understanding compression: a tutorial

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by nicstef, Jul 5, 2016.


  1. nicstef

    nicstef

    Mar 14, 2016
    Nantes, FR
    Hi!
    I have come across a fantastic series of tutorials on what does a compressor do and how it does it. I've always used my compressor in a sort of newbie manner, not really knowing precisely what the knobs do. I suppose it's the case for many beginners. Anyway this tutorial I found on youtube is very clear and pedagogical and it helped me lots to understand in detail and in depth the ways of the compressor. The tutorial is mainly made for (home) studio compressor but it is the same for the ones we use a bass players.
    Here's the first video:


    The guy does quite a good job at explaining stuff, and even though it's sometime a tad repetitive, it's very very instructive.
    I hope this helps!
     
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  2. boomertech

    boomertech Frank Appleton Commercial User

    Apr 8, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Designer/Owner of FEA Labs
    I watched part1 and about 12mins of part 2. He does a pretty good job of explaining compression, but he makes a mistake when he demonstrates the signal reduction on the waveform he has drawn. He is constantly grabbing only the large peaks and shrinking them for compression demonstration, the reality is that ALL of the signal is reduced by the gain reduction during compression... even the bits under the threshold. In part 2 he goes on and on about how other tutorials don't explain and confuse people about the purpose of the sidechain, yet his mistake of only showing compression affecting the 'over threshold' bits of the waveform is more problematic IMHO.

    -Frank
     
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  3. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Washington, Utah
    John K Custom Basses
    maybe he's confusing limiting with compression?
     
  4. boomertech

    boomertech Frank Appleton Commercial User

    Apr 8, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Designer/Owner of FEA Labs
    No, because all of the signal during limiting is reduced by the same gain reduction. Limiting and compression are exactly the same thing, except limiters have a very high ratio. I might have to watch the video again, to see if he is drawing a waveform or envelope. Because if he drew an envelope diagram, then he would be correct.

    -Frank
     
  5. boomertech

    boomertech Frank Appleton Commercial User

    Apr 8, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Designer/Owner of FEA Labs
    Just watched the beginning of part1 again, he called what he was drawing a waveform, even though it appears that he meant envelope. I am used to what I see on an o-scope as a waveform. To me, an envelope and waveform are very different things.

    Also, since this is supposed to be envelope diagram, he is only reducing the peaks on the positive side and leaves the envelope peaks on the negative side alone. He should be showing that the envelope peaks on the negative side are also reduced.

    Otherwise, from what I have seen, I think he does a pretty good job explaining compression.

    -Frank
     
  6. devnulljp

    devnulljp

    Oct 13, 2009
    BC, Canada
    Admin on the D*A*M Forum
    compression-101-audio-animals-memes.png
     
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  7. boomertech

    boomertech Frank Appleton Commercial User

    Apr 8, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Designer/Owner of FEA Labs
    Just watched part 3 of the series.

    I am of the old school way of thinking about threshold... that there is no compression at all on the audio signal until the threshold has been crossed. I have been thinking this way since the early 80's and haven't heard anything different until a few years ago.

    When he is describing soft knee compression, he is saying that there is some degree of compression before the threshold has been crossed. I have only heard about pre-threshold compression from a few people in forums. So, I am not sure if the definition of threshold has a new meaning or this is something new with the software compressors. I'm old and I have no experience with software compressors.;)

    -Frank
     
  8. boomertech

    boomertech Frank Appleton Commercial User

    Apr 8, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Designer/Owner of FEA Labs
    Just finished parts 4 & 5. At the very end of part 5 he said that he has been only showing compression on the positive side, when both the positive and negative are affected. Glad that he finally explained that.:thumbsup:

    -Frank
     
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