers/envelopes shaper.
I don't need to compress all tracks, so there can not be any "go to compressor" really (well, maybe compressors like Presswerk since it is so versatile).

I tend to ask myself: Do I REALLY need a compressor on this track? Why? What do I want to achieve with it? Can I do it with a little bit of volume automation instead or even EQ automation?
While certainly doable, how boring :lol: I love compression in many ways. Not how it's usually used though. A little goes a long way and they are NOT all the same.

User avatar
BONES
GRRRRRRR!
9267 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Re: Go-to track compressor?

Post Sun Oct 27, 2019 5:44 pm

Yes, they are.
cnt wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:36 pm
I know a purist that don't use compressors AT ALL...
... Almost everything else sounds dull/lifeless in comparisson. No details. No subletly. Although, in a way it destroyed the pleasure to me of listening to a lot of other music, so it wasn't all good to have this "a-ha" experience... :)
That's rubbish. I often use compression to bring out the details that are otherwise hidden. There were no compressors in any of the studios I could afford to use when I recorded my first two albums and I can promise you they don't sound amazing or great. And neither of them are mastered because nobody did that back then, at least not at the level I was working at.
NOVAkILL 4.0 : Dell G7 17 (Core i7, 8GB RAM, Win10), UR44C, Cubase, DUNE, Thorn, TRK-01, Equator, Hive, Substance, Arcsyn, Aparillo, Straylight, Pigments, Trueno, Analog Keys, MicroMonsta, Uno, Skulpt, Craft 2.

reggie1979
KVRAF
1895 posts since 26 Nov, 2018

Re: Go-to track compressor?

Post Sun Oct 27, 2019 5:49 pm

Sounds strange to me. Compression is over-rated and then "yeah, I use it for this"...........

eytanmich123
KVRist
157 posts since 21 Apr, 2010

Re: Go-to track compressor?

Post Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:53 pm

ramseysounds wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:11 am
Goto TRACK compressor = Waves MV2
Thanks for that !

Had me reach for ReaXcomp...

eytanmich123
KVRist
157 posts since 21 Apr, 2010

Re: Go-to track compressor?

Post Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:56 pm

Michey wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 2:04 am
BONES wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:35 pm
Michey wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:40 am
Im in the midst of forming my own company called "Go2".
You do realise that Rob Papen has a synth called Go2, don't you?
In that case I shall call the company "GoToo" ! [Like in "Dumb and Dumber Too"] :wink:
Or "Goat-2" :hihi: :lol:

ramseysounds
KVRian
589 posts since 9 Jul, 2014 from UK

Re: Go-to track compressor?

Post Mon Oct 28, 2019 4:45 am

eytanmich123 wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:53 pm
ramseysounds wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:11 am
Goto TRACK compressor = Waves MV2
Thanks for that !

Had me reach for ReaXcomp...
Why? They are totally different
I wonder what happens if I press this button...

JCJR
KVRAF
2896 posts since 17 Apr, 2005 from S.E. TN

Re: Go-to track compressor?

Post Mon Oct 28, 2019 2:25 pm

jochicago wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 2:33 pm
The bottom line is that few acoustic recordings sound good without compression/leveling. People are either compressing with a compressor, or compressing/leveling with something else that they refuse to call compression, or they are using something that is not acoustic (some instrument affecting air recorded by a mic), or the mix is not that good.

But I've never seen a case of this: I don't compress, I don't level, all tracks are real instruments, just a bit of automation = Award-winning mix.
The last few years when I got around to remastering a bunch of my dusty old music recorded from circa 1980 on, regretted having used quite so much individual track compression plus bus compression into the 2 track. Just wished that the music had a little more snap and punch that got washed out by the compression.

A lot of the track compression back then at least in my use, was the ceaseless signal-to-noise versus distortion war on analog mixers and recorders. Record without compression-gating and get clean snappy tracks buried in noise, and a resultant mix buried in noise. Or record hotter without compression and get less-noisy tracks with distorted peaks. Track compression "on the way in" seemed the lesser of evils in that situation.

I'm older and probably no wiser but prejudices have changed. Because that noise vs dynamic range fight is no longer so severe with computer digital audio, I want a lot of snap all the way up to mastering. If it is too snappy to get a "moderately loud" master then I can deal with that on the master with typically 1.2:1 slow RMS lookahead compressor (very low threshold setting, maybe max 1 to 3 dB slow gain riding) followed by a max of maybe 1 to 4 dB lookahead peak limiting. Sometimes doesn't even take that much GR to get it up in the ballpark of -14 LUFs integrated loudness, -1 dB Max Peak. Which is "loud enough" for me.

And so track compression has got fairly rare, only in cases where the individual notes are too ragged in note-to-note level and therefore they need, well, "leveling".

I never tried the following, but a couple of years ago a fellow published a Reaper script which analyzes track dynamics and automatically writes a volume automation for the track. An automated approach to "riding the gain knob" or "manually tweaking the volume automation". Some folks who tried it liked the results. So maybe the approach is viable for some folks, not necessarily a time-wasting method of trying to adjust track balance. Like I say, I never tried it. If occasional broad-stroke volume automations are not effective then I'd just as soon insert a compressor.

reggie1979
KVRAF
1895 posts since 26 Nov, 2018

Re: Go-to track compressor?

Post Mon Oct 28, 2019 3:22 pm

Again, life w/o any compression is just boring :lol:

And again, compressing the crap out of every single thing is tedious to the ears, but none is just flat and lifeless. BTW, I hate all those songs that are so popular with "sea-sick" sidechaining. :hihi:

cnt
KVRist
339 posts since 9 Mar, 2001

Re: Go-to track compressor?

Post Mon Oct 28, 2019 6:15 pm

BONES wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 5:44 pm
Yes, they are.
cnt wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:36 pm
I know a purist that don't use compressors AT ALL...
... Almost everything else sounds dull/lifeless in comparisson. No details. No subletly. Although, in a way it destroyed the pleasure to me of listening to a lot of other music, so it wasn't all good to have this "a-ha" experience... :)
That's rubbish. I often use compression to bring out the details that are otherwise hidden. There were no compressors in any of the studios I could afford to use when I recorded my first two albums and I can promise you they don't sound amazing or great. And neither of them are mastered because nobody did that back then, at least not at the level I was working at.
Ehm. You totally missed my point. Read again. Of course, you can bring out detail - but at the cost of dynamics with a compressor! Maybe for your music it doesnt matter. . Your genre/production sounds like crap audio-wise, to my ears. EBM overall sounds like shit, I just thought it was a "I dont care"/punk attitude.

I will give you an example of an extremely good recording using no track compression.. :).. Also you need a good pair of speakers and a treated room to get the chills up your spine. Close your eyes... and it sounds like the guy is actually standing in front if you. Alive. Detailed.

cnt
KVRist
339 posts since 9 Mar, 2001

Re: Go-to track compressor?

Post Mon Oct 28, 2019 6:29 pm

jochicago wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 2:33 pm
cnt wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:36 pm
I know a purist that don't use compressors AT ALL.
Just about every time I hear someone talk about "no compression" they are actually compressing stuff some other way and their stuff sounds either plenty compressed or not good.

I don't know what you'd call this, but I'm a realist in that all I care about is what comes out of the speakers. If you got there in a way that makes you happy, and it sounds good, then the approach is solid. So I won't judge someone that doesn't compress, I say more power to them. But let's also have a real conversation, because I've also heard the following from the "I don't compress" crowd:

- I don't compress drums, but I'm using an 808 machine (really? tell me more about your machine-generated squashed sound that doesn't need compressing)

- I don't compress tracks, but I run them hot through my preferred analog gear for that "leveling" effect (so, you don't compress with a "compressor" because you already compressed the dynamics elsewhere?)

The bottom line is that few acoustic recordings sound good without compression/leveling. People are either compressing with a compressor, or compressing/leveling with something else that they refuse to call compression, or they are using something that is not acoustic (some instrument affecting air recorded by a mic), or the mix is not that good.

But I've never seen a case of this: I don't compress, I don't level, all tracks are real instruments, just a bit of automation = Award-winning mix.
You are right, I should have mentioned that the genre/instrumentation of course matters. Acoustic or electronic. I should have mentioned the purist guy produce 100% in the box. Ie pure electronic VST instruments and FX. So he can tweak sounds to fit the mix, instead of trying to use FX/compression afterwards. All music writing/sound design/"recording"/mixing is done at the same stage..

User avatar
BONES
GRRRRRRR!
9267 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Re: Go-to track compressor?

Post Mon Oct 28, 2019 7:50 pm

cnt wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 6:15 pm
Your genre/production sounds like crap audio-wise, to my ears. EBM overall sounds like shit, I just thought it was a "I dont care"/punk attitude.
Says the guy whose nickname is basically c**t! EBM is about energy, energy requires power and you don't get power without squashing the dynamics.
I will give you an example of an extremely good recording using no track compression.. :).. Also you need a good pair of speakers and a treated room to get the chills up your spine. Close your eyes... and it sounds like the guy is actually standing in front if you. Alive. Detailed.
Please, feel free. I probably won't like any of it, I can guarantee none of it will send chills up my spine, but you never know.
NOVAkILL 4.0 : Dell G7 17 (Core i7, 8GB RAM, Win10), UR44C, Cubase, DUNE, Thorn, TRK-01, Equator, Hive, Substance, Arcsyn, Aparillo, Straylight, Pigments, Trueno, Analog Keys, MicroMonsta, Uno, Skulpt, Craft 2.

Michey
KVRer
17 posts since 24 Sep, 2019

Re: Go-to track compressor?

Post Tue Oct 29, 2019 1:12 am

BONES wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 7:50 pm
EBM is about energy, energy requires power and you don't get power without squashing the dynamics.
cnt wrote:I will give you an example of an extremely good recording using no track compression.. :).. Also you need a good pair of speakers and a treated room to get the chills up your spine. Close your eyes... and it sounds like the guy is actually standing in front if you. Alive. Detailed.
@cnt
If you deal with elements that needs a lot of force and presence [like in EDM], no compression at all [be it with a compressor, limiter or any form of processing that preserves - as much as possible - the mid-to-high info WHILST inflating - to an extent - the sub-to-low info - oka "compression"] just makes no sense [best case. in the worst it would sound like a plain joke].

acousticglue
KVRian
832 posts since 27 May, 2008

Re: Go-to track compressor?

Post Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:24 am

Well compressors are viable solutions just like panning and volume and balancing your mix left and right. Whether it was natural bounce to tape etc it has been used. There certainly is in gain stages and pressed thru your guitar switching. Of course playing acoustics will certainly need it. Listen to Peter Finger Innenleben or Mike Marshall Appalachian Music. Those are great examples of wonderful sounding acoustic mixes. If it sounds great to you listen if not move on. That is the human experience.

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DJ Warmonger
KVRAF
3558 posts since 7 Jun, 2012 from Warsaw

Re: Go-to track compressor?

Post Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:57 am

Maybe cnt just can't use compressor properly and thinks all they do is to squash the sound terribly :?:

My answer: compressor itself doesn't make sound good or bad. Compressor compresses, that is - modulates volume. It's up to you how to use it.
Just about every time I hear someone talk about "no compression" they are actually compressing stuff some other way and their stuff sounds either plenty compressed or not good.
This. Compressor is just an automatic tool, but you can achieve flat sound level in a number of ways.

Just this morning I wanted to squash snare and, as simple compressor failed, I used fuzz pedal to mix in a flat layer of buzzy noise. Yes, that was drastic, but goal achieved.
http://djwarmonger.wordpress.com/
Tricky-Loops wrote: (...)someone like Armin van Buuren who claims to make a track in half an hour and all his songs sound somewhat boring(...)

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