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Unwanted Compression

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by DrBone, Aug 5, 2008.


  1. DrBone

    DrBone

    Oct 25, 2007
    Jersey City, NJ
    Here is my set-up:

    55-02 --> Sansamp BDDI --> M-Audio Firewire Solo --> Ableton Live

    I don't knowingly have compression anywhere in the chain, but my bass sounds very compressed anyway. Is it one of the pieces of hardware? Maybe a setting in Ableton?
     
  2. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    I think it may be the Firewire Solo. I was never able to get a good bass sound out of mine. I just got an Apogee Duet. Bass sound is great.
     
  3. Nick Kay

    Nick Kay

    Jul 26, 2007
    Toronto, Ontario
    Dude... BDDI. It emulates a cranked up tube amp. Quite a bit of compression in there.
     
  4. JonathanD

    JonathanD

    Dec 13, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    Here is the rub. The meter on your computer is not like the meter on your analog mixer. 0 on one does not equal 0 on the other. Record at about -14 to -18dB on your computer. This will insure that the soft limiting that goes on in all new AD converters will not effect your sound.

    To clarify:
    Set your bass and pedal however you want to. Now, with Ableton on play and adjust the level on your Solo so that it shows you getting an average(should be the only reading it gives you) meter hitting -18 or so. Do this for all the racks you record. Then when you sum them you have transients(the peaks of a sound wave) that don't get clipped. If you need a further explanation PM me and I will give you my number to talk you though it.

    BTW...this is a grammy award winning technique many times over.
     
  5. DrBone

    DrBone

    Oct 25, 2007
    Jersey City, NJ
    Thanks JonathanD, I'll try this later today and see how it goes.
     
  6. chrisp2u

    chrisp2u Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Not saying that you're not right, but I have doubts that a budget interface like the FW solo has any type of soft limiting built in (budget usually means cheap components). From what I've always seen, the soft limiting function is something typically associated with higher end interfaces and/or A/D convertors (Apogee, Cranesong, etc.). Do you any have documentation regarding this? I'd be curious... perhaps things have changed, though I'd think m-audio would be touting such functionality (since all the high-end companies do). I've used a Solo a bit and have never noticed this.

    The gain staging advice is good advice. A lot of people think that you should set your levels as close to 0 as possible (I used to be guilty of this as well). In the days of analog, this was standard as tape provides its own compression. However, in the digital world anything over 0 clips. Built-in soft limiters will help to some degree, but FME, can't eliminate clipping if it's bad.

    If you're tracking at 16-bit, there's enough headroom to keep your levels -6 to -10 (average) or so and maintain a good signal to noise ratio. If you record at 24-bit depth, there's even more headroom, so you can safely track at -12 to -18 or so. Many people say that keeping your levels within these limits when recording increases clarity and separation when it comes time to mix. Seems to be the case IME as well. Also, remember that this applies to your auxes and plugins as well (if you're using any). Keep those levels in check, and the peaks shouldn't clip.

    As far as the OP and compression, I think I would agree with Nick, the BDDI would seemingly be the source. I suppose it also might be just the quality of the conversion through your interface (cutting/smearing some frequencies possibly giving the appearance of compression) if you're used to hearing things one way... listening back to stuff you've tracked can sound a bit different. Again, it's a budget interface, and while it can certainly sound very good, if you have good ears, some things that are shortcomings might stick out for you.
    ---
    c
     
  7. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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