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Using multiple compressors at once?
Old 19th September 2012
  #1
Gear Head
 
Macavity224's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Using multiple compressors at once?

I was recently given the suggestion by an audio engineer significantly more experienced than me to use multiple compressors on the same track. I was just looking for some suggestions/more info about how compressors interact with each other I suppose (use your ears/try it out, I know. Just trying to get an idea of the theory of it.)

Right now I've been experimenting using a 4 band compressor on the track's channel, then putting a regular compressor on a bus to kind of smooth out the whole thing after I get it precisely how I want...in another topic I made a few weeks ago, I read that dynamic effects should mostly always been on the original track, so maybe the whole bus thing is a bad idea (although I've gotten some good results from it so far.)

So how ARE multiple compressors used in conjunction in some other ways? What about the order that they appear in the signal chain? I figure that compression is the most important/one of the most important parts of producing so I wanted to get some more info on it.

Thanks.
Old 19th September 2012
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
One good reason to put 2 compressors on the same track, is to avoid too much pumping or drastic effect of a wild track that has a lot of dynamic range.
So the second one compresses a already compressed signal.
Instead of having one compressor that handles say 20 db of dynamics wich is going to result in very noticefull effect at some point you share the load on 2 ( or 3?! ) making the compression less obvious.

Another reason is to color you sound in a particular way.

Also one can shape the attack while the other reduces the dynamic range.

Also one can shape the attack while the other adds sustain.

Side-chain+attack...etc.

There's like 20 applications for compressors so imagine all the combos...
Old 20th September 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Bristol_Jonesey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Just remember that ratios are applied by multiplying - not adding.

So if you have one @ 3:1 and one @ 4:1 your effective ratio is 12:1
Old 20th September 2012
  #4
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
I like using a compressor on individual tracks as well as buss compression.

The reasoning behind doing that is to have a number of tools assisting each other rather than one doing all the heavy work.

Just make sure that you're keeping things subtle and only attenuating a few dB with each compressor.

That is unless you're trying to compress things heavily for a desired effect.
Old 20th September 2012
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Why are you using a compressor? To control the transients/level of a track. If a compressor is just a glorified transient shaper, why not shape it right the first time through? Now, certainly, if your compressor is giving you saturation and coloring, there may be a benefit or detriment to chaining more than one in series (might be the case with 'colored' vintage comps like UAD fairchild/1176, but probably not with the stock Logic plugs).
Old 21st September 2012 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Head
 
Macavity224's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 00stiffy ➑️
I like using a compressor on individual tracks as well as buss compression.

The reasoning behind doing that is to have a number of tools assisting each other rather than one doing all the heavy work.

Just make sure that you're keeping things subtle and only attenuating a few dB with each compressor.

That is unless you're trying to compress things heavily for a desired effect.
Makes sense. How do you decide what situation to use a compressor on a bus instead of the actual channel strip, and how do you think it affects the sound overall if the compressor is bussed? I'm only asking because like I said in my first post, I've been toying around with that method a little bit and want to see what someone else says about it.
Old 23rd September 2012
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
To tame what's left of the transients that still stick out in the mix.
I would create a drum buss or guitar buss and by sending every guitar part or drum parts in the same compressor/EQ it would 'glue' everything togheter cause they're all effected by the same signal/compression.
So it doesn't feel like everything has been recorded separately or in different environment.

You would create a buss compression for the drums because you like it this way. Some people don't.

There's no set of rule to why I would put a compressor on track or buss but here's what I 'tend' to do:
Track compression= shape the sound, add color, heavy dynamic taming...
Buss compression= glue, color again, dynamics correction...
Old 23rd September 2012 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macavity224 ➑️
Makes sense. How do you decide what situation to use a compressor on a bus instead of the actual channel strip, and how do you think it affects the sound overall if the compressor is bussed? I'm only asking because like I said in my first post, I've been toying around with that method a little bit and want to see what someone else says about it.
I would normally compress the buss to tame what's left of the transients that still stick out in the mix.
I would create a drum buss or guitar buss and by sending every guitar part or drum parts in the same compressor/EQ it would 'glue' everything togheter cause they're all effected by the same signal/compression.
So it doesn't feel like everything has been recorded separately or in different environment.

You would create a buss compression for the drums because you like it this way. Some people don't.

There's no set of rule to why I would put a compressor on track or buss but here's what I 'tend' to do:
Track compression= shape the sound, add color, heavy dynamic taming...
Buss compression= glue, color again, dynamics correction...
Old 23rd September 2012
  #9
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
As a young bass player (with bad technique), my dynamics were out of control. The audio tech put a DBX 166XL dual channel comp in my signal chain to make his job easier. He used one channel to flatten the dynamic range completely, then fed the signal to the other channel to add in some attack.

I've seen a vocal channel strip with three compressors and a de-esser being used in a session.
Old 23rd September 2012 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Head
 
Macavity224's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundsgoodtome ➑️
To tame what's left of the transients that still stick out in the mix.
I would create a drum buss or guitar buss and by sending every guitar part or drum parts in the same compressor/EQ it would 'glue' everything togheter cause they're all effected by the same signal/compression.
So it doesn't feel like everything has been recorded separately or in different environment.

You would create a buss compression for the drums because you like it this way. Some people don't.

There's no set of rule to why I would put a compressor on track or buss but here's what I 'tend' to do:
Track compression= shape the sound, add color, heavy dynamic taming...
Buss compression= glue, color again, dynamics correction...
Makes sense...I've recently been toying with the signal chain too, for example, using one compressor to shape the attack and release, then a compressor after it to actually compress the signal (I usually keep the first compressor at a 1:1 ratio with a really high threshold).

Also, your description of "gluing" everything together makes a lot of sense now, although I have to admit, it's hard for your tracks to not sound squashed when using multiple compressors, but that's just a matter of toying around until I get it right I suppose.

So how do the parameters of compressors affect each other? For example, if you set the attack and release times at about the same on both compressors, how does it sound when you have different attack/release options on each compressor? Something else I'm having trouble with is really "shaping" the sound.
Old 1st October 2012
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
You should check into a little online course (youtube?) on compressors.
After that you'll understand much better what you are doing with the buttons.
A good way to 'see' what the compressor is doing to the wave is to export (bounce,render) the result and compare the original wave with the modified version.

Check this out you should get a tutorial bundle like this one as an exemple:
EN: Internal Mixing Excerpt - BASIC COMPRESSOR PARAMETERS AND THEIR USE 2 - YouTube
Old 1st October 2012
  #12
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
I agree - you can't get it all at once or it sounds too smashed. I always compress in stages. I use a gentle compressor to record - I love my Manley Variable MU at about -6. Then I'll use an UAD 1176 for pop and rock or an LA 2A for a ballad/really intimate song.
Then I will insert a de-esser on the main vocal buss and top it off with a PSP Vintage Warmer for protection maybe with a little bit of drive if it's a really aggressive song. One thing to remember - compression on a buss does not work very well for background vocals (in my experience). If you have Spotify you can go to my page - most all of the tunes on my playlist have vocals mixed with this chain. Good Luck!
Old 2nd October 2012
  #13
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macavity224 ➑️
I was recently given the suggestion by an audio engineer significantly more experienced than me to use multiple compressors on the same track. I was just looking for some suggestions/more info about how compressors interact with each other I suppose (use your ears/try it out, I know. Just trying to get an idea of the theory of it.)

Right now I've been experimenting using a 4 band compressor on the track's channel, then putting a regular compressor on a bus to kind of smooth out the whole thing after I get it precisely how I want...in another topic I made a few weeks ago, I read that dynamic effects should mostly always been on the original track, so maybe the whole bus thing is a bad idea (although I've gotten some good results from it so far.)

So how ARE multiple compressors used in conjunction in some other ways? What about the order that they appear in the signal chain? I figure that compression is the most important/one of the most important parts of producing so I wanted to get some more info on it.

Thanks.
One for color, the other for the compression. So one doesn't have to work as hard, thus evening the load over two comps. It's done quite frequently in both mixing and mastering, moreso mastering though.

Personally, I don't use two compressors, I use one and do what needs to be done.

Things don't get smashed if you don't smash them and utilize attack and release properly.
Old 2nd October 2012
  #14
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joe_04_04's Avatar
 
27 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I posted a question much like this.. Here's the link if you're looking for more answers.

https://gearspace.com/board/newbie-a...s-digital.html
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