Once you are able to pick out the compression sounds, put your ear to the test as you tweak the ratio up and down. The attack just tells the compressor how fast or how slow to clamp down on the audio once it’s past the threshold line you’ve set. A lot of nuances exist behind the art of controlling the dynamic range of an audio signal, and what better way to indulge in that than to spend time practicing and experimenting with a compressor. Some compressors are more colorful than others. } The second one is a faster compressor that’ll keep the punch of the sound. This ensures more consistency which can be useful for when your track has too much punch with little tail, or vice-versa. That’s good because it allows you to bring up the gain of the whole signal without clipping. And always remember to use your ears too! The first signal will be your drier signal. Fast and slow are relative terms. A faster attack can help tame those really aggressive audio peaks from snare drums or a loud vocal part. Also known as the pumping bass effect, this type of compression allows for an audio track to be turned down or compressed by having it prompted via another audio track. Let’s go over the controls that you commonly see on a compressor plugin and explain what each of them does. Based on the musical style, compression may be needed either on each and every track, or sometimes, not at all. Distinct coloration (or changes) to the original sound is apparent, not to mention the delicate harmonic distortion it adds, giving your tracks a rather musical feel to it. They portray a very unique “vintage” (a.k.a “analog”) sound, making it almost impossible to replicate with other compression forms. Synths too can be frequently left uncompressed, specifically the ones housing static, pad‑like sounds. Here lies the point at which compression not only affects the volume but also the sound tone. It can also mess up the groove and feel of your track. The attack and release times of the compressor will be very forgiving when you’re working with such small gain reduction amounts. Before you slap that compressor on your track ask yourself: what am I trying to achieve or solve? You’re not looking for a perfectly clean sound here–think rock drums. Today, most audio compressor effects you find in your DAW have been emulated from their hardware counterparts (image above) into an audio plugin (VST, AU, RTAS, among others) like the one below. This can be confusing, but nevertheless, you actually don’t need to do these calculations every time you compress a track. }()); Why it works: A compressor lets you make your instruments sound more lively. To consolidate the above, take a look at the screenshots below to see the difference between an uncompressed vs compressed audio signal. But your results will vary depending on your drum sound. A compressor lets you make your instruments sound more lively. This is then complemented by a slow-release, which allows for the gain reduction to reset much slower. Keep in mind that all compressors are different, there’s no single formula. Fast, reliable, and housing the ability to project a clean sound, they are perfect for bass, drums, guitar, vocals and beyond. It controls how much of the initial impact and transients of the sound get through. Take that 4dB and add it to our threshold of -10dB. Real-time audio is analyzed by the compressor before the information gained from its evaluation is applied to the delayed signal. handler: function (opt) { There are two main reasons for using serial compression over merely using a single compressor. The outcome being a more transparent sound, with slight coloration inserted into the track. Leticia is a lover of acid basslines and hypnotic techno. So you insert an equalizer plugin, add some reverb to the tracks and just as if on cue, you add an audio compressor effect and decide to play around with some settings. For instance, in the process of mixing, you might prefer a shorter attack time for the guitar track in a higher band to keep it in check, while allowing the kick drum to punch through with a longer attack time in a lower band of the spectrum. The difference here is rather subtle, but notice that the tail/sustain is more in balance with the transient. Even in that of an acoustical mix, some form of control is needed over the vocal levels. Get the ideas, tools and tips you need to grow your sound straight to your inbox. In the process of picking up audio mixing, one of the most critical things to do is to gradually train yourself to recognize the subtleties of compression. Set the attack all the way down (close to 0 milliseconds) then play your drum track. The weekend has finally arrived, and you hurry to your DAW with the excitement of a schoolboy to start arranging some tracks. This is done by increasing the quieter i.e lower signals to make them more apparent, and attenuating (a.k.a. But if your drummer played unevenly, that’ll be accentuated. This creates distinct compression settings for various elements in a mix. Keep the ratios in the low to medium range when you’re looking for a more natural effect. When your signal hits the threshold that’s when the compressor starts working. n.parentNode.insertBefore(s, n); For example, in order to make the kick drum prominent within your mix, the bass guitar is triggered to undergo compression every time the kick drum plays. Amazing, right? This will make your drums sound energetic and larger-than-life. Make your mail more musical Normally, you would use that if you need some quick compression during a live tracking session, otherwise it’s worth learning what each setting do. Otherwise you’re most likely over-compressing. Set with a fast attack, the tested compressors had … What sounds best to me is a ratio at 5:1 and threshold at -16 dB. Make-up gain is deactivated, but the resulting file is normalized. AdButler.ads.push({ Therefore, despite the fact that the mix may already exude a natural-type sound, compression still plays a small but pivotal role. Calculating the ratio of audio compression. Part of why you placed in a compressor was because you read in a magazine before, that compressor helps to balance vocal tracks. However, back in the days before digital DAWs, compressors were actual hardware module boxes. Solution: Compress the room mic recording. A major plus point for the use of multiband compression is that the compression of the recording is sound more transparent compared to that of a standard, single-band compressor, as you select only the frequency bands to compress. That being said, some instruments require control over their dynamic range, more so than others. Today you probably use virtual plugins which are in fact emulated from hardware compressors. Hot Tip: Sometimes having several (2-3) compressors doing a little bit of compression (much less gain reduction) sounds more natural than one doing a bunch of gain reduction.