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Hi, my name is Dan Worrall and welcome back let’s start with the
same loop of drums we used last time
with the compression bypassed and
listened to the high hats in particular
now listen again with the compression
turned on and notice the pumping in
level that I pointed out at the end of
part 2 and the way this changes the
groove of the hi-hat part accenting hits
that wasn’t accepted in the original
performance the release time makes a big
difference in tuning in just a little
bit slower makes the hats ride up more
gradually which is a lot groovier than
jumping out unexpectedly and also
significantly change the pumping effect
on the crash cymbal there are two
lessons to learn from this
when compressing complex signals like a
drum kits sub mix or a full mix the
compression will make different parts
interact with one another this is key to
the famous glueing effect that can
result from compressing a full mix and
the other lessen compression can
profoundly affect the groove of a part
so even with the longer release, we’ve
got more pumping of the high hats and
cymbals and I’m happy with so let’s go
through the different ways, we contain
your compression once you’ve found
suitable attack and release settings
[Music]
actually there are four different ways
to do this first of all we could raise
the threshold back up that makes the
cymbal pumping much less noticeable
[Music]
however, this has also changed when we’re
compressing we’re now only catching the
loudest Peaks instead of digging down
into the body of the sound and the
compression character changes
considerably as a result so the second
approach would be to leave the threshold
set quite low and reduce the ratio
instead now the compression happens at
exactly the same time but there’s just
less of it with autogain turned on the
ratio control can give you less or more
of the same compression and with low
enough ratios the pumping of the cymbals
in high hats is subtle enough to avoid
sounding too unnatural the third method
is more obscure I’ll keep a low
threshold and a high ratio but limit the
amount of gain reduction using the range
slider this can be useful on drums if
you want to add a very consistent punch
to quiet ghost notes as well as louder
hits but it’s a less commonly used
method and most compressors don’t
actually provide a range control at all
by contrast, the final method is very
much in vogue, I’m going to blend the
compressed signal with the original
input signal to create parallel
compression is sometimes known as New York
compression in practice this is quite
intuitive simply blend the two signals
till you like what you hear and if
necessary you can trim down the level of
the mixed-signal using the main output
control on the bottom bar but parallel
compression actually changes the
compression behavior in complex and
subtle ways if you just want less of the
same compression turning down the ratio
is still a better option and as parallel
compression makes the sound of the
compression more subtle and the effects
of the parameter, change is more difficult to
hear it’s not very useful when you’re
trying to learn what compression sounds
like
so I would suggest two basic approaches
when processing a subgroup like this
drum buss I might keep the threshold low
so the compression ride for the signal
most of the time and set a gentle ratio
of two to one or lower but when
processing individual parts within a mix
like this guitar park for example I
might set a higher ratio of four-to-one
or above then set the threshold so that
the signal bounces above and below it
rather than pushing into the compression
all the time but that said let’s overdue
it again to start with so we can hear
what too much compression sounds like
now notice what happens with a very fast
release, first of all, we’ve changed
the groove of the party gate let’s bypass
and notice the dynamics of those double
notes with the first note accented with
the compression on both notes are equal
weight which sounds much more robotic
and less groovy
[Music]
but we’ve also changed the way this park
blends with the rest of mix the
compressed version kind of elbows via
the guitar and the keys out of the way
and sits resolutely in front of them all
the time if I did the same thing to the
other parts as well they’d all be just
leaned for attention at the front all
trying to be loud all the time the mix
would sound cluttered and there’d be no
space left with the vocal now let’s try
setting a slower release so we hold down
the levels for longer after each plug
and also a slower attack so we left the
start of each plug squeezed through
before the compressor has time to react
and the effect on the groove is now
reversed with the first pluck accented
and the second held back slightly
okay let’s back off the threshold to a
more sensible level and actually I’m
going to set it so that it barely
catches the loudest plugs to understand
why only to turn off looping and let the
song run on to the end to give us some
more context in this relatively sparsely
arranged section of the song the guitar
doesn’t really need much dynamic control
the guitar and the keyboard parts are
carefully arranged to bounce off each
other and fit around each other
naturally
but the dynamics of the guitar changed
dramatically in other sections so over
the course of the song of this part
we’ll be bouncing over the threshold in
places and dropping back below it in
others
let’s watch the game reduction meters
for both guitars and the keys and see
how they work together
each compressor is catching the bits
that would otherwise be too loud and
controlling those parts with a
relatively high ratio but the rest of
the time the signal drops back below
threshold and we preserve the parts of
natural dynamic shape but too loud is a
relative subjective measure you’re going
to need to listen in context to judge
where to set your threshold and just
like EQ settings you’ll probably need to
hitter it you can’t make a final
judgment about guitar compression until
the keyboard compressor is set to
proprietary and vice versa
this isn’t the whole story however all
three of these parts are routed to a
subgroup with another compressor on it
this time the threshold is set quite low
so the compressor is riding the signal
most of the time and I’ve set the gentle
low ratio to avoid compressing too much
if I temporarily increase the ratio you
might be able to hear like the high hats
in the drum example, each part is being
ducked in level according to the
dynamics of the other two parts
with a gentle low ratio setting this
isn’t noticeable at all but the
interaction between parts helps me to
fit around one another better when one
part gets louder the other to get
ductile to the waist likely to make me
this is particularly important at the
end of the song when guitar – takes a
bit of a solo that compression keeps us
from getting too loud and overpowering
the whole mix but turns down all three
parts together so the lead guitar
doesn’t get ducked behind the other two
parts
okay let’s rewind and before I leave you
we’re gonna look at the compressor
that’s processing the whole mix some
people will warn you to be very careful
when compressing your whole mix they
might even advise you not to do it at
all and leave it for the mastering stage
but I say nonsense go ahead and smash
the living daylights out of your mixes
as this is the best way to learn what
compression sounds like and train your
ears to recognize the side effects full
mixers can be very challenging for a
compressor as they literally contain
everything drum transients can be shaped
by the attack time as we did earlier
while the release time will control the
glueing effect and the interaction
between all the paths
smashing AMEX hard can also help to
highlight the differences between the
compression styles so don’t be afraid to
experiment with wrong choices by the
vocal style for example
[Music]
for the pumping stuff this one is
specifically designed not to be
transparent so I wouldn’t normally
choose it for the mix bus but the
exaggerated attack might help you to
tune your ears into that choking effect
it can have on transients and help you
to recognize it when you hear subtler
versions of that effect with other
styles or other compressors
and likewise the extra pumpy character
of the release might help to tune your
ears into the sound of an audibly
pumping compressor and help you to
notice that effect in future you
probably won’t want to print your mix
like this however so when you’ve
finished experimenting try switching to
the master in stock this style is
designed to react gracefully and
transparently even with very complex
full mixing and it’s kind of difficult
to make it sound bad you can use the
attack time to control the punchiness of
drums but the results are much more
refined than with some of the other
stands with never any hint of spiciness
for choking transients and you can set a
faster release time to increase the
interaction between parts and create a
stronger Pulu effect but the compression
resolutely refuses to pump unnaturally
if you set a gentle low ratio of about
1.5 to one an aim for only a couple of
DB of gain reduction you’re pretty much
guaranteed not to do any harm but if you
toggle bypasses the compressed version
usually sounds a little bit better
subtly punchier denser and better glued
together as a mix
of course, it’s very important to set
your output game properly when comparing
if you don’t add enough makeup game the
compressed version will always sound
smaller than the original but few ads
are too much the compressed version will
be louder which will always seem more
impressive and you can fool yourself
into thinking even proved to sound when
in fact, you made it worse but louder
okay I’m going to leave you with a quick
summary as with EQ you’re going to have
to train your ears to notice the effects
of compression, this is going to take
time and practice but the results are
definitely worth the effort don’t be
afraid to dig in and really compress
signals hard to keep adding more
compression until you can clearly hear
the effects of the attack and release
parameters it’s easy to then dial the
compression back once you set those
appropriately make sure you set an
appropriate amount of makeup gain so
your ears are not fooled by a big volume
change when bypassing and again the same
advices for EQ you can’t judge whether a
part is too loud or too quiet unless you
have the rest of the mix for context so
be careful not to overuse the solo
button when mixing
thanks for watching guys
In this last part of the compression tutorial series, Dan Worrall points out the different effects that compression can have on complex signals like drums or full mixes. He also gives different approaches to find optimal compression settings for different elements of a mix.

The Beginner’s Guide to Compression (part 3) video was embedded from Youtube channel “”. Video source

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