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tips & tricks

20-Aug-2017

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Sections - Tips & Tricks

Velcome to ze "Tips 'n' Tricks" bit - Here's a variety of tips from all areas of studio, midi & live work. The emphasis here is not just about tricks to get sounds, but also ideas to save money or time.

But surely YOU have soom real cool tips to share with your comrades in arms of the music world?! - Feel free to add your own money-saving or technique tips!

Check out some of the Tips below, or add your own & hey!... don't forget, there are plenty of FX-Tips in the Articles section too!

   


42 - COMPRESSOR FX TIPS        

From: kilo
Email: here
Date: 04-Apr-99


As compressors are audio processors as opposed to being effects, these tips apply to Hard disk or Tape based systems.

BR>

GETTING MORE ATTACK FROM YOUR SOUNDS
Fairly common one this, you probably know it, but if y'don't it's pretty simple......Getting a snappy emphasis in this way works with most sounds, but obviously has greater effect the more hard the attack of the sound is.....

Set-up your compressor on a sound like a snare drum for example.......Simply set a slower attack...somewhere in the region of 1-5 ms.......This allows the initial fast attack of the snare to bust through before the compressor kiks in to crush the sound......

This little technique also works great on bass synth sounds with a fast attack....


AUDIO "DUCKING"
Ok....This is a cool one for all you Pirate radio owners or Bedroom DJ's.......You know when your listening to the radio, and the music's pumpin' away....Then the DJ says something over the music,and as soon as he does, the backing drops in volume a little to make way for the voice......Then when they stop chatting, (unless it's "Norman J" !!!) the music just comes up again to it's normal level.......Well this is known as ducking....and it works like this.....


As I mentioned in the Compressor section, the unit listens to the incoming signal through a "Sidechain" curcuit......The Sidechain gives instructions to the actual compressor by the settings you make in the front panel controls......as soon as the Sidechain hears the signal go over the Threshold level, it tells the Amplifier (VCA) at the input to turn down the level.......

OK......lets suppose that the music backing is coming through the compressor, but.....the DJ's voice is being fed into the Sidechain........Ah...yes indeed, as soon as the compressor "hears" the DJ's/presenters voice, it turns down the incoming signal.......which is the music backing.......Here's how:

YOUR COMPRESSOR MUST HAVE SIDE-CHAIN SOCKETS ON THE BACK PANEL.....
The side chain socket allows an alternative input signal to overide the main input signal for controling the compressor...NOT....as the signal to be processed.

OK......first with a mono music signal......

  • Bring the backing music into the Main Input....
  • Bring a send from the DJ's voice into the Side-chain Socket......
  • Set the compressor to fast attack, short/auto release, & ratio about 3 or 4 to 1...in soft knee mode (if you have option)...
  • Set the music running, and get the DJ to chat...repeating phrases of a few seconds, & leaving spaces of a few seconds...
  • Adjust the compression ratio...until you get a low music level you like that lets the DJ be easily heard when he speaks....
  • Adjust the attack & release, so as the music reduces fast enuff, & returns to level at a speed you like (usually quite fast)...
  • Run some tests with the DJ chatting fast & furious...leaving quick gaps here & there.....tweak the settings until it sounds just right...
  • Run your set !!.......

For a stereo backing signal, just do as above, but put the music thru the Left & Right channels of the compressor, and set it to "Stereo Link" mode....Then adjust the settings on the control side.......Check out which side takes control in Stereo mode, & patch the DJ's voice in to that sides Side-chain input.


AUDIO " DE-ESSING"
Argggh..!!....Bloody sibilance....all that "SSSS-ing" overload coming off the mic' when the singer pronounces "S" sounds..........Well, you just need to do some De-essing....again by utilising the Side-chain.....

  • Set up exactly as above in the "Ducking" section.......but send the Vocal you are processing, through into the Main Input on the compressor.........
  • Check the sidechain socket which will be a stereo 1/4 inch jack socket......find out which is the send & return (tip or ring).....make up a stereo 1/4 inch to 2 X mono 1/4 inch lead.....
  • Patch a Parametric equaliser or Graphic eq into the side-chain.....just take a line FROM the Side-chain socket to the EQ INPUT....then return the signal FROM the EQ, back to the side-chain socket via the tip or ring.....
  • Now the Equaliser is patched into the Side-chain....remember, the side chain controls the Amp on the compressor......
  • Now setup the EQ to TUNE INTO the problem high frequency....USUALLY IN THE 5 - 10K REGION.....& give about 10 db of Boost...
  • OK....now the compressor, is tuned via the Side-chain to compress MORE heavily signals of the range that the EQ is tuned to....
  • Set the ratio etc to crush the Sibilant phrases without sounding unatural...and off you go.......

Ah.....set up this one, & you'll be in heaven as you get crisp vocals, with no SSS-ing...If you dont have an outboard eq...you can use even a little graphic guitar footpedal...or even a spare mixer channel to patch into the side-chain....remember...the Eq is only to CONTROL the frequencies that the compressor will crush.....The actual vocal does not pass through the Eq.....so dont worry about noise problems from the Eq unit....!!




AUDIO "LIMITING"
You often hear compressors refered to as "Limiters".......Well limiting, is basically where the unit has a fixed as opposed to ratio based compression, above which no signal can pass....period !

In order to get this effect....simply set the compression ratio to Infinity...(all the way clockwise)...This now tells the compressor....."Look...above the db level set by the threshold, let nothing pass.".......and there you have it....Limiting !!


If you are working alone, and you want to produce multiple FX like the above, but also with pan and volume fades, or complicated echo FX, see the COMPLICATED DELAY FX PRODUCTION TIPS in the FX-RACK section


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