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Mixing Vocals with Compressor - Part 1

Lesson 18 from: Music Production in Logic Pro X: Vocal Mixing Essentials

Tomas George

Mixing Vocals with Compressor - Part 1

Lesson 18 from: Music Production in Logic Pro X: Vocal Mixing Essentials

Tomas George

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Lesson Info

18. Mixing Vocals with Compressor - Part 1

<b>In this lesson, we will explain the most fundamental parameters of the Logic Pro&#8217;s Compressor.</b>


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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

Mixing Vocals with Compressor - Part 1

Hi. In this video, I'm gonna show you how you can start using compression to help the vocals sit in the mix. So as you can see here, I've got a bit of a chain going on already. I've got a gain an EQ and a compressor. I had the compressor on there just doing some light compression when I was E Qing. But I'm gonna take that off now because that was just there to help me EQ a bit, but I'm gonna do the compression again now from scratch. So now let's have a listen to the vocal against the mix face. So see the tops of start to OK. So as you can hear, sometimes the vocal is quite present in the mix, but sometimes it falls back a bit and sometimes it actually pops out of the mix a little bit. Those variances in volume are known as dynamics compressors are used to adjust or tame the dynamics of a signal to help it stay more consistent compressors are also used for a myriad of other reasons as well for more sonic shaping of the sound. But for the reasons that we're gonna discuss in vocal mixing...

, we're gonna use a compressor to tame those variances in volume, the dynamics. So, like I said before, I had a compressor on when I was E Qing because when I'm E Qing, I like to have a bit of compression on after the EQ just so there isn't any massive changes in volume when I'm E Qing. But that was just a rough guide for me and now I'm gonna apply compression from scratch. So what I'm gonna do first is simply load a compressor after the channel EQ so I click here. Go to dynamics. I got a compressor stereo. OK? So this is logic compressor. And what I'm gonna do is just go over a handful of features that are best grasped first so that you can start compressing the vocals in the way that you need to. So let's pay attention first to threshold ratio and makeup gain. So the threshold is the level at which compression begins to give you an example. If I set the threshold to minus 10, anything in the signal that is over minus 10 decibels will start to get turned down. That process of turning it down towards the threshold level is known as gain reduction. OK? So if a signal came in at around minus eight or minus five, the compressor would turn it down to closer to the threshold level. The ratio is the amount of reduction that occurs above the threshold level. So for example, if we are at 2.0 to 1 for every two decibels above the threshold, the level will be reduced to one decibel over threshold. So, if the threshold is at minus 10, let's put this at minus 10 and then the signal came in at minus eight, minus eight is two DB above the threshold. It will get turned down to minus nine minus nine being one DB over the threshold. You don't have to think about it like that. That's way too much of a scientific way to think about these things, especially when mixing. You don't wanna think too scientifically like that, but you just need to know that that is what's happening and that's how it works. So that when you do start to apply compression, you know, of some good numbers to start out at personally, what I like to do is start with a really low ratio. So first of all, I'll set the threshold all the way to the top when the threshold's at zero, no compression happens unless of course, the signal going in is above zero, which it shouldn't be if you're practicing game staging beforehand anyway. So I'm gonna set the ratio to one point 5/1. So it's really, really gentle compression and then I'm going to play back the music, play back the mix and I'm gonna dial down the threshold until I feel like it's bringing down those louder moments in a way that is helping the vocal sit better in the mix. The first thing I'm gonna do though is turn off the auto gain. So the auto gain actually automatically compensates for the reduction that the compressor does. But I don't want it to do that for me. I I will use the makeup gain to compensate for those reductions, but I'll be doing that later. So let's have a listen face. The moment of see the tops start the of the how great. So I dialed down the threshold until the gain reduction needle here started to move in a way that was helping the vocals sit. It was bringing those louder moments down closer to the rest of the volume of the signal. So the gain reduction needle here, for example, if it flies over to minus five, that means it's applying five decibels of reduction, it's decreasing the gain by five to bring the signal closer to the threshold to make the signal more consistent in volume. Now, the next feature that we're gonna go to explore now that we've done a bit of reduction using the compressor is the makeup gain. So cos overall, this compression is actually making the whole thing a bit quieter, which can be fine if you don't need it to be louder. But for me to make a fair comparison between how it sounds compressed and how it sounds uncompressed. Ideally, there would be the same loudness so that my ears can be objective about how the compressor is affecting the sound itself. So let's play it through again. I'm gonna toggle the bypass of the compressor. I'm gonna use the makeup game to make sure that uncompressed and compressed are about the same loudness. The moments I feel like I'm see the tops start to believe. Ok, so this one decibel of makeup gain is fine. This is very gentle compression that we're doing anyway. So we only really needed that one decibel of makeup gain. But when it's much heavier compression, you are gonna likely need to compensate with more makeup gain and you just do that by ear by toggling the bypass and using the makeup game to make them match. So that's how we use threshold ratio and makeup gain in order to compress the vocals in a way that help it sit better in the mix. Thanks for watching, I'll see you in the next video.

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