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Compressor settings for slap bass that changes to finger bass?
Old 5th March 2014
  #1
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๐ŸŽง 10 years
Compressor settings for slap bass that changes to finger bass?

I just picked up an FMR RNC compressor. In a few weeks I will be recording my brother on bass (2 channels, 1 his live rig mic'd and the other sansamp)

I'm new to compression. What would be a good compression setting to start off on to capture this style of playing:



Notice around 28 seconds he does a quick run with his fingers and the vol decreases a lot. I want to be able to pull that up and limit the spikes of the slaps etc.

Where would you start for threshold, ratio, attack and release? I need a starting point before I start tweaking etc.
Old 5th March 2014
  #2
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๐ŸŽง 5 years
Exact settings are going to depend on the exact compressor you're using, and on the settings of the rest of your signal chain, so this answer's going to be more conceptual, which IMO will help you more anyway.

You'll probably want a relatively low threshold, just above the peak level of his fingerstyle playing, allowing you to tame the stronger thumbstyle sections. You'll set this by turning the ratio to maximum, then having him play fingerstyle and reducing the threshold from maximum until you see the gain reduction kick in; when you do, raise the threshold till you don't see it anymore, or only see it on the very loudest notes.

Then, set the ratio to taste; you want the thumbstyle playing to be slightly louder, otherwise it'll be obvious you're squashing it, but obviously you need to keep it under control. When you have a good balance between the two, bump the gain to take advantage of the increased headroom the compression's giving you, and that will bring up the fingerstyle level relative to the compressed thumbstyle.

Attack and release settings are also to taste; the faster the attack, the more headroom you'll get from the compression, but the more obvious the compression will be because the big attack spikes you expect from smacking the string on the fretboard won't be there anymore. Slower attack, just the opposite; the peaks will be higher before the compressor brings the gain down, which sounds more natural but keeps the overall dynamic range larger. Release should typically be fast, especially if you slow the attack. However, the faster it is, the more noticeable the "knee" will be; the knee is created at the threshold level, as the compressor can no longer increase the gain while the note decays, and so the signal level begins falling off naturally. The higher the ratio and the lower the threshold, the more noticeable this falloff will be.
Old 5th March 2014 | Show parent
  #3
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1 Review written
๐ŸŽง 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liko โžก๏ธ
Exact settings are going to depend on the exact compressor you're using, and on the settings of the rest of your signal chain, so this answer's going to be more conceptual, which IMO will help you more anyway.

You'll probably want a relatively low threshold, just above the peak level of his fingerstyle playing, allowing you to tame the stronger thumbstyle sections. You'll set this by turning the ratio to maximum, then having him play fingerstyle and reducing the threshold from maximum until you see the gain reduction kick in; when you do, raise the threshold till you don't see it anymore, or only see it on the very loudest notes.

Then, set the ratio to taste; you want the thumbstyle playing to be slightly louder, otherwise it'll be obvious you're squashing it, but obviously you need to keep it under control. When you have a good balance between the two, bump the gain to take advantage of the increased headroom the compression's giving you, and that will bring up the fingerstyle level relative to the compressed thumbstyle.
Thanks. Here is the compressor:



Could you give me extreme settings to squash it, and another lot of settings that will be more subtle? Be specific with the numbers etc :-) Don't worry about it all depends on the player/chain etc etc. I'm just after some starting pointers.
Old 5th March 2014 | Show parent
  #4
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๐ŸŽง 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thefyn โžก๏ธ
Thanks. Here is the compressor:



Could you give me extreme settings to squash it, and another lot of settings that will be more subtle? Be specific with the numbers etc :-) Don't worry about it all depends on the player/chain etc etc. I'm just after some starting pointers.
Like I said, it depends on more than the compressor itself; you have to set the thing based on the input level to it and the desired reduction in dynamic range. You will have much more information than I do about correct settings the instant you plug this into the bassist's effects loop (or inline if that's how you'll be doing it).

As far as extreme settings, this compressor will be doing the most work when set as follows:

Threshold - fully counterclock
Ratio - fully clockwise
Attack - fully counterclock
Release - Fully counterclock
Gain - To taste, or else fully clockwise (watch the clip lights on whatever this unit will feed into)

In this configuration, the compressor will be more a limiter; anything above a (very low) threshold is more or less chopped off hard at the threshold signal level. This will produce an extremely compressed, almost synthy sound. It will also raise the noise floor considerably, so make sure you're playing a well-shielded instrument with hum-cancelling pickups in a space without any CRT monitors, fluorescent bulbs and a minimum of AC transformers (there will be one in the bass amplifier and in similar equipment; facing 90 degrees to this type of equipment usually minimizes the EMI they produce).
Old 6th March 2014
  #5
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๐ŸŽง 10 years
Thanks, great info. You mentioned depends on what compressor: Can someone chime in who has experience with the RNC and bass guitar?
Old 6th March 2014
  #6
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UnderTow's Avatar
 
๐ŸŽง 15 years
If you are mixing a recording (rather than something live) you could split the bass recording when he changes from slap to finger style and place the sections on two different tracks and compress each track accordingly. Like that you don't have to compromise on the compressor settings for each section. That is what would I do at least.

Alistair
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