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mementus
KVRist
 
407 posts since 10 Apr, 2011

Postby mementus; Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:12 pm What are some rule of thumbs/best practices for the release parameter on a compressor?

I go completely wiithout any clue when setting the release.
I mean, I know that it means when the compressor ends its operation, and I tweak with my ears.
Nonetheless I feel I need to refresh the argument with a few real world examples.

Thanks.
:roll:
Daimonicon
KVRist
 
224 posts since 30 Aug, 2012, from Sweden

Postby Daimonicon; Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:17 pm Re: What are some rule of thumbs/best practices for the release parameter on a compressor?

There are no rules of thumbs. The best practice is simply use your ears and learn and listen. There are no shortcuts. So mix and mix and mix and mix and...Get someone elses tracks to train mixing skills too and different genres.
imrae
KVRist
 
34 posts since 2 Jul, 2010

Postby imrae; Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:24 pm Re: What are some rule of thumbs/best practices for the release parameter on a compressor?

When the release is very fast, it can audibly change the waveform of stuff decaying below the threshold; this creates distortion. You usually don't want this; if you're deliberately distorting the transient you'd normally do it with a fast attack (or a clipper!).
At intermediate values (50-500 ms but depends on compressor and source material) the "pumping" effects will be most obvious as you hear the material "swell" back to full level after each big peak. This gives you the French House pumping feel which can be exaggerated with high ratios and sidechain trickery. To get the most musical results people often time this swell to match the beat of the music, making it feel like part of the whole arrangement rather than an artefact of the peaks. (H-comp even has a feature to set release time as a musical note length.) I believe people use a similar approach in a more subtle way with buss compression.
With very long release values, the compressor will often not fully recover before it is triggered again. These settings might be used for gentle levelling with a slow attack and/or RMS detector. The aim in such a case is for the effect of the compressor to be very discrete and artefact-free.

I find the best way to get a feel for the effect of release settings is a) to increase the ratio while setting the time and then dial it back. (Further adjustments may be needed depending on how non-linear the compressor is, but you now know what"feel" to listen for.) b) use the "Delta" option in the Kotelnikov compressor to hear exactly what the compressor is doing. I also suggest playing with the BPM/note length options if you have H-comp; if not, try watching the gain reduction meter and getting a nice 1/4 note response before halving/doubling that time value.
legendCNCD
KVRian
 
608 posts since 23 Sep, 2004, from there

Postby legendCNCD; Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:59 am Re: What are some rule of thumbs/best practices for the release parameter on a compressor?

Take a look at this URL http://hermetechmastering.com/2016/03/2 ... ression-2/
Hermetech tells it good as it should be.

Also ignore the "mastering", this method can be used in any situation before your ears get used to hearing the compression.
garryknight
KVRian
 
953 posts since 6 Jan, 2015, from London, England

Postby garryknight; Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:50 am Re: What are some rule of thumbs/best practices for the release parameter on a compressor?

The attack and release settings will depend entirely on what you're using the compressor for. If you're gluing (levelling or smoothing) your drum bus, you'll use one pair of settings. If you're using it more as a transient shaper, you'll use a different pair. When compressing a single instrument, it depends on which parts of the sound you want to bring out: the transient, the body, and the tail. And if you're going for the house/trance/future bass pumping, just use the smallest attack setting, and set your release length to match your BPM. You can get the timings from sites like Nick Fever's Delay Calculator (find more by googling for 'delay calculator').
jroyall
KVRer
 
5 posts since 18 Sep, 2017

Postby jroyall; Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:02 am Re: What are some rule of thumbs/best practices for the release parameter on a compressor?

The best way to learn is to experiment with a compressor on multiple source of audio i find that setting the ratio around 5:1 and adjusting the threshold to get between 4-6db of gain reduction will allow me to hear how the release and attack are effecting you audio. Then once i get the attack and release to sound right, I re-adjust the ratio and threshold to taste. I find that i use a super fast release and medium attack with moderate gain reduction fairly often. I also use a faster attack and release to knock down transients on drums, and level off spike in vocals. Just play around with a compressor on multiple types of audio and you will begin to get an idea. No book or video will teach you better than experimentation.

Also quick note, don't think of compressors as leveling off the sound. Think of them as shaping the sound, as well as certain compressors giving off tonal characteristics. I love waves cla compressors almost impossible to not get a good sound.
User avatar
Hermetech Mastering
KVRian
 
813 posts since 30 May, 2003, from Paris

Postby Hermetech Mastering; Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:01 am Re: What are some rule of thumbs/best practices for the release parameter on a compressor?

Twiddle it while listening till it improves the groove...
Oneyejoe
KVRist
 
47 posts since 20 Jun, 2017

Postby Oneyejoe; Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:08 am Re: What are some rule of thumbs/best practices for the release parameter on a compressor?

imrae wrote:When the release is very fast, it can audibly change the waveform of stuff decaying below the threshold; this creates distortion. You usually don't want this; if you're deliberately distorting the transient you'd normally do it with a fast attack (or a clipper!).
At intermediate values (50-500 ms but depends on compressor and source material) the "pumping" effects will be most obvious as you hear the material "swell" back to full level after each big peak. This gives you the French House pumping feel which can be exaggerated with high ratios and sidechain trickery. To get the most musical results people often time this swell to match the beat of the music, making it feel like part of the whole arrangement rather than an artefact of the peaks. (H-comp even has a feature to set release time as a musical note length.) I believe people use a similar approach in a more subtle way with buss compression.
With very long release values, the compressor will often not fully recover before it is triggered again. These settings might be used for gentle levelling with a slow attack and/or RMS detector. The aim in such a case is for the effect of the compressor to be very discrete and artefact-free.

I find the best way to get a feel for the effect of release settings is a) to increase the ratio while setting the time and then dial it back. (Further adjustments may be needed depending on how non-linear the compressor is, but you now know what"feel" to listen for.) b) use the "Delta" option in the Kotelnikov compressor to hear exactly what the compressor is doing. I also suggest playing with the BPM/note length options if you have H-comp; if not, try watching the gain reduction meter and getting a nice 1/4 note response before halving/doubling that time value.



Very well said ^^
Something else that really helps when messing with compression, is the all mighty bypass!
When you're fiddling with the settings on a compressor, its ridiculous how quickly your ears become used to the sound so its REALLY difficult to hear any difference.

This is where bypassing the compressor for an A/B comparison of the sound really helps, see if it sounds better on or off.

Another trick I found useful for myself is putting a compressor on a sound that needed it. Slapped a short release time on it, duplicated the same compressor but put a slower release time. Then just A/B the two, see which one gives you the more desired result.
MogwaiBoy
KVRAF
 
2179 posts since 26 Nov, 2015, from Way Downunder

Postby MogwaiBoy; Thu Sep 21, 2017 5:38 pm Re: What are some rule of thumbs/best practices for the release parameter on a compressor?

My general guide is to try and get it to move with the drums, up and down between the kicks and snares - working with the attack to preserve transients. It's all totally on feel.

Best practice? Not too quick, not too slow? :)

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