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Old 3rd February 2009
  #1
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
NoCompression.com

I wonder what the overall 'sound' of different genres that people try to emulate with compression tricks would evolve into if people just stopped using compression completely? Seriously, not just rap but any genre that leans heavily on it like rock. I sometimes wonder. I use less and less and I wonder if I'm alone in this but I like what I hear more and more when I do that.

When I do try that I spend a lot more time automating levels but it sounds so much better to me. Many solo clients can't afford the mix time so I use compression to get there faster.

Or am I stupid? heh Probably.

It seems to me that compression was necessary long ago to squeeze audio into the limited dynamic range of tape, and get more signal to tape and a better S/N ratio, and we don't really "need" it anymore with 24-bit digital, we just became "accustomed to" the sound of it so we kept doing it.

Maybe I'm slightly ********... but.. someone should start a website called NoCompression.com where they post only songs recorded and mixed with absolutely no compression or bus limiting or artificial loudness beyond just raw gain.

I wonder what that would sound like?

Yeah... I'm stupid. But I still wonder...
Old 3rd February 2009
  #2
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bgrotto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence ➑️
I wonder what the overall 'sound' of different genres that people try to emulate with compression tricks would evolve into if people just stopped using compression completely? Seriously, not just rap but any genre that leans heavily on it like rock. I sometimes wonder. I use less and less and I wonder if I'm alone in this but I like what I hear more and more when I do that.

When I do try that I spend a lot more time automating levels but it sounds so much better to me. Many solo clients can't afford the mix time so I use compression to get there faster.

Or am I stupid? heh Probably.

It seems to me that compression was necessary long ago to squeeze audio into the limited dynamic range of tape and we don't really "need" it anymore, we just became "accustomed to" the sound of it.

Maybe I'm slightly ********... but.. someone should start a website called NoCompression.com where they post only songs recorded and mixed with absolutely no compression.

I wonder what that would sound like?

Yeah... I'm stupid.
What about those of us that use compression for color or tone? That's my main use for compression; dynamics control is probably only about 10% or less of what I'm looking for. Actually, come to think of it, the only elements that regularly get compression for dynamics control is kick and vocal. Sometimes bass if it's DI. Everything else is tone and envelope shaping.
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto ➑️
What about those of us that use compression for color or tone? That's my main use for compression; dynamics control is probably only about 10% or less of what I'm looking for. Actually, come to think of it, the only elements that regularly get compression for dynamics control is kick and vocal. Sometimes bass if it's DI. Everything else is tone and envelope shaping.
Yeah, that too. In my little insane scenario you'd record the tone and color and envelope shape of everything as it is and just let it speak exactly as it is.... well, with an artificial room and level automation in the mix of course. I know we "like" those tones from the magic compressor boxes but do we really "need" them?

If so... do we only "need" them because everyone else uses them? Did they help set the expectation or did the performer set it with the performance alone? Is a great singer or rapper standing six feet in front of you singing or rapping less great or less enjoyable because his or her voice only travels through the air to your ears and not through an 1176 or whatever?

Hmmm.....

EQ's we need. Reverbs we need. Compression? Not sure. They're quite handy but I'm not sure they're necessary at all for great music to disk or great mixes... except for how it relates to what we've become accustomed to hearing.

But again, I'm nuts. I wish I had the discipline to just not use any ever for a long while just to see.
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The thing is is that MOST of the rap/hip hop types do not understand the whys and wherefores of compression,only that its something "you gotta have"
True, alot of non rap records do overuse it for the wrong reasons.
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Addict
 
Magic Theatre's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Compression can really glue your elements together and can push things up front.
Envelope shaping can really help a beat to move fluidly, and compression can get the energy of all the sounds in a mix moving together harmoniously.
You can control the air in between the sounds to push and pull and move with the overall groove.

When you learn how to use it well, it can be a very powerful tool IMO.
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magic Theatre ➑️
Compression can really glue your elements together and can push things up front.
Envelope shaping can really help a beat to move fluidly, and compression can get the energy of all the sounds in a mix moving together harmoniously.
You can control the air in between the sounds to push and pull and move with the overall groove.

When you learn how to use it well, it can be a very powerful tool IMO.
+1 I don't think I'll ever stop learning!
Old 3rd February 2009
  #7
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James Meeker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence ➑️
I wonder what that would sound like?
It would sound horribly out of date and amateur.

Sad to say, but automatic gain control is *THE* modern sound of the last 30-40 years. In fact, I'd argue that most sources sound better with appropriate amounts of compression. Certainly there is a thing as too much compression--as has been the norm for a number of years now--but there is also such a thing as too little compression.

Just my opinion. In some camps I'm sure I'd be declared a moron for thinking so.
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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James Meeker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence ➑️
EQ's we need. Reverbs we need. Compression? Not sure.
Wow.

Personally I think EQ can ruin a song faster than compression can. Reverb is strictly optional in many cases. I would argue that of the three tools you mentioned compression is the most important.

Myself, the real 'meat' of a song is going to be the basic recording and the balance levels of the mix--which means levels, stereo panning/image, automation and compression/limiting. That's what's really important. Everything else, including in many cases EQ, is strictly for effect.
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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Chaellus's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
no compression sounds boring...of course you have to learn how to use compression right and waht youd like to use it for, to get its benifits

i use it for color and attack for bringing certain things out and taming other things in, i have done fader rides and the like but i still like compression that or even slamming tape to get some saturation compression and eq are your friends.
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
I like the sound of compression and thats why I use it.

Not because I think its 'cool' or whatever else. I just think it sounds better on a lot of sources. Simple as that.

If you don't wanna compress, don't compress. What's the problem?
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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illacov's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Strictly Hip Hop and Old School

What's worth mentioning here is that the magic boxes Larry mentions are not easily had by all and instead the ease to which a vst compressor is utilized creates the scenario for tooo much compression. Coupled with utter ignorance of compression utilization due to lack of experience or study u get poor sounding mixes. Whatever they do in other genres escapes me but I think hip hop has to be imho one of the genres besides rock that was hurt most by the abandonement of analog tape. If you follow me, I knows lots of old school guys who mention how you could peg meters with drum machines or samplers and not need compression for level or for presence. The vocals would need some but there was fader riding and automation. However the idea was to get it sounding good on tape, even with a drum machine! Yes there was cool pres on some consoles and Pultecs along with 1176s for color but, that wasn't every studio and not every room had great outboard. However, the phat recorded sound was a control of sorts that made one stray away from compressors and instead focus on timbral pallette thru eq and arrangement. Case in point that compressed in your face drum sound that everybody chases was usually done with tape and stacks. There might be 5 or 6 snare samples multed on one ATCQ track from back in the day but they were pegged in the red to tape and all you heard was **** that inspired u to make hats out of shirt sleeves and put a notebook in your eastpak. Give a little thought to how many hip hop tracks from back in the days had stacks galore for kicks snare and hi hats/percussion.
When we abandoned tape for digital we created a lot more work for ourselves tonally. Big Pun's first album sonically smokes so many releases in the last 10 years it just shocks u to play that record in contrast to recent albums. There was definitely compression on it but not like nowadays.

I think hip hop would sound dope if u had less compression and more tape usage but its expensive, people want to kill tape and focus on T pain's vocal chain and PT 8 and using tape requires a sharp learning curve with its voltmeters oscilloscopes, tone generators and MRL tapes. However all that "hassle" is so worth it. If the neophytes could start on reel to reels with some "reel knowledge" they would barely touch compressors. Case in point most samples are already compressed and eq'd etc. On digital we immediately reach for a comp but on tape I just hit the red and instant phatness. Coupled with nice old school pres and you're in heaven. Disco D (RIP) was notorious for his usage of the Fatso and pres on samples. We all know how dope his music sounded. It just so happens that some reel to reels cost less than Fatsos do.


Peace
Illumination
Old 3rd February 2009
  #12
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Ken Lewis's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence ➑️
Maybe I'm slightly ********... but.. someone should start a website called NoCompression.com where they post only songs recorded and mixed with absolutely no compression or bus limiting or artificial loudness beyond just raw gain.

I wonder what that would sound like?

Yeah... I'm stupid. But I still wonder...
You could also start a sister site called www.mymixsucks.com or just point both URL's to the same place. or maybe just start a website called www.idontknowhowtousecompression.com
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
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bgrotto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis ➑️
You could also start a sister site called www.mymixsucks.com or just point both URL's to the same place. or maybe just start a website called www.idontknowhowtousecompression.com
Whudabout http://www.mymixiskindamediocre.com? Or http://www.howdoigetmymixestobang.com?

Er, wait...that'd put GS outta business. Sorry, Jules!
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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illacov's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Or how about...

how_the_f**k_did_we_get_here.com

OR

soldmympcforcrackrockz.com

OR

soundlikedjpremier.com

sister site of

soundlikekanye.com

cousin site of

tpainvocals.com

shirt tail relative site of

I_spit_that_heat_so_I_only_use_fire_wire.com

Sorry.

Peace
Illumination
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
TelekonStudios's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis ➑️
You could also start a sister site called www.mymixsucks.com or just point both URL's to the same place. or maybe just start a website called www.idontknowhowtousecompression.com
lol.

Some people may not appreciate compression because they have never used a good one.

My life changed after i bought an 1176.
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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Ken Lewis's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TelekonStudios ➑️
lol.

Some people may not appreciate compression because they have never used a good one.

My life changed after i bought an 1176.
I use plugin compression more than i use outboard compression, or i should say, if you counted how many plugin compressors i used per mix against the number of outboard compressors i use during a mix, i'm almost always using more plugins. But the outboard ones sure do sound sweet.

Honestly, one of the best sounding plugin compressors ever created is the IK T Racks. The vintage 670 compressor in there sounds ALOT like a real vari mu compressor (Fairchild, etc...). The other common ITB compressors i use would be 1176, Ren Axe, Rvox, L2, L1, L3, Joe Meek Compressor, EMI compressor, URS 1970, Omnipressor, Ozone 3, etc... and i find them all very useful.

But i know what your saying about the 1176. I have yet to hear a plugin that can do to the mix buss what my Manley Vari Mu can (tho the T Racks 670 isnt too far off)
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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DanDaMan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Probably already been said, but not using compression is probably the worst thing that anyone could ever do. How will you have control over your peaks without making the track quieter??? Not forgetting great techniques like parallel compression for punchiness.
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I don't compress sampled drums that much. But I do compress the 808 or 909 under it. It hits harder if you do it right. I also send everything to a drum bus and compress a little bit then.
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker ➑️
Sad to say, but automatic gain control is *THE* modern sound of the last 30-40 years...
Really only since the '80s. The Beatles were very much an exception and not the rule.
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #20
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Storyville's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Actually, in a response to a previous thread posted here at GS, I went on a mission to see if I could make optimal mixes without compression. I discovered, personally, that as good as I could get a mix (and I did get some pretty decent ones) without compression - a little judicious compression in key places made the mix much better.

Reasons:

Sometimes a compressor can thicken up/body up a sound in a way that does not naturally occur in any other instance.

A compressor can really help to position the distance an element appears in a mix without taking out any of the energy or presence that eqing or volume adjustment might.

A compressor can raise/reduce the microdynamics of a sound - giving it more or less harmonic print in a way that even the most painstaking automation might not get right.


However, one can say the same things about EQ, delay, reverb. How much is really necessary? I try not to do more than 3db of damage with anything. If I am cutting or boosting more than 3db on an eq, or compressor, I generally try to find another solution or a composite solution to what I'm trying to achieve.
Old 4th February 2009
  #21
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25ghosts's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I am with you. Problem is that once a mix has dynamics people thinks it sounds like a Demo... Go Figure...

Thumbs up for stop the SINUS SAUSAGE (Waveform that has no DYN)
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 25ghosts ➑️
Thumbs up for stop the SINUS SAUSAGE (Waveform that has no DYN)
don't be such a SQUARE. heh

it's not by accident that we have so many tools at our fingertips.

the thing with compression is like the Triton craze - it was a tool, not a solution for all circumstances.

but then again, most productions sound like demos.
everyone is sooooo busy, trying to saturate the market with another load full of crap.
welcome to the slaughterhouse. where everything was compressed down to "pretty fly for a deaf guy".

no auto-make up gain included.
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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Susceptor's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I use compression on synths when I have really percussive (generally everything that is TOO percusive and can't control) and unexpected weird peaks, on drums when I want the color and for controlling dynamic range on some parts, when I feel that they get too loud, but getting the volume down will just make them fade too much.

But basically I try to decide if I need it in the first place and use it only if I can't control it otherwise (well, drums, esp. kick, get it all the time for the color); so yeah, I use it 80% of the time just to tame those wild peaks or to keep the volume at a certain level, without peaks affecting the overall RMS (basically the same thing).
You know, less is more.


LE: I never use auto-gain.
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Wow. heh

I don't recall saying I didn't like the sound of compression or that many people didn't like the sound of compression or that modern recorded music isn't in large part and in many ways dependent on compression techniques. All I'm saying that as a music lover I can sit in front of a person playing guitar and singing and it sounds beautiful. If I put up a couple of mics and no compression, it still sounds beautiful.

If I automate levels so that all the lyrics can be clearly heard and print it and burn a CD, it will still sound beautiful.

Wow. heh

I never said anyone should overuse EQ or that I didn't know how to use compression. I said we "need" EQ as a practical tool to combat some things that happen when we combine audio signals like masking and other things. You don't always need to use it but when you need to use it you need to use it.

People have taken some HUGE leaps here with my original speculative premise that a great musical performance will still be a great performance and can make for a great recording without "modern" compression. Like I was making an attack on people personally.

And tons of people took that idle observation to mean that *I* don't appreciate or know how to use compression properly or that recordings without compression would immediately suck. I suppose music 100 years from now will sound just like music today since anything different would suck. It sounds strange to me to hear professional engineers say out of hand that a mix without compression would immediately suck.

I suppose all people who stand on stage with nothing but instruments and amps and no mix board with 50 comps automatically suck, since they aren't compressing everything.



I imagine someone in the 80's thought... "I wonder what this music would sound like without all of that oodles of reverb?" ... and somebody said to them...

"Well you just don't know how to use it properly... that's the sound of modern music. You need to learn your craft." heh

As if that has anything to do with the original question.

I'll just explore it on my own...
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #25
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bgrotto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence ➑️
Wow. heh

I don't recall saying I didn't like the sound of compression or that many people didn't like the sound of compression or that modern recorded music isn't in large part and in many ways dependent on compression techniques. All I'm saying that as a music lover I can sit in front of a person playing guitar and singing and it sounds beautiful. If I put up a couple of mics and no compression, it still sounds beautiful.

If I automate levels so that all the lyrics can be clearly heard and print it and burn a CD, it will still sound beautiful.

Wow. heh

I never said anyone should overuse EQ or that I didn't know how to use compression. I said we "need" EQ as a practical tool to combat some things that happen when we combine audio signals like masking and other things.

People have taken some HUGE leaps here with my original premise that a great performance will still be a great performance and can make for a great recording without compression.

And tons of people took that idle observation to mean that *I* don't appreciate or know how to use compression properly or that recordings without compression would immediately suck. I suppose music 100 years from now will sound just like music today since anything different would suck.

Yeah, well whudayou know anyway? You don't even like compression. Dick.fuucktutt



Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto ➑️
Yeah, well whudayou know anyway? You don't even like compression. Dick.fuucktutt

Ack!
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #27
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bgrotto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence ➑️
?? I'll take that as a sarcastic joke since I not only like compression but paid for some nice ones and use them like everyone else. fuuck!
Yes, I'm poking fun at some of the responses.

EDIT: oops, you changed your post. Looks like you got my stupid joke
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
This thread is me extrapolating (in my mind) this... from 2006 or so...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lexicondonn View Post
I noticed in your reply on compression, you say that you try not to use it, but surly you must use it sometimes, because it sure sounds like it to me. It even sounds like the Trans designer by SPL on some of your stuff.

At least this is what I think I hear.
Quote:
THanks
I do have a lovely pair (Actually i own three of them!!!) of Universal Audio 1176's. they are excellent, but I don't use them much. In the past two years I have begun to use NO compression, on vocals, AT ALL!!!

Bruce Swedien
When I tried that and didn't compress vocals going in or in the mix (and bass and some other things) my R&B tracks come more to life. Now sure, a little compression on the master buss to finish it off will "glue" things a little better in mastering (and yes modern hip-hop and compression are like siamese twins so let's exclude that genre for the moment... heh) but the less compression I use on individual tracks in the mix the more I generally like the sound.

Not because I use too much or use them wrong. Can there be a legitimate preference that doesn't always come back to that? heh

I'm not Bruce and never will be but I hear what he heard there on good singers... a real quality that compressors often take something away from on some vocals to gain something else. Not bad... just different. I like it better when it's really good to start with.

And probably totally irrelevant to rap vocals since compression is a big part of it. Granted.
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
No way you can ride faders like Bruce. That is why he doesn't need a compressor.

He rides on the way in too. It's a skill that most can not do.
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Methlab ➑️
No way you can ride faders like Bruce. That is why he doesn't need a compressor.

He rides on the way in too. It's a skill that most can not do.
It has nothing to do (for me) with levels going in. Daws give us the capability to automate things anyway we like after the fact. I give the singer the headroom they need and just record what they do and automate later, when I do that. Riding faders on playback is no different except that you've already heard it and you know exactly what's coming? Unless you're suggesting that fader rides during tracking somehow changes the tone in a different way, I don't see the difference.

But yeah, I'll never be Bruce or even many of the fine engineers here.

I can live with that. heh
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