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Compressor Settings

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  • Compressor Settings

    Im experimenting with compressors for my recordings but im not sure what settings are good for which situations or instruments. I play mainly rock. Anyone have any suggestions?

  • #2
    Vocals - I compress the crap out of them. Same with the bass guitar.
    Ratio of 2-3:1, threshold really low so most of the vocal parts and bass parts are the exact same volume.
    Compress the bass drum about the same.
    Distorted guitars are naturally compressed, so I don't do much to that other than mild compression to even out the volume.
    One great trick is to use a side chain compressor on the bass guitar. Set it to "duck" the bass down just a little bit when the bass drum hits. It will allow the bass drum to pop through the bass guitar track, and make them feel a little more locked in together.
    spacey and melodic guitar experiments:


    • #3
      Many comp plugins have some presets that give you a ballpark setting for your different instruments.
      Noone can give you specific settings that work. The attack and release times will need to be set to the
      musics tempo and the amount of dynamic reduction will be unique to your songs, The only way to know
      whats right, is through experimentation. Knowing how a comp works and what the controls do
      will help to make knowlagable use of them though so you should educate yourself on what each
      knob does and how it affects the audio

      You can start with the presets and tweak as needed. You shouldnt hear a compressor working
      if you have it set right, and if it sounds like its pumping and breathing back off.
      Different compressors have different tonal flavors so dont rely on just one for all instruments.
      I have have a dozen different Comps to choose from and they all give me different results.
      You may also want to use a limiter instead of a comp if you find the mix getting muddy.
      Most limiters will limit the peaks only and leave the rest intact. It can make for
      a brighter sounding mix.


      • #4
        Thanks for this share . it is really very helpful for us.



        • #5
          Thanks a lot guys. Can anyone share some good compressor plugins?


          • #6
            Theres a buttload of free ones at KVR.

            Theres a little one there that I think is a gem called H20.
            Its dirt simple to use and is a good one for just about anything.

            Ruby Tube has a free one thats especially good for guitars.
            You can google Classic Plugins and get the Kjaerhus plugins.

            Voxengo makes some excelent comp plugins.
            For vocals I use the Voxformer plugin which is a combination of
            comps, deesser, EQ and drive and will get the vocals up front nicely.

            Their Marquis comp is an excelent one too. I often use that one
            for bass and guitar and its pretty good for mastering too.

            Thay have one called a Drumformer which is got allot of options for making drums sound good.

            Soniformer is pretty good for mastering as well.

            digitalfishphones is anothe must have.
            They have a free comp/expander/deesser
            thats very high quality and simple to use.


            You may want to look at Waves comps and limiters too.
            Two of their best is their L2 limiter and Multiband Comp.

            Once you get some good regular comps you definately want to learn multiband comps too.
            Instead of having 3~4 individual comps running on different instruments, you can just run
            one multiband comp in the mains and have it run. A multiband will allow you to set up
            4 or 5 frequency bands and the comps compress only those frequencies. This can make for
            a much better mix because they glue all the frequencies together smoothly so you dont
            have all the instruments pumping and breathing independantly which can make for some
            lackluster dynamics. One comp can make the music sound much more lively and it can fix allot of
            mixing issues you may not even realize exhist.

            L2 is a great limiter too. Its bright and you can limit dynamics with practically no side effects you get from comps.
            Easy to run too.

            There are many many more. I'd visit the KVR site and download all their free ones.
            Then just try them out as you get a chance. some you may use allot, and others
            that dont get used in 6 months, you may just want to remove so your effects menus arent bloated
            with a bunch of crap you dont use.


            • #7

              I also found this basic guide to compressors which helped a lot.


              • #8
                Im experimenting with compressors for my recordings but im not sure what settings are good for which situations or instruments. I play mainly rock. Anyone have any suggestions?

                There are no settings that are good in all situations because all situations are potentially so different.

                A good, full-featured, flexible compressor (real or virtual) is one of the most sophisticated tools in the recordists' arsenal -- but it can definitely take some learning to really know how to get what you want out of them -- which, cynics may suggest, is why so many of today's recordists glom onto a bunch of favorite limited-control compressors, the kind of boxes (or virtual boxes) with just a couple knobs and maybe a switch or two that uses fixed settings for some parameters and maybe uses some circuits which are supposed to be dynamic and self-adjusting based on input. They get one compressor (or compressor plugin) for one use, another for a different situation, yet a third for a different style or application. In a limited sense, they're almost buying different compressors in the same manner that others might try different presets. (IOW, they're too lazy to learn their craft properly.)

                Many people seem unwilling to get in there and learn what the different parameters of control in a sophisticated compressor area all about.

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