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is compression used on a purely sound design purpose in edm?
Old 13th March 2014
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
is compression used on a purely sound design purpose in edm?

I mean if you think it about it its not entirely neccesary for 99 percent of its original intent as far as like keeping the levels of a drummer or a singer in check or whatever. I'd say the loudness wars comes into play here and obviously in the club the loudest track wins the casual e tard doesn't care about dynamics when he's rolling his balls off. So in this thread I would like you to list some purposes where you used and abused compression on a dance floor track with creativity.
Old 13th March 2014
  #2
Gear Nut
 
M1da's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Skrillex has said that he uses compression A LOT on his drums and I think he has some of the best sounding snares in the business
Old 14th March 2014
  #3
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Yeah that's true why do you think he has the best snares? Do they stand out more ? Do they have a sharp attack or a solid sustain? I'm just throwing these words out cus they seem to be what compression does when used creativity as opposed to well you know.
Old 14th March 2014
  #4
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SWAN808's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
you are right its not so much about dynamic range with electronic music - but Im not sure Id call it sound design either...more about groove from bus compression shaping and tying the sounds together with a touch of compression...and giving colour and a bit of punch to sounds. Parallel compression is used a fair bit so the punch of the sound is not gobbled up - you have some compression plus some original signal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainbow Jeremy ➑️
Yeah that's true why do you think he has the best snares? Do they stand out more ? Do they have a sharp attack or a solid sustain? I'm just throwing these words out cus they seem to be what compression does when used creativity as opposed to well you know.
I think its more layering sounds and carving them out in the mix - with a touch of compression...
Old 14th March 2014 | Show parent
  #5
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Miiko's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainbow Jeremy ➑️
Yeah that's true why do you think he has the best snares? Do they stand out more ? Do they have a sharp attack or a solid sustain? I'm just throwing these words out cus they seem to be what compression does when used creativity as opposed to well you know.
It's because he uses a high tom sample cut short with a sharp transient and typically a quick-fade open hi hat, then multiband compresses these with his snare drum sample... it's not revolutionary but the first time I realized what he was doing was definitely an "ohhhh" moment.
Old 14th March 2014
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
i use it alot to duck the volume of my bass synths during the kick with ye good ol' token sidechain.

Sometimes when I a want to feel reaaallly dirty I have a bassline consisting of long held notes and then use the kick to get more rhythm and variation when I improvise over the original flat melody. Compressor sidechain input is cranked so it goes
from bvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv, to bvvvvv-bvv-bvvvvv....bvvvvvv-bvv-bvvvvvv. ( wow i actually tried to spell that out.) But ya, quick way to sketch an idea down using compression and a kick trigger.

i can then go back and be more specific with automation, or actually play out that melody later if i think i want to physically re-trigger the envelope of the synth.
Old 14th March 2014
  #7
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M1da's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I think his snares are just really solid and yea they do stand out more, but idk what kind of crazy compression chain he uses to get them that bright and full. A lot comes down to eq as well.
I especially love the snare on this song that's gonna be on his album coming out Tuesday, it's crazy to think he makes those huge, solid snares by mostly layering different 909's!
(Snare comes in with the drop at 1:35)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXon2dRuZc0
Old 14th March 2014
  #8
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🎧 10 years
Broadly speaking, compression has a different role in electronic music to recording from external sources.

What you might call the "macrodynamics" of electronic instruments are much more predictable than when recording an acoustic source, generally speaking.

So for electronic music, you are often applying compression to shape microdynamics. And that is as much an affect on timbre as on the perception of dynamics. For example, raising up the tail of a snare using compression is affecting its timbre as much as anything else.

You can of course use compression in the same way for regular recording, but I find that in that case, I also need a prior layer of compression to control the overall dynamic curve of the part - something not so much required for electronic music.
Old 14th March 2014
  #9
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chrisso's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yes, I think compression is more of an FX than a correction tool in electronic dance music.
Old 14th March 2014
  #10
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Praxisaxis's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
If you've ever recorded vocals and applied some compression to help even out the overall dynamic, you'll have a feeling of what's different about using compression in that way compared to using compression to shape microdynamics (eg a snare or kick).
Old 14th March 2014
  #11
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fwet's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Of course, not much dynamics. I was just thinking about this, compressors arent used much for there original intent in electronic music.
Old 14th March 2014
  #12
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🎧 10 years
No not really at all. Especially samples that have already been processed and mastered. Obviously there some plain old levelling but nit in the traditional sense and not in typical edm.
But if you use field recordings, found sounds ect then a compressor to bind it all together is even more necessary than not to even sound mildly 'right'
That's why with my outboard processors it's gotta be a vibe thing that can't be done or sound right in software.
Itb comps are fine as long as the source material originates from there - anytime air being pushed around is captured by a transducer I think a comp is really important
Old 14th March 2014
  #13
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XAXAU's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Sound design, leveling layers and reshaping loops the have the wrong ADSR.
Old 14th March 2014
  #14
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owensands's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Simple answer. No.
Old 14th March 2014 | Show parent
  #15
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Miiko's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso ➑️
Yes, I think compression is more of an FX than a correction tool in electronic dance music.
This is certainly true
Old 14th March 2014
  #16
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Kindred's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
It's complicated because the drivers for using compression in dance music are a little more different to certain other genres. For example - the traditional requirements for dynamic range are much less applicable in dance music. A track with huge dynamic range can clear a dancefloor (sad, but true in my djing experience).

The loudness war is alive and well in dance music. For anyone here releasing on Beatport, there is a really interesting experiment you can do if you want to see it for yourself. Put one of your tracks up without pushing the limiting (so you get a quiet master) and see how it sells compared to your other tracks around it. It's depressing to think how much the purchase decision rests on the volume of the sample alone.

But IMO none of this qualifies as "sound design". The only time I use compression for sound design is when I want to use tube compression to get a nice softened, saturated sound. Or maybe (extremely rarely) where you want to go for a sucking effect on a drum loop.
Old 14th March 2014
  #17
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🎧 10 years
Compressors are compressors edm or acoustic add snap to percussion.. even out wild signal, thicken, duck.. High resonance filter sweeps may cause undesirable volume change to be evened out, etc. OP idea of "original intent" is too narrow to begin with..You think comps weren't designed with these uses in mind? Modern uses are not exactly ground breaking at this point. Just a different mode people already knew about years ago. Probably more similarities than differences in how comps are used between those music forms, just that electronic music sound sources may be more consistent than acoustic to begin with and some uses emphasized more than others. .. use of percussive ducking has maybe evolved the most recently, but originates from old stuff like disco and radio compression combined with the advent of bass re-creation on the home hi fi stereo etc
they started "enhancing" signals back then, beyond just correcting levels. .shortly after parametric eq was invented pop music production got very slick.

Sampling and layering has affected the sounds allot recently. .
Old 14th March 2014 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Myrok ➑️
It's because he uses a high tom sample cut short with a sharp transient and typically a quick-fade open hi hat, then multiband compresses these with his snare drum sample... it's not revolutionary but the first time I realized what he was doing was definitely an "ohhhh" moment.
Isn't Skrillex snare just an overly-compressed 909 snare? (with a low range EQ boost). Atleast that's what it's always sounded like to me...
Old 14th March 2014 | Show parent
  #19
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owensands's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kindred ➑️
It's complicated because the drivers for using compression in dance music are a little more different to certain other genres. For example - the traditional requirements for dynamic range are much less applicable in dance music. A track with huge dynamic range can clear a dancefloor (sad, but true in my djing experience).

The loudness war is alive and well in dance music. For anyone here releasing on Beatport, there is a really interesting experiment you can do if you want to see it for yourself. Put one of your tracks up without pushing the limiting (so you get a quiet master) and see how it sells compared to your other tracks around it. It's depressing to think how much the purchase decision rests on the volume of the sample alone.

But IMO none of this qualifies as "sound design". The only time I use compression for sound design is when I want to use tube compression to get a nice softened, saturated sound. Or maybe (extremely rarely) where you want to go for a sucking effect on a drum loop.
Yep it is pretty sad. I personally think most of the top 100 EDM on beatport sounds like a bucket of ASS because its smacked to holy hell. It really just doesn't sound good to my ears. For a lot of tracks its just downright obnoxious with the amount of squash they introduce with that final limiter. To me they just sound squashed punchy and loud but SMALL. I need BIG with a happy medium of dynamics and punch in my stuff. Techno thankfully is not as into the loudness war as the cats that are slinging top 100 EDM. Tons of it just sounds so bad. Even that skrillex track someone just pointed out. I feel like that snare is just squashed to crap. Its like they are going for that sound intentionally though and to me it just sounds like ****. I can assure you that a nice BIG track with just enough dynamics left(and MIXED WELL) to keep it as BIG as it can be will sound much better then one of these heavily processed EDM tracks that have been slammed to holy hell into a limiter when the DJ properly gain matches them on a good system. The dynamic track might have to be pushed 3 to 4 dbs louder to match but it will sound better when matched. Youa lso have to understand that on most DJ club systems there is more limiting involved as well. If someone usues traktor there is a limiter in there and then there is usually a limiter on the main system as well. So with most crappy DJs they are hitting two limiters when mixing live because they love slamming the red. So that already limited to holy hell EDM track is getting slammed into a limiter even more! Whew I bet that's gonna sound GREAT! lol
Old 14th March 2014 | Show parent
  #20
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pandar's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by owensands ➑️
Yep it is pretty sad. I personally think most of the top 100 EDM on beatport sounds like a bucket of ASS because its smacked to holy hell. It really just doesn't sound good to my ears. For a lot of tracks its just downright obnoxious with the amount of squash they introduce with that final limiter. To me they just sound squashed punchy and loud but SMALL. I need BIG with a happy medium of dynamics and punch in my stuff. Techno thankfully is not as into the loudness war as the cats that are slinging top 100 EDM. Tons of it just sounds so bad. Even that skrillex track someone just pointed out. I feel like that snare is just squashed to crap. Its like they are going for that sound intentionally though and to me it just sounds like ****. I can assure you that a nice BIG track with just enough dynamics left(and MIXED WELL) to keep it as BIG as it can be will sound much better then one of these heavily processed EDM tracks that have been slammed to holy hell into a limiter when the DJ properly gain matches them on a good system. The dynamic track might have to be pushed 3 to 4 dbs louder to match but it will sound better when matched. Youa lso have to understand that on most DJ club systems there is more limiting involved as well. If someone usues traktor there is a limiter in there and then there is usually a limiter on the main system as well. So with most crappy DJs they are hitting two limiters when mixing live because they love slamming the red. So that already limited to holy hell EDM track is getting slammed into a limiter even more! Whew I bet that's gonna sound GREAT! lol
In the early 90s dance music producers often used mostly hardware so S/N ratios were a real factor. If you crank up the compressor to much the noise floor shoots into the audible region. This was especially true for dance as must producers spent their budgets on synths, drum machines and sampler so the other bits of the studio were budget item with really poor S/N ratios. On many older recording even the loud part of the song is under 0db and the RMS level is absurdly low.

When dance went more ITB things got louder but only so much as the absurdly loud transients (often truly headache inducing for the DJ) were still favored and DSP compressors where often best used less.

Now a days the pendulum (lol see what I did there ) has gone to far with every kid having access to OZONE. Things will change but a lot of the b*tching I hear misses the point that drum in dance music are not the same as rock or hiphop drums. It seriously painful to have really low RMS levels as that means more transient and Dance has rapidfire unrelenting transients. This is really unpleasent when have to be turned up in your headphones in a room with a PA BLASTING.
Old 14th March 2014 | Show parent
  #21
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Miiko's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by swaghetti ➑️
Isn't Skrillex snare just an overly-compressed 909 snare? (with a low range EQ boost). Atleast that's what it's always sounded like to me...
With a layered tuned hi tom to emphasize that 200hz region... and often an open hi hat sample right on top for extra sizzle. Try it yourself.
Old 14th March 2014
  #22
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ohmicide's Avatar
I use compression for everything but mostly mixing and sidechaining

One thing I never looked into much but I'm starting to find really useful or multi-band compression, which is what Skrillex uses for his drums btw (specially his snares)
Old 14th March 2014
  #23
Deleted 00e8205
Guest
Over compression is a cancer that needs to stop. Perhaps use it to design 'loud' drum sounds (pretty much just the kick), sensibly, but don't try and change the tone of a synth or overall tone of a drum with it, ideally keep the work in the synth as much as possible.
Old 15th March 2014 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Myrok ➑️
With a layered tuned hi tom to emphasize that 200hz region... and often an open hi hat sample right on top for extra sizzle. Try it yourself.
I will, sounds cool
Old 15th March 2014
  #25
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XAXAU's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
IΒ΄m using less compression and more saturation. Actually only compress with sidechain these days. I use a few limiters though. Only use I can think of is smacking the **** out of a snare!
Old 29th May 2014
  #26
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Shawn Hatfield's Avatar
I personally have always used and love compression for both sound design and overall mix. It's an incredible way to add character, vibe, details, and control. Like any tool, it can be used poorly and it's often one of the more misused and misunderstood processes. Choosing the *right* compressor for the task is as important as knowing how to use that compressor. It took me years to develop compression techniques that added to the music in a way that was beneficial. When in doubt, less is more. And experiment as much as possible.
Old 29th May 2014
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
I've only played my (prerecorded) music live a couple of times in my life. I had a real "Oh ****" moment when I realized how weak my full-mix-limited song sounded on a loud PA. It sounded great on my home system...
Old 30th May 2014
  #28
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🎧 5 years
Often the least compressed track will sound better in a club, as the transients get to punch more. A lot of old dance music still has a huge amount of power in a club scenario.

Skrillex sounds tiny on a big system.
Old 30th May 2014 | Show parent
  #29
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MORDICUS's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Hatfield ➑️
I personally have always used and love compression for both sound design and overall mix. It's an incredible way to add character, vibe, details, and control. Like any tool, it can be used poorly and it's often one of the more misused and misunderstood processes. Choosing the *right* compressor for the task is as important as knowing how to use that compressor. It took me years to develop compression techniques that added to the music in a way that was beneficial. When in doubt, less is more. And experiment as much as possible.
^^^^
This !!!!!

PEACE

MORDICUS
Old 30th May 2014
  #30
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
I use it to make things louder....also as a sidechain for the kickdrum....these are my main purposes I will concede that...

I have used it as a way to give other sounds space though, with multiband comp.....the problem is that it gets to be too cpu intensive if you have too many interlocking parts going on....

I've used it as a way of opening "sonic pathways" inside a mix I guess that's a different sophisticated use of it....but I don't use it as a creative thing really...in the sense I think you want.

I mean...the main purpose of a compressor is to compress sound....so you can't really stretch that purpose too far....unless you are just trying different sidechain experiments...but the end result is you're just compressing some other audio source....

I mean....sidechain white noise...sidechain this, that...it really only goes so far as a artistic thing.....but hopefully someone will show some other ideas on this thread I'm all ears.
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