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Compression question

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Lloyd Christmas, Aug 25, 2005.

  1. I was told in another thread to try using some compression when recording my bass tracks. I'm using Cool Edit Pro and I found some options for compression under the 'dynamics processing' option, but I have no idea how to use it! There are some preset options, but none of them seemed to affect the track in a very desirable fashion. Here are some screenshots to give you an idea of what I'm talking about. Maybe somebody can give me a clue as to how to use this.

    Attached Files:

  2. And this one...

    Attached Files:

  3. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If you told us what you consider desirable, maybe we could answer. Me, I don't want the compressor to do anything but just prevent too-loud notes from jumping out like crazy. You can do that with the 2:1 at <20 db preset.
  4. I was attempting to record a slap bass line, and found that the slaps came through very quiet and the pops came through very loud. I just wanted to even them out a bit.
  5. Kid A

    Kid A

    Jan 17, 2005
    Los Angeles
    Not to take away from the original poster, but also how would you compress everything hugely to get that mainstream rock and pop sound? Like what settings and stuff?
  6. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.

    Use a slower Attack time and a (slightly) longer release. This SHOULD allow the slap and pop part of the notes through, and compress the sustain so that you hear the attack without cranking the bass in the mix.

    If that doesn't work (a lot of this depends on how fast you're playing, space between notes, etc) try a faster attack time to even EVERYTHING out, so the whole track is compressed rather than the sustain part of your notes.

    It's difficult to give exact settings without being there--you can get a few baselines to start from, but most guys I work with start from a point on their favorite compressor and adjust by ear from there. The rule is always, expiriment, expiriment, expiriment. Not only will you eventually find a setting you like, but you'll learn the "sound" and other characteristics of your compressor, whether hardware or software, and it will take less time to dial it in next time.
  7. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    The sound you're referring to is probably brick-wall limiting, a.k.a. slamming the levels. Just squeeze everything to death, low threshold, high ratio, fast attack, long enough release to eliminate "pumping" and push the faders up until your meter is just hitting red.

    Most engineers have pretty strong opinions of this technique, but record companies demand their songs be as loud as possible, and that's most likely what you're referring to IME. Like before, expiriment once you're in the ballpark. A lot of the "pop" sound also has to do with recording techniques, the microphones and other equipment involved, and some pretty specialized gear for mastering. Slamming the levels should get you some of what you're looking for, though. Be aware that compression removes low bass frequencies and cuts very high frequencies, too, and tends to leave songs sounding very mid-heavy, unless you're using a multi-band compressor.
  8. Rav


    Dec 29, 2004
    Aurora, IL
    I beleive what your talking about isn't just compression. Compression is just one component of it. On final mixdown everything is compressed then run through a sound level maximizer then dithered.

    A sound level maximizer does somewhat the opposite of compression. It brings up everything thats quiet to match the louder portions instead of compressing down the peaks.

    I use protools and at home on small projects I use digidesign Maxim to do this. It does peak limiting, maximized expansion and dithering all in one plugin.

    I use outboard hardware compression for initial recording, software based plug in compression for tweaking the sound after its recorded then finally I use outboard hardware stereo compression on final mixdown before I aux back into maxim for final dither to bounce to CD.