Author Topic: Am i supposed to compress every layer?  (Read 3605 times)

R3Mington

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Am i supposed to compress every layer?
« on: August 11, 2016, 05:20:00 am »
and if so why?

i understand the mechanics behind compression but am i only supposed to compress the master track or compress individual layers as well and why


thanks

Vengeance

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Re: Am i supposed to compress every layer?
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2016, 05:40:57 am »
No. Use compression when an instrument has too much dynamic range.

Marrow Machines

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Re: Am i supposed to compress every layer?
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2016, 02:32:50 pm »
You use compression if you know that the sound needs it.

I like a little bit of compression on some things, but i tend to not use it willy nilly.

I compression a source with many effects coming from some kind of effect rack or combinator (ableton and reason respectively), if it needs the glue.

Compression can also help a group of parts (ie drums) sound as if they're moving as one unit (glue). it helps shape and tailor the impacts and notes to a song a little bit better. or to help get a certain feel and sound out of a specific set of instruments.



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manducator

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Re: Am i supposed to compress every layer?
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2016, 08:38:47 am »
Marrow Machines already told what needs to be told, he has great advice.

You say you understand the mechanics behind compression so I guess it's important that you tnink about what you want to obtain before you stat fiddling with a compressor.

Do you want to give more attack to a sound, or soften the attack? Stuff like that.

Only reach for a compressor after you kbow what you are after.

I tend to reach for a comp when I don't know where to put the volume fader. When a sound is too loud in some parts of a song and not loud enough in other parts, it's time for volume automation or the use of a comp.

Hope it helps.


Martin LeBlanc

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Re: Am i supposed to compress every layer?
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2016, 01:00:32 pm »
I wouldn't compress the master channel. I usually only use limiter and stereo effects on the master. Often some EQ.

On the different groups e.g. percussion I use compression. Different compression is needed on different groups. On the bass you might want to control the sub bass in a certain way. Compression can also be used to group certain things together e.g. the bassline + kick.

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Re: Am i supposed to compress every layer?
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2016, 02:18:22 pm »
I wouldn't compress the master channel. I usually only use limiter and stereo effects on the master. Often some EQ.

Psssst. A limiter is actually just a compressor with a really high ratio.

And yeah, Marrow hits it on the nose - only compress when you need to. If you don't know when you need to, just try it on a bunch of stuff and ask yourself "does this sound better, or just louder and/or different?" Experimentation is the key here, as sometimes things you didn't think needed compression sound better with it, and some things you think should almost always be compressed will sound worse.

attila

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Re: Am i supposed to compress every layer?
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2016, 09:31:28 pm »
This is something I've been coming around to over the last couple years. I "understood" compression for several years (the theory behind it), but never nailed down how to use it that well. What changed for me was sitting down with several different compressors to learn their different sounds so I would actually use them with purpose.

It's difficult when you're learning electronic music because everything is so in your face. The forum mentality a lot of us learned through can be hard to navigate. You'll find dozens of threads with subjects like "What's the best/your favorite compressor?" and not enough "What compressor will help me round out low, female vocals?"

I'd go through phases of using the fabfilter pro-c on everything cause Madeon said he used it, then phases of using ableton's stock compressor because Feed Me said it's all 99.9% of producers will ever need, then H comp cause Skrillex etc... What I've come to realize is that pretty much every producer I obsessed over was still learning how to do all of this shit themselves-they just managed to make really good music while doing it.

So I'd recommend every producer find the range of compressors that work for them so each instance is used with intentionality.   

R3Mington

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Re: Am i supposed to compress every layer?
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2016, 09:39:05 pm »
You use compression if you know that the sound needs it.

I like a little bit of compression on some things, but i tend to not use it willy nilly.

I compression a source with many effects coming from some kind of effect rack or combinator (ableton and reason respectively), if it needs the glue.

Compression can also help a group of parts (ie drums) sound as if they're moving as one unit (glue). it helps shape and tailor the impacts and notes to a song a little bit better. or to help get a certain feel and sound out of a specific set of instruments.

so if i want to compress my drums i would group them all (in ableton) and use a glue compressor or whatever i prefer (parallel, etc) and get them to sound closer together basically instead of some peaking where i dont want them too.
or what you think?

R3Mington

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Re: Am i supposed to compress every layer?
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2016, 09:40:52 pm »
This is something I've been coming around to over the last couple years. I "understood" compression for several years (the theory behind it), but never nailed down how to use it that well. What changed for me was sitting down with several different compressors to learn their different sounds so I would actually use them with purpose.

It's difficult when you're learning electronic music because everything is so in your face. The forum mentality a lot of us learned through can be hard to navigate. You'll find dozens of threads with subjects like "What's the best/your favorite compressor?" and not enough "What compressor will help me round out low, female vocals?"

I'd go through phases of using the fabfilter pro-c on everything cause Madeon said he used it, then phases of using ableton's stock compressor because Feed Me said it's all 99.9% of producers will ever need, then H comp cause Skrillex etc... What I've come to realize is that pretty much every producer I obsessed over was still learning how to do all of this shit themselves-they just managed to make really good music while doing it.

So I'd recommend every producer find the range of compressors that work for them so each instance is used with intentionality.

ok i understand that and the theory behind it. what i dont understand is if i put compression on one channel i.e female vocals - how does it compress it in relation to the other channels?

attila

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Re: Am i supposed to compress every layer?
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2016, 11:18:32 pm »
This is something I've been coming around to over the last couple years. I "understood" compression for several years (the theory behind it), but never nailed down how to use it that well. What changed for me was sitting down with several different compressors to learn their different sounds so I would actually use them with purpose.

It's difficult when you're learning electronic music because everything is so in your face. The forum mentality a lot of us learned through can be hard to navigate. You'll find dozens of threads with subjects like "What's the best/your favorite compressor?" and not enough "What compressor will help me round out low, female vocals?"

I'd go through phases of using the fabfilter pro-c on everything cause Madeon said he used it, then phases of using ableton's stock compressor because Feed Me said it's all 99.9% of producers will ever need, then H comp cause Skrillex etc... What I've come to realize is that pretty much every producer I obsessed over was still learning how to do all of this shit themselves-they just managed to make really good music while doing it.

So I'd recommend every producer find the range of compressors that work for them so each instance is used with intentionality.

ok i understand that and the theory behind it. what i dont understand is if i put compression on one channel i.e female vocals - how does it compress it in relation to the other channels?
I don't know if I 100% understand exactly what you're asking. If you're dropping a single compressor on a single channel you'd only be reducing the dynamics of the single track (vocals in this case). How it plays into the overall sound depends on how you treat the rest of the music.

You use compression if you know that the sound needs it.

I like a little bit of compression on some things, but i tend to not use it willy nilly.

I compression a source with many effects coming from some kind of effect rack or combinator (ableton and reason respectively), if it needs the glue.

Compression can also help a group of parts (ie drums) sound as if they're moving as one unit (glue). it helps shape and tailor the impacts and notes to a song a little bit better. or to help get a certain feel and sound out of a specific set of instruments.

so if i want to compress my drums i would group them all (in ableton) and use a glue compressor or whatever i prefer (parallel, etc) and get them to sound closer together basically instead of some peaking where i dont want them too.
or what you think?

This depends on the sound you're going for. If you just want to bring the drums together a little bit some light compression may get you there. At the same time if you send any effect to the whole kit you'd likely get a similar result. I'd recommend gain staging to even out levels first though. Even using something like Waves Vocal Rider. Especially when you're using more organic sounds...compression can be unkind really quickly. Even if you're diligent about using it more subtly, I've gotten to the end of a lot of mixes and realized how much life was sucked out of the song compared to the initial garbage mix.

R3Mington

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Re: Am i supposed to compress every layer?
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2016, 09:12:41 pm »
This is something I've been coming around to over the last couple years. I "understood" compression for several years (the theory behind it), but never nailed down how to use it that well. What changed for me was sitting down with several different compressors to learn their different sounds so I would actually use them with purpose.

It's difficult when you're learning electronic music because everything is so in your face. The forum mentality a lot of us learned through can be hard to navigate. You'll find dozens of threads with subjects like "What's the best/your favorite compressor?" and not enough "What compressor will help me round out low, female vocals?"

I'd go through phases of using the fabfilter pro-c on everything cause Madeon said he used it, then phases of using ableton's stock compressor because Feed Me said it's all 99.9% of producers will ever need, then H comp cause Skrillex etc... What I've come to realize is that pretty much every producer I obsessed over was still learning how to do all of this shit themselves-they just managed to make really good music while doing it.

So I'd recommend every producer find the range of compressors that work for them so each instance is used with intentionality.

ok i understand that and the theory behind it. what i dont understand is if i put compression on one channel i.e female vocals - how does it compress it in relation to the other channels?
I don't know if I 100% understand exactly what you're asking. If you're dropping a single compressor on a single channel you'd only be reducing the dynamics of the single track (vocals in this case). How it plays into the overall sound depends on how you treat the rest of the music.

You use compression if you know that the sound needs it.

I like a little bit of compression on some things, but i tend to not use it willy nilly.

I compression a source with many effects coming from some kind of effect rack or combinator (ableton and reason respectively), if it needs the glue.

Compression can also help a group of parts (ie drums) sound as if they're moving as one unit (glue). it helps shape and tailor the impacts and notes to a song a little bit better. or to help get a certain feel and sound out of a specific set of instruments.

so if i want to compress my drums i would group them all (in ableton) and use a glue compressor or whatever i prefer (parallel, etc) and get them to sound closer together basically instead of some peaking where i dont want them too.
or what you think?

This depends on the sound you're going for. If you just want to bring the drums together a little bit some light compression may get you there. At the same time if you send any effect to the whole kit you'd likely get a similar result. I'd recommend gain staging to even out levels first though. Even using something like Waves Vocal Rider. Especially when you're using more organic sounds...compression can be unkind really quickly. Even if you're diligent about using it more subtly, I've gotten to the end of a lot of mixes and realized how much life was sucked out of the song compared to the initial garbage mix.

Thanks you answered what i was thinking