General Questions about Compression
so I would love to do. Is its field any questions on limiting or loudness wars? Or than anything we talked about so far in compression? Because this is our final section. I really want to know the answer. People's questions. Specifically, we'll start here with you guys somewhat related to loudness words, but maybe a little bit but accuse Oh, he needs to be safe till tomorrow. Recordings from like that era earlier seemed to be much more mid range oriented than now. When I listen to eighties recording, I feel like they just turn down the base and just cranked up the mid range. So that's an interesting observation. Things the influence of, like dance, music and shape hop from the early nineties that, like just the amount of base Yes, every other genre. You're absolutely right. Hip hop has changed the way almost every other genre handles low end, because they they found such success and found so many ways to get massive bottom in on the mixes. That every other genre almost wants toe have t...
hat kind of low in not maybe, is quite as much, but it became a big deal where speakers more, more people had subwoofers. More people wanted massive low end in clubs or people's home stereos or cars like you think in the sixties and seventies and eighties your headphones. Yet most of the speakers we listen to our very mid ranging. So no one really had a lot of Lohman unless you had a lot of nasally awesome hi fi system in the late eighties early nineties, like the average you know, listener just listened on small speakers, and so it wasn't really necessary. But today people really want feel the low end. And so I think that's getting enhanced. And I think the toppings getting an answer of much brighter sounding mixes much like the loudness wars. It's like whatever we can do to make my mix sound mawr exciting than the next guy's mix, and over time we're just continuing to try to beat each other, and it hurts. In the end may be a good idea to start out with can get out of control, so I think there's something to be said about referencing. We'll talk about referencing tomorrow, but something to be said about referencing current music, but also stuff from 10 20 years ago that we know was good and going. Wow, that wasn't nearly as bright as it is today. And maybe finding a cool, happy medium for your music. Great question. OK, all right. Any other questions? Here we get to some online. Let's see, we've got one here from Frank Verdejo says, can you explain proper gain, staging, and when should it occur? Before and after What? Okay, great question. Um, here's the way I like to work. If I pulled up this track to mix and all the failures were, you know, at zero So they're all here all across the board, all of zero. If this was something I did not record like I got it from a client or even if he did record it, I would press play and see what's happening down here. Because if all the tracks are loud, if there are allowed, if they're all living up at the top of the meter, you can see it down in your master fader. You're going to see your mix like it's either already peaking or it's close. And so the very first thing I would do if that's the case, it start to pull the volume of these individual tracks down. Not with the fader, although you can. But what I like to do is either use a trim plug in or a mixed tool plug in and pro tools. They call it trim the other. Um, we got a lot of billions. Your trip. All this is is literally like a trim knob at the top of a council. Or I can turn the track down before it hits the fader so I can turn the audio down before it's gonna hit any plug in that I might process before the fader or I would turn audio down on the individual track level. It's like if I thought this fat mike was just too loud in general, in pro tools 10 and above. Sorry. Down here, the little fader and a lot of dollars will let you grab and actually turned down the actual audio wave. I will do that on a track by track bases, whatever I need to get so that my tracks their average volume is closer to minus 18 minus 20 NATO peak above that, but I like to bring down each track. So then, when I look at my mixed bus over here, my mixes living maybe halfway up the meter, maybe 60 75% of the way of the meter. That's my first gained. Staging is make sure that I'm not mixing too hot because a lot of people record things too loud, and I can't control that if I'm a mixing engineer and if you recorded it and you didn't know about this when you recorded it, you probably recorded the two Hawks. You're like, you always were told, crank up. The gain since is close to clipping without clipping, which is just the old holdover from analog does not apply at all to a digital recording, So you need to back off the actual audio, turn it down from the game down before you do anything that's step one. Step two for me, then, is, um, get the Fader is where I want them do an actual mix, which is the long invaders and then step three years, all the stuff we've been doing in these segments with compression as you compress user makeup gain Opto level match. It's whatever you did to the compressor. Don't make sure it's not any quieter than it was unless that was your goal or any louder than it was. Unless that's really your goal. Try to kind of get that output back to where it was on the input. It's just gonna now have. That different tone has been compressed. I might be fat or on my punch here, but it's about the same volume that you kind of keep that consistent gains structure all the way through the mix, because the goal isn't to just make every track louder and louder with every plug and you add, because then what are you doing? You're getting you're getting back to this mixed bus. Getting crammed doesn't sound good, and you can make it loud or later with a limiter. You don't need every track to get louder and louder, less. That's part of the Knicks. You want a vocal to get louder or bass guitar to be louder in one section. You can do that. It's fine, but that's kind of how I handle gain staging. We have a question here. We had three people vote on this one. Do you use compression on your FX channels like delays and re burbs? That's a great question. Um, I don't find myself doing that that that much. I'll put e que on some of my effects. Um, but compression, You know, sometimes I will use the key inputs. And we talked about somebody asked about the side chaining. I will use that on a compressor. Also, put a compressor on a delay. You have a delay channel, put a compressor after it, and then you use, um, like the lead vocal to feed this side chains. When the singer singing the compress returns the delay down a little bit so that the Echo's not overtaking the lead vocal. And in the moment this vocalist stop singing compression turns back off, then it opens back up. And then you can hear the echo repeat trail after the vocal, so it allows your delay to not always be swarming at one constant ball. Volume allows it to kick on. You hear it more after a vocal phrase, which is very helpful. So to do that would be very simple. You would take a compressor if this were my This is a box channel. But if what's just let's do one real quick? Do you know what I'm talking about? If I had a track here it is called DeLay and I put a delay. Plug in on it. Um, Cheryl's doing multi DeLay. And let's say I used to find my lead vocal, and I sent my lead vocal to the delay. So a copy of it going to a track called Delay. Wherever that is. Now, when I solo my lead vocal, I should have sent away. Well, that's on my vocal Teoh course. X and Stones. Tearing means right. So not be a horrible It would be a horrible delay setting off the bat. But let's say we love that, Um, it's too much with the vocal at all times, right X and stones. What you could do is use a compressor after the delay. Here's that same compressor, and what we want to do is is have a vocal tell the compressor when to kick on on and when to turn down the delay a little bit, so we would use getting tricky we would use. Here's the vocal track. I'm going another send and send a vocal on a bus. Let's say Bus 23 doesn't matter. What I'm gonna do here is on this compressor. There's a thing called key. There's no key input. I'm gonna look for that Bus 23. I want this compressor to look for a Bus 23 which is the vocal, Um, and then on the side chain, I click the key button. So all I've done is said compressor. Instead of looking at anything on this track, please look for the vocal to control the compression. So let's press play here X and stones. Terran means you until you start breaking me. The If you could see that and hear that the vocal. When he's singing, you see the gain reduction happening on the compressor. So any time the vocal that which is the key input, the compressor sees the vocal, So it's like, Oh, compress, which is gonna compress the delay. And then when I let go of a phrase would be perfect on a versus a little bit easier to see on a verse. Zoom out here. This is getting crazy. Screens too small 1st So let's get away. Charlie interrupts, right? The 1st 1 I am a shell of a man who wants load. You see that just tamed the delay while I'm singing and then when I let go of the vocal allows the compressor to open up and let the delay echo out So you can use compression with a key input from whatever you want to trigger it. It could be the vocal. It could be something else to just kind of turned down. I guess the delay. That's one way Use a compressor on it. Delay, you have going into Bus 23. The lead vocal. Okay, so here's my vocal track. I'm sending somebody to the delay, but I'm also seeing a copy of the vocal to Bus 23 which goes to my compressor via the the key and putting aside chain. Okay, a little advanced, but you can do stuff like that. All right, well, we have a couple more questions here from the chat room, and we didn't get into this too much. But Merlin Ball wants to know what is normalizing. And should I use it when I'm bouncing to the final format. It's a great question, so very relevant, so normalising. If a limiter sees peaks in your mix and turns them down to, then turn up the rest of your mix. So my mixed looks like this after its limited. It's going a little more squash and a little more consistent. A normal Isar doesn't do any compression. It just takes the static wave forms and keeps them relative to themselves the same. And then it turns up everything similarly to the point where the loudest peak hit zero. So it will make your track louder or you're mixed louder. But you will only get but so loud because once you're allowed its peak gets to zero. It stops bringing up the volume because it can't get any louder where the limiter can turn down those loud peaks. So it's a little more consistent with the rest of the band or less the rest the mix, and then we can turn everything up so you can't get super Live with normal eyes. Er, um, I rarely use normalize er's, although you could in theory, normalize your mix if you wanted to, and then use a limiter and you would need less limiting. But I just skip that step in. Just use the limiter because not really hurting anything is turning down the peaks that answers the question. Yeah, I think that covers irrelevant. Yeah, we'll have another one here. And they say, Hey, Graham would be useful to check compression levels at low volumes by switching. Is something small like your computer monitors? Oh, I would, I would say both. I mean, I mix on my main monitors at lower volumes and make my compression decisions. And absolutely, I have small speakers. I have, uh, computer speakers. I have a little mono mid, rangy speaker. I will reference on that as well. And and I will specifically make sure the kick and the snare are rocking on this little speakers because they don't display the same low in that, maybe my thes. These wolfers can display a good amount of low end, but laptop speakers or computer speakers. They don't have any of that. So you need that compression to allow your kicking stare to smack even on those little speaker. So it's a great thing to check, because if they really sound punchy there, they're probably gonna sound great there as well. Like I said at the beginning of of today, I feel like e que and compression or the two most important plug ins you'll ever use, and I think 80% of your mix. 85% of your mix comes from your e que and compression decisions. So today, this whole session has been a lot compression. Tomorrow session's gonna be all about E Q. And this is massive compression. Maybe is more Stuttle when you hear it on or off an e que. I think you is easier to hear the difference. Anything. People are more familiar with what an e que does. But, man, we're gonna talk about how to properly eq you. How to make sure you get clarity in your mix. EU here, every single instrument with clarity, how to make sure that you get the perfect e que decision so that it doesn't just sound great at home and your stereo. It sounds great in the car. Sounds great on laptop speakers. It sounds great in headphones how to deal with a room if you mix in a room. That's not really that great acoustic wise, and you know it's affecting your sound. Somehow. How do you hack your way out of those problems? You can still deliver a great mix with the Q. We uncover all of that tomorrow. It's super passionate about it. because it can make or break your mix, and it's so powerful and it's a simple tool. But it's usually used improperly, and it can either make your mix harsh, muddy, dull and what we want to use is use it to make it clear, punchy and engaging and exciting, so it's gonna be awesome.