audio compressor

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foreverone
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:13 pm

audio compressor

Post by foreverone » Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:25 pm

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I've seen several videos about recording set-up.Most of them don't say anything about using a compressor "before" the signal gets to the PC.Eric told me it was "highly" advisable.
Any thoughts about this and what type of compressor do I need. There are ones for $24. and there are others for much more. To do the basic job......what do you recommend ?

Thanks

Brian S
Posts: 97
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:21 pm

Re: audio compressor

Post by Brian S » Wed Aug 26, 2015 5:48 am

There is no right answer here. *Everything* can be answered with "it depends".

As a general rule, I try not to do *anything* to a signal before it gets to my DAW. Why? Because at that point, I can't change it if I later decide it isn't working. So, let's say I compress a bass guitar before it hits my DAW. I'm married to that. It's compressed, and there isn't a thing I can do about it. On the other hand, if I do that compression in box, and later on I decide that it's too much, I can just adjust on the fly.

Now, even my "general rule" is laden with "it depends". Both of my vocal processors are set up for some compression before they get to my DAW. Bass guitar I like to do some super, super light compression before it arrives, just shaving a db or two off the highest peaks.

As far as the actual outboard compressor goes, a lot of my equipment is Behringer. It's decent stuff for a decent price. The key here on a compressor is to look for control. Threshold, Ratio, Attack, Release and Gain are the basic things you're looking for. You'll probably see things like hard knee and soft knee on some.

Spend some time learning what a compressor is, what it does, why you need it and how to use it. It's absolutely one of the most important "effects" available in a studio. It's the one thing you absolutely must understand and master before you can even begin to get quality recordings. Don't use a compressor because I tell you it's important, or because someone else does . . . use the compressor because you understand it, and know where it's needed and where it's not.

I can help you out with some learning resources if you need them.

Sami Seif
Posts: 211
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:34 pm

Re: audio compressor

Post by Sami Seif » Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:18 am

foreverone wrote:]
I've seen several videos about recording set-up.Most of them don't say anything about using a compressor "before" the signal gets to the PC.Eric told me it was "highly" advisable.
Any thoughts about this and what type of compressor do I need. There are ones for $24. and there are others for much more. To do the basic job......what do you recommend ?

Thanks
I would personally not recommend recording a signal with a compress, I would recommend recording the signal with no effects at all so you can keep all options open during the mix phase.

User avatar
aquataur
Posts: 567
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 12:01 pm
Location: Innsbruck, Austria

Re: audio compressor

Post by aquataur » Wed Aug 26, 2015 12:09 pm

The devices I have seen with (hardware) input compressors were of "one knob" type. Hard to say what this does to the signal, dependent on what the signal looks like. Regardless, the signal is spoiled afterwards.

With 24 dB of A/D resolution there is no reason to record as hot as possible. Stay conservative on your levels and then use a plugin to compress to your heart´s content. However, avoid peaking the input amps like the plague.

-helmut

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