Compression & Dynamics Master Class

Lesson 11/13 - Popular Compressor Plugins


Compression & Dynamics Master Class


Lesson Info

Popular Compressor Plugins

So what I want to show you is this is this is really subtle stuff but I want this to be covered so you understand this might be something you want to do I pull my vocal and let's go to reverse and I pulled a couple of other come compressors it's you okay? So by itself um a shell were using this compressor um a shell of the man who once lived I've got a couple other compressors here that I've tried to mimic a settings force let me bypass this compressor here is, um ssl channel stripped the e channel okay and it's a channel strips that's got a e q on the left and on the right it's got a dynamic section and what I'm looking up here and the only thing I really done on this track is just the ratio threshold release and just to give you a good example there's another compressor same terminology you've got a threshold which is your most important job your ratio those to control everything release knob and then not not an attack knob ssl doesn't have it has standard attack and attack, which wo...

uld be faster attack so you have fewer options here. We will discuss that in a minute and you've got a gain reduction meter you'll see on the right so I've got the similar settings here um a shell the three is lighting up which means it's around three d b of gain reduction down here um a shell but this compressor sounds different than the stock approaches compressor is going to be really, really subtle stuff so I mean try to listen to the best you can what I want to do is bypass him and take a listen to different stuff so let's see if I could get them all on one screen god that's a cell if god the pro tools compressor we also have um and l a to a right I believe that they're being back to hotels one and this has even fewer knobs again and a peak production we'll talk about that in a second so this regard how the novel a label a bit differently I try to get this to compress pretty similar to the other ones as well so I'm going to bypass two at a time so was bypassed that's a cell in the l a two way and just listen to our standard compressor and this is me hard to listen to the tone we're not like compressing any differently but listen to the tone of the vocal whether it sounds bright or or less bright and I'm going to go from compressor to compressor and we'll listen to what it does to the audiences were pretty subtle but this is pretty interesting so here is the stock compressor um a shell ssl um a shell pelly to a um a shell pro tools um I shall bring up this gain a little bit to match I am a shell as a cell um a shell and lie to a um a shell can you guys hear me the differences there do you do you have any que point out what anyone compress your sounds like more than the other I feel like the elderly to it kind of feels more like this feels a little area kind of feels like it's a little more their breath in here yes yourselves seems to give a little more ah clarity I guess I mean it's hard when is thinner or just more neutral stock when his morning structural these other two that lead to a sl they're both trying to emulate the actual hardware units and they're not just compressing they're also adding some harmonics to the audio there trying to digitally create some of that you know the genesis squad that there's something that thes these actual ones the consul ones actually an outdoor compressor added and we hear it as tone so some may say that the approaches one sounds thin and it can to me the protein one sounds pretty bright it may not be a good brightness depending on the vocalist but like like if you compare here's ssl listen to that's a cell and let's listen to the process one um a shell um a shell to me the pro tools one sounds a little brighter like you just boosted the highs a smidge not necessarily the same way that the way to a does but literally I have found and you know I hope you're going to hear it at home to that to me this compressor sounds brighter and I in the back of my mind I know that and how does that help me? That helps me if I have a very dark sounding signals, if it's a vocal or it may be the person's voice is really rich and really dark or maybe the microphone that was used that day is little too dark you could almost think of these compressors as e q so if you had a couple different compressors and you know I think the protons one is more on the bright side you might reach for that compressor toe while you compress it's brightening up the vocal a little bit or the opposite could be true you could find that if it's ah really breathy female vocal this pro tools compressor might make it sound too harsh even though it's not an e q it's just compressing it is supposed to be transparent I feel like it sounds a little brighter and some of these other compressors so might be a bad choice if you have had a choice like you could soften up a bright people vocal with maybe the ssl because I feel like this ssl at least on this in my voice it makes it sound a little almost nasal sometimes a little more than a mid range that could be a sweet spot might not be a sweet spot because it's depends on the vocalist so what I wanted to just was to hear that and there's a wide variety of compressors that can impart their own sonic imprint that you might fall in love with a certain sound or certain combination like I love the sound of eleven seventy six is on snare drums not just for how it compresses but maybe the tone that it it adds to it this is getting really nuance e I don't this is why this is saved to this last second of the day because this does not make or break your mix and I don't want anyone to get tripped up on that don't think oh man I need to get to go out and run on buying ssl or any of these simulations of these these famous compressors if you can't get a good mix with your stock compressors these aren't going to help you I must tell you flat out they're not going to help you mean they they will be helped because they will have your money and you have some like cool plug ins but you won't really be able to use them well this is more of a again, this is beyond the basics is like a nuance of if you have been mixing for a while, you're getting a handle on compression, and you're getting it to do what you wanted to do. Like this whole mix is all stock compressors, except for my mixed bus compressor use the ssl just because I'm really familiar with that, we even recreated that sound with a stock. Impressive, this is all stop compression! I don't need these plug integrated get a great mix, but as you become more familiar with them, and you start to think of compressors, as he accuse, you can get some cool sonic things, like I like the way that sounds on a violin or on male vocals, ninety percent of the time and it's just kind of a subtle thing. So while this is here, so you'll notice these compressors, your stock, digital compressors, air probably gonna even though they'll look completely different, they're gooey, they're graphical user interface will look different than this one will have a lot of the same knobs labeled the same way, just in different places. But then what do you do with something like this? It's late through it, the lake has two knobs, gain and peak production, I mean, compared that to one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight eight knobs on this compressor compared to the l a, the ssl we only have three knobs and switch so with the deal like, this is where some of these compressors if you're using the plug in versions or if you're familiar with the hardware versions, they're all trying to do the same thing, but when you get a compressor like this, you just have fewer settings that you can control your your hands are tied a little bit more, which can be a good thing. All this compressor has his peak production, which is a combination of threshold and probably ratio or it could be that this knob over here and you guys on the chat room, you're probably smarter than me that compressed versus limit might be fixed ratios, you might have a fixed ratio for compressed and limit might make it harder ratio that's all you get and peak production definitely is your threshold, in essence, because the more you you crank this up or down, the more you'll see it getting compressed and gain is your makeup gain. So it's basically like a threshold in a game knob you don't really you don't really get an attack or release setting because l a two way it sees audio and treats audio and grabs it at a certain speed the way it can kind of response to the audio and you don't get to find two in the attack or their release it does what it does and you're just stuck with it for better or for worse so these are more limited limiting as a compressor that's why you go in the studio and you guys have these guys have racks and racks of outdoor compressors and they may only use in l a to a on you know, gentle vocals because it is kind of slow attack very musical it's a great compressor when you want a nice smooth vocal compression whereas it might be too slow of an attack for drums so though my grabbing eleven seventy six or even ssl which has a relatively fast attack for instance if you grab um eleven seventy six even though there's this stock eleven seventy six copy come to the pro tools this comes free this looks different to you do have attack and release but in general and eleven seventy six is a super fast attack compressor so even the slow attack on this compressor is faster than the some of the other compressors out there. So it's really good for quick transient stuff so some of these compressors have limited settings because they're kind of already preset and it's just the way they built it so they're mohr specialty compressors as you get comfortable with what they do because it eleven seventy six probably can't be your go to compressor for everything because it's just not as slow as you needed to be on certain things but it could be great for slamming. Things were really hard and really fast stuff whereas I like in l a to a on on lead vocals because it's really smooth and it's really easy to just got two knobs just kind of tweak it, watch the v a meter and then move on with your life but that's why I love stock compressor because you have complete control and that's why I teach always with a stock compressor because if you know all these settings than ever any other compressors just simpler it's never going to be more complex in this on dh you get more meat oring mohr control and I feel like you can understand what you're doing to the audio a little bit better but I want you to be familiar with other compressors out there I just usually will have a fixed ratio or fixed attack released setting you just dial in again the two most important not threshold and output gain or or ratio because you can how much compression how much volume you need to make up if that makes sense cool we actually had a couple of questions just come in the last minute or so here's one gram have you ever stacked say in eleven seventy six and in l a to a possibly using one in its limiter capacity and the other as a compressor and then blending the two yeah absolutely that's a great question so you could use different compressor to do different things I may not use that specific combination but I will like compress a vocal let's say acoustic guitar is a good example I'll compress acoustic guitar it's nice and punchy and it might be perfect but there's that one or two times where I feel like it's just peaking a little too much but I like the setting where it's at so I might throw a really fast compressor after that or a limiter on the acoustic guitar but with a really high threshold so it's not going toe effect acoustic guitar except for a couple of peeks and they will make sure that it doesn't clip sometimes I find like I'm fighting I usually try to keep things really conservative but from fighting the volume a little too much I might follow a compressor with a really fast attack limit or something to make sure that there's no peaks happening yeah, absolutely here's another specific question from the sm on the compressors like the eleven, seventy six and the distress sir they do not have a threshold control is the input control the same in those cases? Yeah exactly so that's a great question so pull up right. So this nut there's input and output output is exactly what you expected to be your final output volume. You always going to have that? Hopefully on a compressed because you need to be able to control what it's doing on the eleven, seventy six, which looks like this or, you know, everyone makes their own copy of it. Here's waves eleven seventy six it's the same thing right there are going to sound a little bit different, but same knobs in the same place. You, eddie has their own much of people have their own. I have one from ike a multimedia, which sounds great. Um, input knob is how much signal are you passing through the compressor? Which is just another way of saying how much of the signal is getting compressed. Okay, so where isn't our regular compressor? We used a threshold to determine that and a ratio think they work together. It's exactly like that. You posing? The question is your input knob is taking both the threshold in the ratio and making it one kind of control. So mohr input let's do this on a where way students on an acoustic guitar. This this track here, soledad? Well, it's, only the courses this compressor over, so now we're having eleven seventy six on my guitar you can see this this needle's not getting kicked back very much it's not doing much compression but watches a crank, the input take a look at the meter here couple things were happening, we've lowered the threshold so more audio is going through the compressors. It's getting compressed mohr and has a built in makeup gain almost like it's getting louder, whereas on the other compressor, when we dial the threshold down, it doesn't get louder, gets quieter, so you have to compensate with the output knob just brought the output back down. You almost use the output to go back to the level it was actually eleven seventy six wants to make it louder. That's the thing every compressor doesn't does a little bit differently at least these analog emulating compressors the digital ones, the ones that are going to come stock in your software, they almost always operate like the one we've been using this entire session and that's. Why I would rather you understand that, because then you can figure out the rest of these pretty easy, and you just go when I cranked in, putting up this with eleven seventy six does just passes more audio through makes it louder, so I gotta back off the volume a little bit. Good question we have another one here that comes in from pablo labriola and three other people vote on this and they says graham it's known that the best way to get the q on the mix right is to monitor everything in mono would you treat the compression in the same way? Okay, yeah he's jumping on what we're gonna talk about this tomorrow wait no as it relates to compression I mean uh I wouldn't say it makes a ton of difference it can help I think mono is super helpful we'll discuss that tomorrow so stick around for that because that's that will change your lives like literally I don't like to say that lightly but that's one of the things that has transformed my mixes like literally with compression here's what I will say about compression make your compression decisions with your volume on your on your speakers your interface really, really low so there's a great little freebie okay, um I'm a huge advocate of mixing at low volumes like what you actually hear. We've already talked about how you can use a limiter to make your mix is super loud in the end, so don't worry about that but just turned down your actual interface your actual speakers or if you have headphones turn it way down to a level that if you're in a room I feel like we could have a conversation next to each other without me having to raise my voice while I'm mixing, it will probably be quieter than you would like because we generally like to turn things up because it sounds exciting. The reason we want to do this with compression. I'm glad you asked this question because it wasn't in my notes at all for this whole day says the great to touch on this in the end is there something that happens when you turn up the volume of your audio? It's? I think you know either it's the fletcher much months and curve. Ah, a couple of other names for what happens but our ears. When you turn up audio, our ears hear things, and they overemphasize the high frequencies and the low frequencies. So things sound brighter and more exciting, and they sound fatter and bigger base. And they really are it's. Just a defector. Ears have. And everything just sounds awesome. Loud in general, um and that's. What I used to do is a mixture is my mix with sound. Okay? And I would crank it up and go. Oh, yeah, that's not. It feels better. And even in the studios that used to internet where they would mix on on their monitors there there near fields which are close to them but they would have these massive massive speakers built into the walls and when the client was in there they wanted to hear their mix they would flip over to those massive speakers and crank it up and the band would hear their mix and they would feel awesome about themselves because everybody sounds cool loud but that's not helping you as a mixer actually tricking you because then when people go play your song or you play your song while you're washing the dishes or hanging out with your family and it's in the background music which is going to quiet if you made your compression decisions when it's loud it's actually not going to be compressed right? So here's the secret u turn down your audio on her face and you make compression decisions when it's quiet so that you know you can hear you're kicking your snare punch and through and things sound an acoustic guitars jumping through when it's quiet so that parallel oak press processing that we did you want to do that while you're listening to your mix nice and quiet so that's going to help you get that punching trump sound even the volume way way down that's the secret cause when you turn it up it's still going to sound awesome but anything it's not awesome loud so don't make your compression decision went mixes loud do turn yourself down then do you compression that's what I would say great. All right, see what we got a few more that are coming in here going back to the way to a marcy wants to know in a few other people were voting on this they say, what is the analog section in the way? Okay, so this this is in particular the waves c l a too is this is waves version not all the lay two ways have this. Um, all I have experienced with these because I have these myself is there's like noise like there's, innit? Noise at different, like fifty hertz and sixty hertz and they even, like, flatten out some of the history the high frequencies with this little knob to me, if you have a bunch of these in your mix it on ly ads like low level noise, like an analog piece of gear and I usually find that irritating. So a lot of times I just turn it off. It's to me, I haven't heard it do a lot of saturation like what you think like, oh it's going to sound like the analog here's to me just sounds noisy like the analog gives the isle of digital recording cause it's clean I don't want to introduce noise for noise sake unless it's musical so she could go read the manual kid the pdf long way its website but it is the same thing on the the ssl they have exact same problem well, I can't really dragged the plugging up my laptop, but it's got a analog thing in the bottom two and I just actually turn it off but you can experiment with all right let's get one more question here from m j and a few other people voted on this one as well, but he wants to know when you adjust any parameters on a track while mixing compression for example when exactly and why do you do this with the track soloed instead of doing it while having everything running? Great question um, you know, the best thing you could do is to learn to mix with everything in the same time what that doesn't mean necessarily that you have to have everything up and make your decisions and never knew anything. So okay, well, the way I like to work is I will I will I will start with all my tracks up and started moving the volume favors around and getting a mix as if a mixing a band live there playing I can't tell hey the drummer stop playing, I'm just going to mix the base could hardly they're playing a song and my job is to grab the feeders quickly and go I like to do that myself but when it comes time to compress tracks um cue them I literally start with one instruments on mute everything. I start with one instrument so my first instrument will be so load in effect but then I bring in every other instrument in order importance to me is the song dictates so you could start with the drums. It could be the lead vocal and start bringing in one more instrument of time and I never mean the one that started with some on ly adding more tracks to it and as I add tracks I never really go back and so low much unless I'm looking for a problem there's something I cannot figure out what it is I might have to go hunting for it and so low but I will make my compression decisions with everything else in at the time because I want to hear you can how does compression help me achieve my goal in the mix? I don't need a great sounding snare drum by itself an awesomely compressed snare drum by itself does nobody any good because no one will hear that snare drum by itself that's not really world they will hear it alongside the rest of the drums alongside your vocals and guitars that's why the parallel processing is helpful for a moment maybe to dial in the compression settings and solis I can hear it smacking and if it hears any ringing or weird noise in the parallel processing, I'm like q it. But once I got that little effect set up, I go back to all my tracks in and then bring it up and decide. Is it enough or too much then because that's where we could hear the difference was in the context of the mix. So I was always making a mistake early on in my mixing life of working in solo, and that just does not help us. Well, seymour in tomorrow's session, we get into q that's. The worst thing you could do is e cuban solo compression a little more forgiving because we're not dealing with masking issues, which will talk about tomorrow, but I would stay away from solo as much as he possibly can, but don't you know, don't hold yourself to your hands or never tied. You can do whatever you need to do this a solo, but in there for a reason. It's very helpful. Click one thing zero in for a moment, but don't live their toe living solo land.

Class Description

Use compression and dynamics to their fullest potential.

In the Compression & Dynamics Master Class with Graham Cochrane you’ll learn basic compression concepts and how to apply them. Graham will teach you all about threshold, attack, release, ratio, makeup gain, peak, and RMS and how to control them in your mix. You’ll also learn how to use compression to control levels or use it as an effect.

You already know that compression matters to your mix, learn how to manage it with precision.


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