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Lunahorum
08-23-2009, 06:42 AM
I don't like FL's compressor very much. Are there any good free ones or priced ones (sub $100) that you could recommend?

Thanks!

edit: I found camelphatfree and it's cool, but I want more tweakability rather than one compression slider. http://www.kvraudio.com/get/537.html

I still don't think I have a real handle on what I am doing with compression. It seems to always sound more dynamical and poppy without a compressor. I have tried fussing around with one on a solo kick drum track and I can't really hear what it is doing. Does anyone have a guide to compression with audio examples? I really don't want to read about "compressing for that tight sound" or something. I want to hear it. That would be so so helpful. Thanks again

Just to clarify, I understand all the theory about the compressor, and I know how to use one to limit the dynamic range (minus attack/release/controls) for funk guitar so the ghost notes and fully hit notes are closer in volume. How do I use one to expand the dynamic range and get more oomph or click or pop or w/e? Can I use a slow attack time so it takes a second for the volume to cut down or do I need to get an expander? Like on a metal kick drum, is there some multiband compression high (8kish??) with slow attack that generates that clicking sound?

2nd edit: To clarify, I have a fairly good understanding and little experience with the techniques used on bass, vocals, clean guitar, sidechaining a bass/pad to a kick to pump it on the off beats, and limiting the track as a whole, but I have no idea how to compress a drum track, a single drum element or whole mix properly. I can hear it changing the sound of the drums and such a little bit, but how exactly do I use the compressor to make drums sound better? What are the standard artistic options available with compressors?

for example, one thing I've always wondered how to do is make a techno style hi hat sound right. On the tracks I've listened to, there is an initial attack then the sound of the cymbal decaying is ramped way up in volume so you hear a TIK aaahhHAHHHH TIK aaahhAAHHHH And the final AAAAHHHs are the soft part of the cymbal turned up in volume. It has something to do a fast release time I think, but how do I possibly make it go back up to match the volume of the TIK when the volume of the TIK was what started the compressing in the first place? Or is this a clever sidechain trick?

Sorry for the newb questions. Just trying to learn

Thanks

Harmony
08-23-2009, 06:29 PM
Since I’m not entirely sure what you do or don’t understand, I’ll take a stab at a few points and hope I say something helpful in the process.
I don't like FL's compressor very much. Are there any good free ones or priced ones (sub $100) that you could recommend?If I’m thinking of the right FL compressor, I don’t like it either…it doesn’t have enough visual feedback. I don’t have a free one to recommend, but I’d look for one with an input/output graph, some input/output meters, and a gain reduction meter. Those are really critical IMO. Although it’s not the best, I like the Sonitus compressor that comes with Sonar.

I have tried fussing around with one on a solo kick drum track and I can't really hear what it is doing. Does anyone have a guide to compression with audio examples?
Like on a metal kick drum,... that clicking sound?
I like visual examples, but I’ll give the audio too. I took an acoustic kick and ran it through the compressor at a few different settings. I adjusted the gain each time to have each test run peak at 0dB for a fair comparison. I’ll use the track numbers for reference (from top to bottom)
http://terpconnect.umd.edu/~blbush/Music/Compression/Untitled-1.jpg

7: clean kick (http://terpconnect.umd.edu/~blbush/Music/Compression/track-raw%20kick-3.wav)
The top ruler shows milliseconds; this sample is about 500ms long

8: Attack 2.5ms, Release 4000ms, Thresh -10dB, Ratio 30:1 (http://terpconnect.umd.edu/~blbush/Music/Compression/track-a2_5_r4000_t10-1.wav)
To see how you can get more click in the kick I’ve taken a fast attack time so that you only hear the first couple of ms before the volume is reduced. To effectively get a greater reduction and chop off more of the tail of the kick I’ll progressively lower the threshold. Here you can see that the tail reduces it’s amplitude a little faster than in the clean case.

9: Attack 2.5ms, Release 4000ms, Thresh -20dB, Ratio 30:1 (http://terpconnect.umd.edu/~blbush/Music/Compression/track-a2_5_r4000_t20-2.wav)
Lower threshold emphasizes the initial click more and you can see an even faster reduction in the tail amplitude.

10: Attack 2.5ms, Release 4000ms, Thresh -30dB, Ratio 30:1 (http://terpconnect.umd.edu/~blbush/Music/Compression/track-a2_5_r4000_t30-4.wav)
Even lower threshold and you can basically only see/hear the initial clicky attack. What’s left can be eq’d to give a little more punch (for example, high pass at 50Hz, 10dB 3.0Q peak at 100Hz (http://terpconnect.umd.edu/~blbush/Music/Compression/eqtrack-a2_5_r4000_t30.wav)).

11: Attack 2.5ms, Release 200ms, Thresh -30dB, Ratio 30:1 (http://terpconnect.umd.edu/~blbush/Music/Compression/track-a2_5_r200_t30-5.wav)
Taking the same settings as the previous example, we could also want to emphasize the tail. Just bring down the release and let the volume come back in. This is helped by adding gain so that the original tail (as well as the rest of the signal) is amplified. Note how you see/hear much more of the tail and you pick up the click and the boom.

12: Attack 0.0ms, Release 100ms, Thresh -34.6dB, Ratio 30:1 (http://terpconnect.umd.edu/~blbush/Music/Compression/track-a0_0_r100_t34_6-6.wav)
An extreme effect would be to kill the decay of the kick altogether and get the click, the boom, and any ringing all near the same volume. Here I’ve taken the attack to 0ms which cuts the volume down immediately. That is compensated for by the gain to get it back to 0dB. The result, as you can see, is a signal that does not decay until after the release time has expired. Now you can hear all of the intricacies, from hi freq to low, in this simple kick.

techno style hi hat
Using those same ideas, you can get a hi-hat to do what you described. However, what you hear in the final product is probably a combo of compression on the hi-hat, compression on the drum track, compression on the entire track, side-chaining, etc, etc….

How do I use one to expand the dynamic rangeYou would need an expander (oddly enough :P). You could also use a compressor with a ratio of less than 1:1 (like 0.1:1), but I don't think I've seen any of those.

http://terpconnect.umd.edu/~blbush/Music/Compression/Untitled-2.jpg

Above is the old Cakewalk expander. Note that the knee is on the lower left of the plot, as opposed to the upper right as in a typical compressor. What this means is that you are adjusting the level of quieter sounds, as opposed to adjusting the louder sounds with the compressor. You expand the dynamic range with an expander by making quiet sounds quieter.

but how exactly do I use the compressor to make drums sound better?Invalid question! Use it when you need it, how you need it. If you want fewer dynamics, you know how to do that. If you want to bring up the quieter notes in a drum solo, you can do that. If you’ve got a snare that just overpowers everything, you can compress the track and bring its volume down. If you don’t need to compress it, don’t. You don’t always need that tool, just like you don’t always need a hammer to build something.

Lunahorum
08-23-2009, 07:31 PM
wow that was so unbelievably helpful!!! You sir, win the internets. I just went and tried this stuff out on a solo kick drum track and now I have a way better idea of what is going on. Thanks so much. And I did it with the fruity compressor. The visual feedback was really helpful to cue me into what to listen for. I truly truly appreciate the work you did to help me out.

avaris
08-23-2009, 07:32 PM
An important thing with a compressor when applying settings and make-up gain is one simple thing:

The gain reduction meter should flash similar to a blinking eye. Look at how many db's it's reducing the signal by. Then apply make-up gain to increase the db's by that amount. This should give you a nice natural round compression that should increase harmonics and overall volume without killing the dynamics.

For an individual sound source a ratio of 4:1 is probably the safest place to start. Also if your compressor has a setting to automatically change the release setting just use that instead of manually putting in the value.

Harmony
08-23-2009, 07:42 PM
Thanks so much..You're welcome :)

Then apply make-up gain to increase the db's by that amount. No disagreement here, but the problem I usually have with the GR meters is that the don't measure true peaks. They use an RMS value (I guess), which doesn't help me at all if I'm trying to use the meter to exactly make up for whatever gets cut in the compression stage. Not sure if that's similar with all compressors or just the ones I've used, but I wish it was standard to have an option to change that.

Fishy
08-23-2009, 09:38 PM
Jeez man, 30:1?

A typical limiter is a compressor with a ratio of 20:1, not sure thats a great example ratio (although I suppose it does give something a bit more visual when you look at the waveform).

Also an alright free compressor: http://www.kjaerhusaudio.com/classic-series.php

Some other goodies in there too.

avaris
08-23-2009, 11:14 PM
Wow that's surprising that the Cakewalk compressors don't allow you to switch views from Peak to RMS.

I've never really found anything definitive in terms of RMS values on individual tracks.

The stuff that fishy linked is pretty good shizz. (they got some other plugs too)


These are some pretty awesome plugs too: (don't know if they'll work on the newer versions of windows)

http://www.digitalfishphones.com/main.php?item=2&subItem=5

Lunahorum
08-24-2009, 12:41 AM
ok I downloaded all the freebies. I look forward to trying them out. Does anyone by chance know how to make the FL studio vst search more organized? Having a hundred plugins in alphabetical order mildly sucks

Harmony
08-24-2009, 03:03 AM
Jeez man, 30:1?Yeah, it was primarily for visual and auditory effect. But also, I don't like to give people these ideas about what "typical" compressors are because then, instead of playing with the thing until they have enough control over it to make it sound the way they want, they start at these "typical" values and then wonder why they can't get the sound they want with the settings that "everyone else uses." It can be counterproductive in a didactic sense.

From the little experience I've had with it, I like the sounds of the kjaerhus compressor but my problem with it, as some might guess, is that it doesn't have any meters :-/ Sorta the same thing with the fishphones ones. Spitfish is, however, awesome in every way :)

Jayy Austin
08-24-2009, 03:57 AM
ok I downloaded all the freebies. I look forward to trying them out. Does anyone by chance know how to make the FL studio vst search more organized? Having a hundred plugins in alphabetical order mildly sucks

Yea, I know. Sometimes I get lost in my vsti list too, unfortunately that's about how organized FL gets.

When my list gets way too full with freebie plugins, I just delete the ones I never use...
since you've got hundreds of plugins I'm sure there's some stuff in there that you don't use.

Fishy
08-24-2009, 10:06 AM
Yeah, it was primarily for visual and auditory effect. But also, I don't like to give people these ideas about what "typical" compressors are because then, instead of playing with the thing until they have enough control over it to make it sound the way they want, they start at these "typical" values and then wonder why they can't get the sound they want with the settings that "everyone else uses." It can be counterproductive in a didactic sense.

Fair enough but I think its worth giving at least a wild guideline on whats excessive; Or noting that the values you're using are for maximum audiovisual effect for demonstration purposes and rarely used. Not doing so might make people think 30:1 is the typical value, which r crazy.

Harmony
08-24-2009, 01:29 PM
whats excessive
typical value
which r crazy
but....it's music!

Fishy
08-24-2009, 01:42 PM
lol, I was half expecting that response, and you're right.

I know ultimately you can do what you want cause there are no wrong answers, but most people don't want to just outright remove any semblance of dynamics from their music. If you do, then 30:1 all you like :p.

Harmony
08-24-2009, 05:01 PM
most people don't want to just outright remove any semblance of dynamics from their musicHa, that reminds me of how my friends and I used to joke that as music becomes more perfected, quantized, and computerized, eventually a "song" will be just be 4 mins of a sine wave at a particular frequency.

beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep

"And that was the new joint '676.56Hz' from Kanye West III"

rig1015
08-25-2009, 12:15 AM
Ha, that reminds me of how my friends and I used to joke that as music becomes more perfected, quantized, and computerized, eventually a "song" will be just be 4 mins of a sine wave at a particular frequency.

beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep

"And that was the new joint '676.56Hz' from Kanye West III"

LOL

And the genres for all the worlds music would be Sine, Saw, Square, and Complex.

Lunahorum
08-25-2009, 12:47 AM
LOL

And the genres for all the worlds music would be Sine, Saw, Square, and Complex.

and I would demand a 128 bit 1024khz wav copy because there is just too much information loss from 16 bit 48khz wav

dfalkmusic
08-25-2009, 01:23 AM
I use Classic Compressor. its free and it gets the job done ;) http://www.kjaerhusaudio.com/classic-compressor.php

Harmony
08-25-2009, 01:29 AM
and I would demand a 128 bit 1024khz wav copy because there is just too much information loss from 16 bit 48khz wavNo no no, stop living in the past. The future is infinite sampling rate, infinite bit data...i.e. the future is the perfection of analog technologies!

Lunahorum
08-25-2009, 01:55 AM
I think part of the problem with my understanding of compression is that I have been using ez drummer for my drums. I get the feeling they aren't very good samples? Could anyone give a quick explanation of what makes a good sample? Is it room acoustics and equipment? Are good samples pre-mixed by someone with golden ears? They don't sound like real drums to me. I listened to a demo of addicting drums and I think this is a very good program or at least better at my budget level. I am going to start saving for it. My three genres are metal, pop, and rock. I also D around with boogie woogie and funk, but nothing I feel I need to spend money on.

Good investment to get AD?

Harmony
08-25-2009, 02:44 AM
For Pop/Rock it can't hurt to have this free kit (http://www.mediafire.com/?zmgqhttzdmy) in your toolbox. It's where I took the kick from and one of my favorite free offerings.

You need an sfz player (like SFZ (http://www.kvraudio.com/get/769.html)) to use it.

big giant circles
08-25-2009, 04:22 AM
If you can spare a little $$, this is a great deal.

Buy 1 (of 10) of the individual plugins included in IK T-Racks 3, get 6 free.

http://www.ikmultimedia.com/NewsDisplay.php?Id=2232
http://www.esoundz.com/details.php?ProductID=3823&refcode=trsingle3

rig1015
08-25-2009, 05:38 PM
No no no, stop living in the past. The future is infinite sampling rate, infinite bit data...i.e. the future is the perfection of analog technologies!

Yeah! like Direct Stream Digital with a sample rate of 8.233MHz :-P !!

Yoozer
08-25-2009, 07:33 PM
The future is more of the past since everyone's buying up vintage equipment like mad. 100% analog engineering may pay well soon, bonus points if you can reverse-engineer rare chips (octave dividers).

Anyway, just wanted to chime in - this month's Sound On Sound magazine has an extensive write-up about compression and what to use for what. Grab it while it's hot (I've got an eSub)

Fishy
08-25-2009, 10:46 PM
EZ drummer is mostly pre-processed I think; meaning that they're already compressed? Can anyone with EZ confirm this?

Addictive drums is good, try the demo first. Be warned though, its internal effects are pretty crap, use your own, especially the compressor.