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Tracking with Compressor why??
Old 22nd January 2009
  #1
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hectc7's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Tracking with Compressor why??

Why is it that engineers use a limiter on vocals before hand and then afterwards...why don't they just do it afterwards...what is the benifit?
Old 22nd January 2009
  #2
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kittonian's Avatar
I don't know anyone using a limiter when tracking. Using a compressor when tracking is different and pretty normal when you have it set to a low ratio (i.e. 2:1 or 4:1) with the threshold set to just shave off any peaks that might come through. Generally the needle doesn't move much when tracking. It's more for smoothing.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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Mike Brown's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittonian ➑️
I don't know anyone using a limiter when tracking. Using a compressor when tracking is different and pretty normal when you have it set to a low ratio (i.e. 2:1 or 4:1) with the threshold set to just shave off any peaks that might come through. Generally the needle doesn't move much when tracking. It's more for smoothing.
Agreed, but

... I have walked into a lot of "pro" studios and noticed on their HD rigs they have "soft clip" on.



I generally like to make it "sound like a record" as soon as possible so I track with (light or MAYBE medium) compression & eq....
Old 22nd January 2009
  #4
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KUTCH 1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by hectc7 ➑️
Why is it that engineers use a limiter on vocals before hand and then afterwards...why don't they just do it afterwards...what is the benifit?
reasons for compressing on the way in (not necessarily limiting):

- better levels to tape or PT (if its compressing the hottest signal, the overall level can come up)

- gives a more realistic sense of where the song is headed, also better monitoring sound for the vocalist, or during any overdubs afterwards (just like you would probably record a guitar with its distortion from the get-go even though you could just take a DI and reamp later...)

- if you know you're gonna use it anyway, go ahead and commit to it, every little bit you settle on along the way saves time and headaches later
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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BradM's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittonian ➑️
I don't know anyone using a limiter when tracking. Using a compressor when tracking is different and pretty normal when you have it set to a low ratio (i.e. 2:1 or 4:1) with the threshold set to just shave off any peaks that might come through. Generally the needle doesn't move much when tracking. It's more for smoothing.
1176LN...Limiting Amplifier

The original Universal Audio 1176LN designed by Bill Putnam was a major breakthrough in limiter technology – the first true peak limiter with all transistor circuitry offering superior performance and a signature sound. Evolved from the popular Universal Audio 175 and 176 vacuum tube limiters, the 1176LN retained the proven qualities of these industry leaders, and set the standard for all limiters to follow.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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mdjice's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
actually a lot of people using a LA2A use it in..LIMIT mode when recording vocals
Old 23rd January 2009
  #7
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If you do a little compression and a little eq on the way in and get the recording nearer to what it will finally sound like, will that help in allowing you to do a bit more careful compression and eq during mixdown - and, in effect result in accomplishment of some preliminary mastering work - or am I all wet. With such a long first sentence, and this sentence beginning with a preposition, I must be soaked. dfegad
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by iosound ➑️

- if you know you're gonna use it anyway, go ahead and commit to it, every little bit you settle on along the way saves time and headaches later

Absolutely. And also, compressing on the way in can potentially save you a DA/AD step later on.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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warhead's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I typically use compression followed by a limiter, the limiter is more of an "oops" style but still...a good limiter will sound way better than clipping when a crap singer with no dynamic range control can't keep it in check.

War
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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Musiclab's Avatar
I pretty much always use my CL1b on the way in.
1. I like the color it imparts'
2. I like that I'm lightly limiting the dynamic range, I don't have to hit the compressor so hard on the way back
Old 23rd January 2009
  #11
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insomnio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by hectc7 ➑️
Why is it that engineers use a limiter on vocals before hand and then afterwards...why don't they just do it afterwards...what is the benifit?
In the case of an ITB mix, I very much prefer the sound of a real compressor. Once it is in the digital domain you'll depend in plugins for color or attitude, which is better obtainable with hardware.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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AllAboutTone's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peacock ➑️
I never track with a compressor. I also try my best not to use it in mixing as well. The more you compress the worse the sound becomes.
+1 heh
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
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🎧 10 years
I have protools LE and my only outboard comp is the retro 176 so i record with 10-15 db reduction in the loudest parts sometimes F it you only live once
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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warhead's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peacock ➑️
I never track with a compressor. I also try my best not to use it in mixing as well. The more you compress the worse the sound becomes.

Most are addicted to compression because it increases perceived volume. The increased perception of volume is mistaken for better sound.

However, the perceived loudness also imparts a side effect by sacrificing the sound and natural dynamics.
For sparse and spacious sounding music that will be listened to in a reasonably stable and quiet environment, this approach makes perfect sense.

For pop / rock / metal production styles that you must control stray elements and hammer everything into one place, compression makes perfect sense.

War
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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E.rOk.stA's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Honestly, I think it's because most folks are tracking straight to DAW with less than excellent converters so they try to avoid mixing back out and in, also, it trumps software comps all day. Once I understood what compression does and how to control it, I jumped right on that bandwagon. It just makes sense. It is not the end of the road though, coupled with fader rides, it's flawless. (IMO)
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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A LaMere's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevedresser83 ➑️
I have protools LE and my only outboard comp is the retro 176 so i record with 10-15 db reduction in the loudest parts sometimes F it you only live once
NIIIICE! a near perfect answer....

I think it's all been said on this thread.
1. to impart tone/color/dimension that you can't get 'in the box'
2. to protect against overs at points in your chain (converters are a great example)
3. compression is the sound of rock in many circles
4. F it, you only live once
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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moon_unit's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
5) Because I like to commit to "something" early on. Whatever that might be. Committing to things early forces me to look at the larger picture early on, so I'm thinking like a mix engineer ... during the tracking phase. Also prevents me from spending too much time over-analyzing things later on.

6) It's good for the singer to hear a compressed vocal in his/her headphones. It helps him/her to sing with greater conviction and confidence. As a singer, it's really nice to hear your voice compressed in your cans. Try it sometime. You can "work" a compressor, much in the same way a guitar player can work an amp.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #18
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insomnio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
7) Go back to 4)
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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insomnio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peacock ➑️
I never track with a compressor. I also try my best not to use it in mixing as well. The more you compress the worse the sound becomes.

Most are addicted to compression because it increases perceived volume. The increased perception of volume is mistaken for better sound.

However, the perceived loudness also imparts a side effect by sacrificing the sound and natural dynamics.
With all due respect, I want to hear some Pop/Rock tune mixed with no compression. I wish also to know how many singers sound great with no compressors in their signal.

I think that theoretically you are very right, but it doesn't apply to 90% of what most engineers have to work with.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #20
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hectc7's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peacock ➑️
I never track with a compressor. I also try my best not to use it in mixing as well. The more you compress the worse the sound becomes.

Most are addicted to compression because it increases perceived volume. The increased perception of volume is mistaken for better sound.

However, the perceived loudness also imparts a side effect by sacrificing the sound and natural dynamics.
I really think that the rock genre IS compression. I totaly see what people mean when they say that using compression will take dynamics BUT....most rock records that I enjoy would not have the impact that they have if it was not for comps/limiters.

So if ALBINI is reading this USE SOME COMPRESSION you stubborn man!! you ruined the new THE WEDDING PRESENT album !!!!!

tuttyeah I went there
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Trp
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittonian ➑️
I don't know anyone using a limiter when tracking.
Summit TLA 100 comes to mind, used by Al Schmitt for example.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #22
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Unclenny's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I'll just underline the situation for those of us who are compressing ITB.

If you have an outboard compressor that gives you a sound that you like, get to know it and use it on the way in.

You'll find yourself using much less ITB compression.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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Joram's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead ➑️
I typically use compression followed by a limiter, the limiter is more of an "oops" style but still...a good limiter will sound way better than clipping when a crap singer with no dynamic range control can't keep it in check.
I prefer first the limiter and then the compressor. Safer and a hotter signal > compressor
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #24
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🎧 15 years
To say that no one uses limiters at the recording stage is very, well...not true. Sometimes you've gotta wonder if people here are actually recording anything and not just staring at their racks...

Well, if you're not confident or sure of what you're doing, maybe you shouldn't do it.

Many folks compress/limit before and after the recorder because compression/limiting tends to sound better/less offensive when done in stages. 2 boxes adding up to 8dB of gain reduction is usually a better idea than having one box do the whole job at once. There are a few exceptions to this rule. Boxes that don't care how hard they're working.

I like tracking vocals and bass with 2 channel compressors. One channel right into the other. Couple dB here, couple-three dB there.

My own music has very dynamic guitar playing. I go from two handed tapping to all out warfare in the middle of a 13/8 measure. I've gotten very good at setting up compressors to even this out for me while I'm playing. So I do it, because it helps me play better.

"Whatever works".
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #25
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vernier's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Depends on the era. Today's vocal sound isn't the benchmark, so, whatever the current trend is, it will surely pass. Compression came on the scene in the 60's, and continued from there. Is it needed? ..does it shrink sound? ..doesn't it harm dynamics? ..are Patsy Cline and Nat Cole recordings more enjoyable to listen too? ...lots of questions.
'
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
On most of the time I record it flat an keep listen thru the compressor and/or eq....
this gives me an idea of how it will sound when ready and I don't need to commit with any processing in the early stage

YOU'RE ALWAYS MIXING!!

M.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #27
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I think people responding here need to consider the obvious reality that the OP is someone who is most likely just starting out and has questions. Just because something is termed a "limiter" and not a "compressor" doesn't really address the initial question (at least the way I read it).

--------------------------------
From WikiPedia

Compression and limiting are no different in process, just in degree and in the perceived effect. A limiter is a compressor with a higher ratio, and generally a fast attack time. Most engineers consider a ratio of 10:1 or more as limiting, although there are no set rules. Engineers sometimes refer to soft and hard limiting which are differences of degree. The "harder" a limiter, the higher its ratio and the faster its attack and release times.

Brick wall limiting has a very high ratio and a very fast attack time. Ideally, this ensures that an audio signal never exceeds the amplitude of the threshold. Ratios of 20:1 all the way up to ∞:1 are considered to be 'brick wall'. The sonic results of more than momentary and infrequent hard/brick-wall limiting are usually characterized as harsh and unpleasant; thus it is more appropriate as a safety device in live sound and broadcast applications than as a sound-sculpting tool.
--------------------------------

Until you get into 10:1, 15:1, 20:1, etc. you are really compressing, not limiting. For those of you that are actually limiting on the way in, I would definitely say you are in the minority. For those of you compressing on the way in, I would guess you're doing so, using the tool of your choice (whether that is named a limiter, limiting amplifier, compressor, etc.) at ratios of no more than 4:1 to shave off the peaks. Personally for vocals I use a Purple MC77 so I guess that would be a "limiting amplifier", however it's set to a ratio of 4:1 and thus I am "compressing"

Unless a limiter set to a high ratio is a characteristic of the sound design, why on earth would you want to smash the hell out of a part on the way in and commit yourself to capturing the part without regard for the mixing stage and what might present itself later?

A reasonable question was asked here and some reasonable answers were given. To the rest of the responders, perhaps we should try to respond with some educated answers to help the OP and the other readers on the forum instead of complaining that a piece of gear is called a limiter even though it's being used at a lower ratio.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
I just bought a used Symetrix 488 Dyno-sqeeze (not to be confused with the Susan Summers device for your inner-thigh's) on "Eh-Bay", I paid $80.99 for it and it comes with 16 trs/mogomi cables(short)neutrik conectors and not racked,so how could you go wrong?
And I'm hoping to use this for slight compression(sqeeze) going to my DAW.
It has 8 compressors but one set of controls for threshhold and output.
Fixed ratio of 2.1 or 2.5 , I believe. It's not for effect or anything ,just to squeeze some more signal (possibly + bits) & smooth, to my DAW.
Anyone else tried this?
It'll be here tommorrow on the 24th.
I'm hoping it to be a secret weapon! Opp's, the secrets out! Damn!
I think might be a good way to use compression on the way in
with out the possbuility of destroying a good take.

Think of it like adding justa little salt to your food.
You can always add more salt later to your taste!
But if over salt it first your can't remove it later!
(you can reach me for more of my favorite recipes or buy the book!
@BS.com.)
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #29
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skiltrip's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I use compression on the way in because when used liberally and with purpose, it can add/change your sound in awesome ways. Especially making a compressor work hard, for different styles of singing, and different mic techniques you can get really 'in your face' kind of results. Excellent for some rock and aggressive pop music. All depends what you're going for. For a specific example, I often track my own vocals with an AT4033 into an RNP, thru an RNC set at about 6:1, fast attack and relatively fast release and a little bit of gain makeup to get that real in your face vocals. You can easily get a relatively soft vocal delivery to still sound powerful this way.

But when used for the above reason, I can never compress after the fact to get the same results. But note that I'm not really equipped to use outboard gear after the fact due to lack of delay compensation.

This then becomes kind of a case of hardware vs. plugin compression.

But to me, you pick a certain mic, and a certain pre, a certain amount of gain, and a certain distance from the mic and mic position to get a desired result. using compression on the way in is just another instance of this same thing.
there's no denying there's something special about capturing your source kicking just the right amount of arse from the start.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittonian ➑️
I don't know anyone using a limiter when tracking. Using a compressor when tracking is different and pretty normal when you have it set to a low ratio (i.e. 2:1 or 4:1) with the threshold set to just shave off any peaks that might come through. Generally the needle doesn't move much when tracking. It's more for smoothing.
many times I find myself using 6:1 while tracking vocals with my distressor and I never feel that I've over compressed. but that's also after years of becoming used to what I'm going to be looking for once I start a mix.
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