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Compression - Distortion and Limiting

Lesson 21 from: Music Production in Logic Pro X: Vocal Mixing Essentials

Tomas George

Compression - Distortion and Limiting

Lesson 21 from: Music Production in Logic Pro X: Vocal Mixing Essentials

Tomas George

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Lesson Info

21. Compression - Distortion and Limiting

<b>In this lesson, we will explain how to use the distortion feature in Logic Pro&#8217;s Compressor</b>


Class Trailer

Introduction and Welcome to this Class


Project Organization


Faders and Panning


Flex Pitch - Vocals


Flex Time - Vocals


Editing Studio Drums


Song Mix Deconstruct - Mixing Drum Kit Designer


Mixing Files


Lesson Info

Compression - Distortion and Limiting

Hi. In this video, I'm gonna explore the last handful of features of logic pro compressor. So I've already got quite a few compressors going on here. Don't be phased by that in any way. They're all doing very gentle compression and they've just been where I've been experimenting with different types of compression and different flavors and so forth. What I'm gonna do now is load one more, but I'm not really gonna use this as a compressor. I'm gonna use this as a limiter and as a distortion plug in. So first of all, I turn off the auto gain, turn off the auto release dial that down, dial that down 1 to 1 ratio and zero threshold means no compression. What I'm gonna do is explore the limiter and the distortion. So let's start with the limiter. OK. So I turned on the limiter but it had no effect on the sound. The little red led next to it didn't go off. And the reason is simply because the signal hasn't crossed the threshold, the threshold is at zero. If I turn it down to minus 10, we pro...

bably still won't get any limiting. But let's have a look, there's a tiny bit of activity going on in the limiter there to get more going on. What I'm actually gonna do is turn down the output gain so that I can turn up the input gain. Be careful when doing this at home, always turn down the output first before you turn up the input. And we should get quite a bit more peak limited now. OK. So there's a lot of activity going on there probably too much. If I only want to catch the odd peak, I need to now turn up the threshold of the limiter to start of the love. So, OK, so you can quite clearly see the limits are going off there as the input signal crosses the threshold, which is currently at minus one. Now, if you're practicing good gain staging early in the mix process, I can't think of many reasons you would use the limiter, not just the built in limiter in the compressor, but this early on in the process, if you give yourself loads of headroom, you don't need to worry about peak levels because you have the headroom to accommodate for those. But that is the inbuilt limiter in logic pro compressor anyway, just in case you have the odd really random peak going on and it's way above everything else and you just need to control that one or two peaks. You can use the built in limits for that. Let's now explore the distortion that's available to us in logic pros compressor, I've already turned up the input and turned down the output already. So distortion should be quite audible depending on which one we choose. OK. So the input is at a good level for distortion is hitting around like minus two or minus three from what I saw there. So let's see what it sounds like when we switch it from off to soft, suffer in the top the start of you of the. OK. So with soft distortion, it's normally a bit louder, which is fine, but I need to compensate for that. So I'm gonna turn down the makeup game by about three DB. See where, where that lands us. OK? So now it's roughly at the same loudness in terms of with and without self distortion. But what I need to do now is just turn up the output gain a little bit because it's getting lost in the mix now. So minus seven. However, if you're using the output gain, you're still gonna be at the mercy of the difference in loudness when you toggle the bypass. So what I'm gonna do is instead use the gain after the compressor and turn it up a bit so that it's still quite present in the mix. OK? So there's definitely a bit of bite to the vocal. Now, that's been introduced by the soft distortion. Let's see what it sounds like with hard distortion on to ST of love. So as you saw and heard there, I had to recompensing the makeup gain for the hard distortion. That's something I kind of wish that logic kind of did in the background. It kind of knew the relative loudness of the different distortions and compensated for me, but unless it doesn't, OK. And now let's see what it sounds like with clip distortion on. So clipping distortion is basically when you just cross zero, it cuts off the waveform. So imagine a, a nice circular sort of waveform as it hits zero as it gets louder, the top of the waveform gets higher and then it crosses zero and zero, just chops it off and it starts to become a square wave. When you deform a smooth waveform like that, you create new harmonics. So you create this brighter but harsher sound. OK? Now, because this is a clipping distortion, not much is gonna happen below zero. So I'm going to dial down the output by only about five D be this time and I'll up the inputs by five again. Please be careful doing this at home. OK. So it is clipping above zero now, but because it's only clipping by a little bit and in very short intervals, it's barely audible. So let's push it even further just to get that clipping sound. It's rare that you're gonna want a clipping sound in vocals, but it's good to know what it sounds like. And it's good to know where it is? Ok. So we're definitely getting that almost fuzzy sound that you get from clipping distortion probably won't use it on vocals nine out of 10 times. But there's a lot of things that you might wanna use it on, such as maybe your final bus if you're, if you'd like to mix that way or drums or what have you, whether that be soft, hard or clipping distortion, soft, you know, I will use on vocals quite a bit just to give it a bit of edge, give it a bit of bites at the top, but clipping is very aggressive and sometimes works great on drums. Now, the last feature I'd like to explore here, which is actually quite useful. Now that we've done all of this hard distortion is the mix feature. So the mix feature basically allows you to mix the uncompressed or the unaffected signal against the affected signal. And right now we're at 100% affected signal, we're at 100% output. So the output is the output of the compressor, the processing that we're doing inside here, which right now is distortion and the input is just what's going in now that I've done all of this lovely distortion. I'm thinking that's great. I'm at the distortion that I want, but I wanna turn down the distortion or if I was doing compression, I just wanna turn down the compression against the uncompressed. So I simply dial down a mix to start of. So that basically just allows me at the last minute to adjust the mix between input and output. Thank you for watching and I'll see you in the next video.

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