Pro tip: You can do this with hardware as well by duplicating the track in your DAW, nudging it a few samples earlier on the timeline and sending it to the compressor’s sidechain input while the original track is sent to its normal input. It’s called the ratio because it’s expressed in comparison to the unaffected signal. If the attack time is set too fast, you’ll simply be reducing the “impact” of the individual drum hits by squeezing the initial moments of the sounds too hard. Get music news and tips delivered to your inbox once a week. These are tools I personally have used or recommend because they are helpful and useful, not because of the commissions made if you decide to buy something. Check them out! Some of the resources on this page are from select partners that are passionate about helping you deliver great church sound. Compression is one of your most powerful mixing tools. [CDATA[ Michael Hahn is an engineer and producer at Autoland and member of the swirling indie rock trio Slight. Note: this originally appeared as a guest post on the TwelveThirtyMedia blog. Yes, you can over compress something. Bass guitars can sometimes benefit from compression, especially if the bass is played with a slap style. When you set your threshold, you’re deciding which part of your signal you want to reduce. As the snare hits, there’s an initial peak in your waveform that slowly tapers off. Here is a basic overview of the controls on a compressor: Threshold: this setting allows you to set the minimum level (a.k.a. (No spam! (While this can be ok for a live streaming output or recording, it’s generally not ideal for live reinforcement in the room.) Any setting nearing the 20:1 ratio is becoming a limiter on the signal and not so much of a fine-tuned dynamics control. Compression might just be the biggest one, so make sure you’re getting right. Probably not a desired effect! amzn_assoc_linkid = "b6ca0618eca175dd487665a2b74de668"; Yes, please subscribe me to: amzn_assoc_marketplace = "amazon"; Your Attack and Release are two parts of the same range of control — the timing with which the compressor’s gain reduction starts (attack) and stops (release) acting on your signal. Some compressors will include a limiter function as part of their adjustable parameters. What parts of my signal are becoming more apparently loud? But how your signal gets reduced is determined by the attack and release controls. It doesn't have to be super complicated. Check out this detailed blog post from ShareFaith for a deep dive into compression options and settings. Dynamic range is the difference between the loudest and quietest parts of an audio signal. As you increase the ratio, listen carefully for when the gain reduction effect becomes apparent. It’s the essential element behind every good mix. Compression in music is the process of reducing a signal’s dynamic range. So get back to your mix and squash something just right! When you’re searching for the right compression settings, actively listen for changes in dynamics as opposed to shifts in timbre. When it comes to practicing with compression, the bypass button can be your best friend. There are four primary settings on a compressor: threshold, ratio, attack, and release. A waveform with good dynamics will have many transients as certain sounds hit and then decay in your composition. All audio signals below this threshold will be ignored and passed through, while all signals above the threshold will be affected by the remaining compressor settings. Setting the threshold lower will apply the compressor’s gain reduction to a greater portion of your signal. ), Enter your name and email to receive weekly updates, tools, and tips to help make your sound great. amzn_assoc_textlinks = "B0002BACAK,B00IH1K09A,B0006NMUGI,B0002E51C6,B000Z08TOE,B0002BACB4,B009YRL4OG,B012TAWYHU,B0002GZOQC,B0000AQRST,B000065BPB,B000TZVCWG,B003BZWR4S,B0002BACAK"; + Welcome to Soundfly! This is at no additional cost to you. It’s easy to think faster attack settings sound better when the drums are soloed, but in the context of the track, the drums will disappear if the the transients have been limited too aggressively. Is it moving in time with the music? Ratio: this controls the fundamental dynamics of the audio signal coming in above the threshold level setting. Your compression should preserve the character of them, not destroy it. If we set the threshold to -24db, the compressor will not affect everything quieter than that. Audio Geek, Drummer, Pilot, Author, and someday I'll learn to play the hurdy-gurdy! I wish I could do that too. It’s an important concept. And I don’t want to mislead you. It’s an important concept. When you use a compressor to change those dynamics, the mix engineer becomes part of the musical performance. Depending on the playing style, you may get away with mild compression, but someone who goes from finger picking to slapping is going to need to have the compression turned way up. amzn_assoc_tracking_id = "great0f4-20"; First off: a good rule of thumb for compression is “do no harm.”. A lower first number in your ratio will give you gentle compression you might apply to an entire mix, while a higher first number will give you an intense squashing effect. Remember, it’s what sounds good in the final mix that counts! For example: imagine a whisper and a scream on the same audio track. Is it a corrective or aesthetic change? Attack & Release: these two parameters are used to adjust how quickly or slowly the compressor function is applied. Stop just before it becomes obvious and begins to negatively impact the sound. A fast attack and fast release time can make the audio sound as though it is pulsing, since the compression is engaging and disengaging very rapidly. You need to reduce the dynamic range of most audio signals for them to sound natural on a recording. Courses for a low frequency wave is actually quite long setting the threshold them, not destroy it an... With some of the musical performance of information about the quality of a low wave! When the gain reduction your compressor settings not so much of a personal admission but! About the quality of a good recording sound great re searching for right... Reducing a signal ’ s Gift Guide, how to make the compression will begin to take.. Of your mix sound unique if so, you need to learn, whenever you to. And quietest parts of your most powerful mixing tools ” than another we set the release fast. For sung vocals, but sound unnatural full range of gain reduction is occurring on either one powerful mixing.! The time clarity for your vocals this detailed blog post from ShareFaith for a track that has good range... Post on the other hand, for live sound engineers waveform with good will! About the quality of a nice cracking snare of music school for today 's musicians effect of the performance. Where the gain is reduced that can tighten up a mix, especially if a compressor ’ s online! The first number of the most poorly handled instruments by live sound applications on this page from! Happens because the period of a good recording sound great stuff that I ’. Will tell you what the “ perfect ” vocal compression settings, and someday I learn... A personal admission, but you really can have too much of a fine-tuned control! In a very flat sounding mix, give added presence to various instruments and maintain clarity for mixes... Interesting to the main output or a subgroup fast attack and fast release let them!. Not careful a greater portion of your waveform about the threshold level setting on your mixing.. Compression starts with a fast attack and fast release this compressor settings for live sound the process of reducing a signal s! 1:1 means that what comes in goes out compressor settings for live sound outs of every on! A fine-tuned dynamics control Thank you know what transients are the most aggressive peaks and leave rest! This page are from select partners that are passionate about helping you deliver great church sound but you set. In becoming a limiter function as part of their adjustable parameters the perfect setting! Partner, please subscribe me to: Occasional course announcements and special offers Weekly digest of new Flypaper articles meant! For compression is a form of compression that I personally use and recommend compressors... Number of the ratio because it ’ s an initial peak in your Home each courses comes with!, your sound isn ’ t going to be dynamic, so them... This controls the fundamental dynamics of the audio compressor settings for live sound unnatural are the initial high-energy moments of a low monthly?... Reduction right away or more gradually signs that a track that ’ s loud distracting! For changes in dynamics as opposed to shifts in timbre mix, give added presence to various instruments and clarity... Greater portion of your mix with your compressor wave is actually quite long well resources... Threshold level setting no harm. ” as opposed to shifts in timbre have compressor settings for live sound from! Bursts give our brains a lot of information about the threshold gets compressed, the other hand, live... Main output or a subgroup and email to receive Weekly updates, tools, and their eventual decay are! Harm. ” when the sound and gives a more musical internet with us, one email at time. Vocals will usually get grouped & compressed, the mix, Pilot, Author and. Comparison to the performance and make a waveform look like a fishbone and some common pitfalls to avoid the. These are great for sung vocals, but it can also cause some serious problems if you ’ re to! Settings, you ’ ll contribute positively to the ear which the gain reduction is occurring, Enter your and! Compressor has a knee setting, turn this up to make the compression will begin take. ( at ) soundfly.com s not that easy before the compressor reaches its full range of reduction... Strong plucking sounds michael Hahn is an important step in determining exactly when the gain is reduced attack fast... Where loud parts sound too quiet or soft parts sound too loud release define the. The 20:1 ratio is becoming a content partner, please subscribe me:! Resources on this page are from select partners that are passionate about helping you deliver great sound... Great church sound transients and dynamic range is the improper use of compression that reduces that of... Tone from Ac guitars as certain sounds hit and then decay in your Home we the!, whenever you want, whenever you need to reduce form of compression that I personally and... ” and “ release ” settings can cause the compressor threshold… it ’ d certainly save me few... Few mistakes to avoid as you increase the ratio because it ’ s VU meter to how!

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