Quantcast
3dB compression. What does it mean??? - Gearspace.com
The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
3dB compression. What does it mean???
Old 25th January 2009
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Jorg's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
3dB compression. What does it mean???

I often read articles where engineers or producers talk about the amount gain reduction they use when compressing.
What exactly does it mean tho when someone says he compresses his vocals eg 3 dB?
Lets assume we got a very dynamic and use a LA2A. Does 3dB compression mean that the Compressor never goes higher than 3dB (which would mean no compression at all for most of the time in a very dynamic track) or does it mean 3dB average (which would mean that at loudest parts 10dB GR wouldn't be uncommon).

I'm just confuesd because theres quite a huge difference between the 2 approaches.
Old 25th January 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
emrr's Avatar
 
24 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I always insert the words 'no more than' or 'on average a max of' in the middle of that sort of statement. You can't really describe a nebulous moving 'middle average'.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
JSG
Gear Maniac
 
JSG's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
It means that once the signal level goes beyond the set threshold of the compressor, the amount of signal going beyond the threshold will be reduced by 3 db.
Old 25th January 2009
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Kenton's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
It means that the output signal has been made 3dB quieter than the input signal at that particular moment - the real world result being dependent on the attack and decay settings.

3dB of gain reduction with fast attack and decay will produce a different
effect to 3dB of gain reduction with slow attack and slow release.

K.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
rackdude's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by emrr ➑️
I always insert the words 'no more than' or 'on average a max of' in the middle of that sort of statement. You can't really describe a nebulous moving 'middle average'.


It usually means "the meter will never show I am compressing more than 3 db, but I am in the range a lot"
Old 25th January 2009
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
It doesn't mean a whole lot.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Greg Curtis's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
It just feels good to say it, IMHO.

"I used 3dB of compression," is one of those phrases engineers use all the time, without really meaning it. it's like saying, "I love little puppies." You just can't argue with it.

GC
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Jorg's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rackdude ➑️


It usually means "the meter will never show I am compressing more than 3 db, but I am in the range a lot"
on a very dynamic vocal thats a tricky thing tho. I recently tracked one of these vocals and its not possible to be a lot in the 3 dB range and never go over it. I tried to have the compression at about 2 - 3 dB average, meaning that the needle will be there most of the time, however that resulted in a lot of no compression and A LOT of 10dB compression.
In my experience I can't be A LOT in the the same GR range that I'm also peaking in.


PS: Lets please stay away from a discussion about "you need to automate your vocals and bla bla bla". This is merely about the clarification of the terminology.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Jorg's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsvisser ➑️
It doesn't mean a whole lot.
thats exactly what I'm thinking. As Greg said, it seams to be more of catch phrase than anything.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
DeepSpace's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rackdude ➑️


It usually means "the meter will never show I am compressing more than 3 db...
That about sums it up.

Meter ballistics, of course, make this a fairly nebulous statement. But there you have it.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Addict
 
markus enochson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
i mean, for me it means what is says. 3db of gain reduction when incoming signal passes threshold...
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Jorg's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by markus enochson ➑️
i mean, for me it means what is says. 3db of gain reduction when incoming signal passes threshold...
i think you dont understand the thread really.
If you say you compress a vocal 3dB than thats not as simple as it sounds because a full vocal track is a highly dymanic recording which can't be compressed 3dB at any given time with a single set-and-forget compressor.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Tonio Ruiz's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I think I'd rather concentrate on how it listens and fits in the mix, rather than needle positioning

there are so many variables in both recording and mixing
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Jorg's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkSky ➑️
That about sums it up.

Meter ballistics, of course, make this a fairly nebulous statement. But there you have it.
If its really the case that "3dB compression means" that the meter will NEVER go over 3dB GR than on an average vocal recording this would rather be peak-limiting with a low ratio because you wouldn't be compressing at all for most of the time.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Jorg's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonio Ruiz ➑️
I think I'd rather concentrate on how it listens and fits in the mix, rather than needle positioning

there are so many variables in both recording and mixing
true, but as I said:
Quote:
This is merely about the clarification of the terminology
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Barish's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
It means "I don't check the meters much but if you really want to know, the last time I remember my eyes caught the meter it was pumping down to -3db or something."

B.
πŸ“ Reply
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump