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Compression is it a crutch?


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Nothing's wrong with completely dry, or over the top processed - it's like playing music - there are no "wrong" notes, only notes that are played in musically inappropriate ways, or at musically inappropriate times.

 

I'll go dead dry or processed to the moon if either approach seems musically appropriate.

 

And for the record, I had NOTHING to do with "Recording And Mixing For Dummies", although I did contribute to "Pro Tools For Dummies". :o

 

I've had a lot of discussions with a lot of other engineers regarding our approaches to processing "on the way in", and the opinions, like many things pertaining to recording and mixing, tend to vary quite a bit. Roger Nichols is fairly well known for not tracking with a lot of EQ (due to the fact that you may have to EQ at mixdown, and it's not always great to re-EQ a signal), while others consider good EQ's in the recording chain an absolute must. I fall between the two extremes; I use little or none on the way in a lot of the time, but OTOH, if we're going for a specific "sound" and getting it means using an EQ, I won't hesitate to do so.

 

Compression is another story for me - although again, opinions are all over the map.

 

archlilim:

 

What a lot of these fools are saying is true, compression is one of the first things you learn in the audio production world.

 

I think it may be more accurate to say that they'll try to teach you about compression, but it's one of those things that a lot of people don't fully understand, or know how to listen to / set. I certainly get a lot of questions sent my way regarding that.

 

There's three or four spots (at least) where compression might be used on a recording... in a pedal in front of an amp, in the recording chain (post mic preamp), on an individual channel / track in a mix, on the stereo mix bus and of course, in mastering.

 

Individual track compression, submix or mix buss compression and even mastering compression can all be used responsibly and to great effect, and for me, even extreme amounts of individual track compression can be a cool tool in the tonal arsenal - I love records / songs like Matthew Sweet's "You're Not Sorry" or the stuff on Jellyfish's Spilt Milk - that's a ton of track compression you're hearing, not oversquashed mastering compression.

 

Many, many engineers lament the over-use of compression on masters these days, and IMO, when it is used to the point where it starts to do sonic harm to the mix, or when it starts to do damage to the musical dynamics, it IS a very "bad thing". But I don't blame the M.E.'s as much as I tend to blame the bands and the A&R folks who just want "their record to be as loud, or louder than so and so's record". The mastering engineer may advise against it for sonic and musical reasons, but at the end of the day, they have to deliver what the clients ask for...

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Yeah, you better just keep on quoting yourself, because otherwise, we're just going to wind up with all sorts of "non-BryanMichael" (read: incorrect) opinions, and we can't have that.


In fact, you might want to quote yourself again right now, just to obscure this post.


You could always put everybody besides yourself on ignore.
:idk:



Maybe I should change my quote- "Most guitarists aren't smart enough to know the difference between "opinion" and "fact"...

there, that's better!
:wave:

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2" tape recorders "Studers" used in major recording studios are much loved for their sound "saturation"
ah... you could also call that compression:thu:
as far as a comp being a crutch? {censored}! all my pedals on my board are a crutch, all 12 of them:thu:

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You obviously haven't played or heard the right compressor then because none of my guitar's character or pick attack is altered or lost with the comp I use.


I find it laughable that all of you guys who say you don't like compression use high gain dirt boxes. If you don't think you're using compression already, you need to pass the pipe.



:D


And I'm pretty sure Eric Johnson uses a compressor but doesn't need one as any kind of crutch.

/thread]

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I don't understand the whole idea of "transparent" compressors that don't change the character of the signal, and whatnot. In that case, why not just use a tuner pedal? Completely transparent, and, as a bonus, it can help you tune the guitar.
:D

 

Why do you have windows? If they just sit there, and don't change the character of what you see outside, why have them at all?

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I have been playing years, and only just bothered to buy a compressor, and I love it. It's a stock CS3, which works great for me, I like to use it when Im playing clean. Theres something about the over compression that I like. I doubt I'd use one in a live situation tho.

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I love a comp with my muff a la Gilmour. Neck Pickup.
I also use a comp when tapping (playing Minus the Bear, not br00talz).
I also use a comp when I'm soloing on clean, just for a slight boost and a tighter sound.

My Dyna help's smooth out fast runs and stuff. I've never used it with the muff on the bridge pickup for a wall of sound type thing. Will do today though. :D

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Why do you have windows? If they just sit there, and don't change the character of what you see outside, why have them at all?



Answer: because they're still functional, even if you see through them :thu:

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2" tape recorders "Studers" used in major recording studios are much loved for their sound "saturation"

ah... you could also call the compression:thu:

as far as a comp being a crutch? {censored}! all my pedals on my board are a crutch, all 12 of them:thu:



Yes, if you hit analog tape with enough level, then the tape saturates and you get what is commonly referred to as "tape compression". It's really not that dissimilar from amp compression in some ways - the medium can't handle any further increase in level, so the waveform peaks start getting rounded off...

The funny thing is, nearly every time I'm in LA in one of the big studio complexes, all the control rooms that are booked have Pro Tools systems in use, and the hallways outside are lined with unused Ampex and Studer tape decks...

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Yes, if you hit analog tape with enough level, then the tape saturates and you get what is commonly referred to as "tape compression". It's really not that dissimilar from amp compression in some ways - the medium can't handle any further increase in level, so the waveform peaks start getting rounded off...


The funny thing is, nearly every time I'm in LA in one of the big studio complexes, all the control rooms that are booked have Pro Tools systems in use, and the hallways outside are lined with unused Ampex and Studer tape decks...



It's harder to use those pitch correction plugins on tape. :facepalm:

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It's harder to use those pitch correction plugins on tape.
:facepalm:

 

I grew up as an engineer in the all analog era, and I can certainly appreciate what a good analog system has to offer... however, I don't look at it through some rose colored nostalgia glasses either; there were definitely things about tape that I didn't like too - like shedding, difficulty in editing (window splices FTL), decreasing high frequencies with repeated playbacks, and the fact that what you send in is NOT what you get on playback - IOW, tape changes the sound due to low frequency head bumps, hiss, high frequency roll offs, etc.

 

If I had to pick one or the other, I'd pick a good Pro Tools system... but OTOH, ideally, you'd want to have both available IMO. One cool technique IMO is a "pass through" - route the audio into the tape deck and monitor off the playback (instead of the record) head, and route that into the PT rig. Then do your edits and overdubs there, or just the edits, and fly it back to the analog deck (if you prefer).. you get the advantages of both systems that way. Or you can track to PT, and then route the audio you want "analog-ized" out and into a three head reel to reel, monitor off the playback head, and route that back to the computer and re-record it on new tracks, and then nudge them back into alignment. The advantage of that technique (which I first learned about from Craig Anderton) is that you can adjust how hard you hit the tape AFTER you get a great performance, without risking that "perfect" take due to the fact that while recording directly to analog, you either hit the tape too hard or too soft - it's similar to using the analog machine as a post-recording "tonal and compression effect" device. Although I am running a Pro Tools HD 2 Accel system, I still keep an analog half track deck handy for just that purpose (along with using it as a tape delay, ADT and mixdown deck too).

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Why do you have windows? If they just sit there, and don't change the character of what you see outside, why have them at all?



Yep, that's EXACTLY the same thing.:rolleyes:

But, to go with your ill-concieved analogy, my windows DO change the character of what I see outside. Namely, by keeping what I see outside, outside. If they didn't change the character of the wind, rain, and temperature of the inside of my house relative to the outside of my house, no, I wouldn't have much use for them.

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I don't understand the whole idea of "transparent" compressors that don't change the character of the signal, and whatnot. In that case, why not just use a tuner pedal? Completely transparent, and, as a bonus, it can help you tune the guitar.
:D



You obviously don't understand compression at all. :facepalm::facepalm::facepalm:

Continue to prove my point! :thu:

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When I first started playing I used compression a lot, but I had a real heavy picking hand at that time. And could be fairly sloppy with the other.Now in the last few years compression has seemed to get in the way of my playing.Is this just me or do others feel that compression really isn't necessarry.



I think it's a crutch.


I just rely on the natural compression from the amp. It's enough for me.

I might use compression in the future, but only for deliberately excessively compressed guitar effects, that "squeezed" effect etc.

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Is this debate still raging? I think it's good for clean rythm and arpeggio work, but for any kind of dirt or leads, it should stay off. I'm a boost man nowadays instead of comp, but I might start using a comp again for cleans.

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