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Basic Compression Techniques

Lesson 15 from: Mixing Electronic Music In Ableton Live

Isaac Cotec

Basic Compression Techniques

Lesson 15 from: Mixing Electronic Music In Ableton Live

Isaac Cotec

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Lesson Info

15. Basic Compression Techniques

Lesson Info

Basic Compression Techniques

I'm gonna move over into specific examples of compression. Uh, but before that, I mean it. Just review the idea of it and then answer any questions you guys have on this specific knobs or parameters. So a compressor like I was talking about helps you control volumes. It can help you in vocals and instruments, can smooth out levels and really helps with the perceived loudness by squashing it in a way. And then you can bring it back ups. You're getting more sound for the same actual output level. Let's look at this and more of a practical setting, right? Well, uh, without even we'll shrink that you can't see it. If I had some drums that I was trying to effect, what do you guys think I would do for the drums? Like, let's say I'm trying to let it still be punchy, but bring up kind of the quieter ghost knows by the quieter hits, Not even looking at a compressor. Just tell me the quality. Like what? What I don't want to do medium attacked and, uh, I guess sort of medium, medium, everything m...

edium threshold. But I don't know about the race here. I feel like I want to be really careful. Teoh. Like it sounds like there's something very specific in mind and trying to bring the ghost. It's up because of drums. I do not want to also have that affect the rest of the drums. Like I don't want o make the kicks come through a little hotter or less interesting than they were originally. Yeah, totally. Well, if yeah, so is great. It was a great ideas. Um, let's say I have this one here. Right where I have. If I look at that, I've got lots of peaks, but I have these quieter parts. Well, if I want to bring up just the ghost notes right and not affect the the peaks too much, I actually would have a faster attack. Because then I bring up the volume of everything else, and I'm lowering those attacks and bringing it all up, right? So I think that answer is more of kind of your perspective. If I just do that quicker. Attack released to be somewhat quick. And then I bring up the output alone. So I slightly brought up the volume of those ghost notes. Probably like one or two decibel. But I'm not affecting to my did affect the transience. There's no like compression just does that. It affects transients. For better or worse, you've got to be careful. But it did kind of get what I was hoping for. So I guess my question when it really comes, the compressors is that that made a lot of sense when you were playing that audio track, right, because you kind of don't have control of the very sounds. But if we were dealing with a track that was a MIDI track, why would I not just go and just change the volumes of the components rather than add the compressor? That's a great, uh, thing to ask, because any time you can change the original sound, you definitely should. If you could get the drummer to not play. That kick is loud to balance out his mix. Awesome. You don't always have that, and that's the thing. Like when we actually get into compression. It is a tool best not used. It is very specific for bringing out things. Now when you're volumes air good, you shouldn't have to use that much compression. But there might be instances where you need to like this drum, bringing up those ghost notes or let's say it's the other way around where I want to. Ah, I wanna have Mawr dynamic range in my drums where I want the peaks to come out a little bit more. Then I would turn up my attack more of what you are saying. And then I get those transients to come through, and then the part that's being squashed is more of the quieter parts. So I'm just kind of like lowering those and vice versa, just using those all those parameters to get that desired effect, right? And just really quickly. I'm gonna look at some of these other ones, so we have vocals, and if I show this vocal, let's play it well, turn it off implant. I want to travel. Lay back in the gym, Mamba Free show you things that you never seen. But you just have to go with me. So there's a peak right here, and this is from Holly Thornton, who's both an amazing teacher at piano and the other things here in Seattle. You can check her out. Holly Thornton. She worked with me on a few tracks, but this right here is my problem. That volume, it's just peaks. So if I just have a slight amount of compression, you know it doesn't needed the tack. Doesn't matter. All that much puts, you know, like a medium attack medium release and just a little bit of ratio. Then I'm gonna get that little amount that I need to balance it out. And if we look at it, this was pre, and this is post that effect. See that difference? It just barely brought down those peaks. When I go to post hoops, it's weird looking at that screen. Uh, so that's pre and that's post very subtle. And that's, I think, a more appropriate use for compression. And then when we look at louder vocals, the difference here is if I it's the same vocal I want you to travel with, may lay back and that your mom a free show. It's subtle when I turn it on, but now I have a higher ratio, so I'm getting much more pumped volume out of it, especially if I lowered my ratio, which I did. And if we compare the two pre post, actually, it could go up to where those peaks were pre and post. See how I'm just getting an overall volume jump? Yeah, which is really good for vocals. Especially if you have a dynamic singer. A little touch of compression is gonna go long ways, but the key is is a little touch. It's not, like, super obvious gonna have these other settings based control, which is a very high ratio. A decent attack, like a mid attack. Mid release. Now, what do you guys think I'm doing with this? What do you think these settings air for? What would happen? You would let the initial sound through? Yeah, and then totally squish anything after that. Right down. Yes and no, um, it is going to squish everything yet. Sure you're right there. Yeah, but the main reason I'm having this is as you'll see between the two is I'm trying to flatten it, But keep that initial hit, so yeah, Yeah, you're right. Basically, um, so I'm getting the initial transient, but I'm controlling specifically right in here. Ah, let's double look at it right in that. After that transient, it gets a little bit louder and then comes down, so based control means I'm coming through and just flattening a little bit. So it's not as like crazy volumes. That's another good case of using base. And I'll just quickly look at this and then we'll kind of move on with the guitar. I'm having 3 to ratio. So not that big. A medium attack meaning released, just a little bit of a touch. And what this is going to do is, if I look at this pre post, I'm just taking control of those peaks just a little bit and bringing up the under part right subtle pre post, and that's what that is. So you also with this class, get this. You can both listen to what I did. Turn these parameters on and off, play with them and get the presets, because these are great presets for vocals, drums and so on. One of my key things here I'm trying to show you guys, is it subtle really is, and it's going to help your overall mix when you're getting a little bit more perceived volume out of all the parts, the overall track will sound a lot smoother and a lot better. Great, Um, let me see? So before we go into advanced compression, I'm just gonna quickly look at your mix to give you some ideas, Theo. One of the biggest things I noticed, cause when I'm looking at this is actually you have compressors you aren't using, which is common. It's the threshold never hit. Well, one thing you might notice is these are actually pretty quiet. Remember, we talked about volume gain gain structure. So the first thing I do in my game structures, turn that up. Then when I look at my compressor, if I were to compress, I would put that up. I could turn this down a little. Now, you guys know the parameters. You just ask yourself what I want here, right? Do I want the initial hits to come through like the peaks? I don't no longer the breath in this in the let the slow release yet to be sustained longer, right? And if you look at the wave form, it's kind of it's almost backwards because the sound seems to get louder at the end. Yeah, some of them that could be come yet. Like here. Yeah, we're here. That's common within flutes because, uh, Well, I mean, it's any instrument. It depends how you play it, like, I guess. Well, uh, you know, if your breathing into it harder and harder or whatever it might be, um, So if I wanted this sustained more than I have a longer release, kind of a quicker attack. So it's gonna hit notice the initial hit and then last a little bit longer in terms of its compression. So it specifically help with that, right? And then you would set your ratio whatever would be good, which you probably don't want too much. But notice if I play right here, never hits that threshold. Right? But that's why we have a long ratio. Because it will during that section, a little bit more. And I could go even, Let's bring down the threshold. So I probably got one or two db out of just that part. Cool. Now we're really understanding how to use this to to our advantage. Uh, another instance on your track would be like trying to see because you have few compressors on here. I think this is another one that might not have up note. This one is being used. Yeah, sometimes I'll load a compressor on just Teoh for gain, and I won't even you. Oh, yeah, Yeah. That's utility. Yeah, especially cause you might as soon as this part hits, it's a lot louder and you are compressing right, Which you just got to ask yourself, why? Why are you compressing less is better. But what I would say is using a little compression on your main drums. Um, actually, no, No. The example I was thinking was your, uh, Jim Bay. So what's happening with his djembe? Here is there's two tracks and if I zoom in, you'll notice Well, one that they're really quiet. Just to show this off, I'm gonna delete these AutoNation's turn these guys up just so we can actually see what's happening here and turn them down there so you can see how it's very helpful right now if I There's instances where these two are hitting at the same time and they're gonna create a volume jump compared to the rest. And that is why having just a little subtle compression on that track will kind of glue those peaks together. I'll talk about glue compressor shortly, but if I put in a compressor. You already have one. I'm just gonna delete it for now because I'm looking to just control the peaks. I want a fast attack, medium release, high ratio. I'm just taking care of those little spikes that happened once in a while, and that's why it kind of feels a little glued. I can even turn up the ratio just a little to make it kind of keep the sustain relief. I don't know why I'm doing that today. There we go. That's that's a nice little gluing of that. That part lots of practical is going on there, and we could literally spent all day compressing all these different parts or not telling you Why not to compress them. But I want to be open for any questions before we move into advanced compression techniques We do have. Do you guys have questions but that we think we have some from online when when to use Peak and went to use our mess in the compressor also went to use linear. And when Hughes log arrhythmic curves so great well, so Peak is paying his engine a peak, right? It's paying attention to transience. It's really good for drums. It's really good for things that are happening attacking quickly. RMS is much better. That's average. So if you play this look, it's not even seeing those peaks, because the average volume is now what it's paying attention to to create the compression president peaks that specifically the peak. This is much better for vocals, right? Or pads, maybe a chortled guitars or something like that. A Sfar as the envelope log more thick versus linear. Um, I don't switch between these that often. So I'm going to tell you guys a trick, which is there's a lot of information toe learn here. My word. And you always have the same phone view, this little square. You could go right next to it and give you a little information about what this is because there's things. I'm not gonna go over here. I'm not gonna go over look ahead that much. I might a little later, but there's so many different. We've gone over most of this, but there's so many little things on stuff. Just open up info view and see it. So linear log. Horrific trigger, uh, toggles. The compressors released between linear and long. Horrific. Um amount Log mode sharply compresses, peaks, while the faster release time, then less compressed material. This can result in smoother and less noticeable compression. In linear mode. I'm pretty sure that's the difference. And if you're looking a spectrum analyzer, you have Weimer thick versus linear, right? It's that same idea and it's just looking at that in terms of its it's peaks. Right? So I would say, uh, vertical access represents output levels dragged. I'm looking at the wrong one that, um, yeah, I would just go by. What? What they say long graphic mode is much better for compressed peaks with faster releases. Yeah, I I honestly don't even switch between the two. OK? Yeah, I just sticking linear. Cool. Um, in which parameter do you just first, when you're setting your compressors in which one do you do last? You do it in the order you just showed, like, uh, yeah, generally. I mean, I need to know the threshold. Yep. First, where it's yeah, where it's gonna happen. And even just seeing the threshold lets me know what's happening. Oh, it's obviously a peak thing. So let me put it into Peak. Great. Now that we know it's a peak. What I want to do with the peak and so on. I do think it's best to come at this with some some forethought of what do I really want out of this sound? If you come at your compression that way, you're going to get what you want. Oh, I want the peaks to be lowered and I want the sustains to be longer. Okay, well, then I have ah, quick attack and longer release and the threshold you just kind of I mean, that's just playing around with it. Tell us, right? Generally, I'd say, Start with threshold, get your release, Tackle it ratio. You're gonna bounce around a little bit and then maybe turn it back just a little bit more than you expect. That's just the general rule. In any effect, turn up the reverb all the way and then dial it back a little. I noticed when you load your compressor and makeup gain isn't automatically on. But when I load mine in its always on else well, that has this awesome thing, right? Click save as default. So if I saved his default now, every time I dragging a compressor it's that setting, right? Resident. If I did that, it seems default compressive. Yeah, that'll help. I think you're just making people's lives so much easier. Yeah, just minute by minute things. Little things, right? It is the little things.

Class Materials

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Drum Placement
Frequency Worksheet
Read Me - Mixing with Ableton Live
Sharing Tracks
Ableton Live Pack

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Ratings and Reviews

Jose Gerardo Rendon Santana

Excellent Course, Isaac Cotec is a great instructor and a great producer. The course is very well organized explaining each important step of the mix. as well as great tips and techniques. He also includes a great deal of support material with the course including an Ableton Live Pack with tons of great presets and tools to put to practice the knowledge acquired in the course.

a Creativelive Student

Isaac covers an amazing amount of material in a clear and concise way. Great intro to mixing with Ableton or review for the intermediate user who wants to solidify their best practices, DAW knowledge as well as gain some production tips.

Ian turner

this is the best thing money can buy in my life. Isaac makes it look easy and the way he teaches makes you understand everything and makes it easy for you as well. its exactly what i wanted to learn in each video! i cant even sleep because another video loads and im like "ohhhh i need it" lol. i thank god for this class being affordable and the real deal.

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