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Compress while mixing or after?
Old 10th September 2002
  #1
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2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Compress while mixing or after?

Hey there,
Does the effect of compression differ if you use it while mixing as opposed to in a inhouse mastering type. In other words, what i've recently been doing is mixing to two tracks of my 24 track HD recorder without using a stereo buss compressor. Then I'll mix it to a Masterlink while going through my stereo compressor and eq. The thinking is that I get the best mix I can without worring about the stereo buss comp/eq. Then I can consentrate on the stereo buss comp/eq later without worrying about mixing. The extra converters not withstanding, would I get better results with just compressing and eqing 2 buss while mixing.
My typical 2 buss stuff include Avalon 2044 and Fatso for compressors (and occasionally an RNC) then an Avalon 747 for EQ (mostly just extra high end sweetening) or Speck eq's. RME or Apogee converters.
Old 10th September 2002
  #2
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In case it wasn't clear from my smattering of ignorance above. The question was regarding stereo buss compression and eq, not the individual tracks compression and eqing that goes on.
Old 10th September 2002
  #3
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I nearly ALLWAYS compress the stereo buss with whatever i need to get the job done, which typically is Al Smart C2 and or Avalon 747. I l also EQ post compression as inserting Eq before compressor can upset teh compression i am trying to acheive.. Eq i like to put stax of bootoms in and it ends up pumping unless the compressor has an appropriarte side chain filter.

PEACE
Wiggy
Old 10th September 2002
  #4
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thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
The truth is, what you are used to. Don't do something because others do it, do it because its part of your style. I compress and EQ my mixes for (2) reasons 1) Its part of my sound!!! 2)I hate when a mix comes back from a mastering house, and they have destroyed the spectral balance that I spent time to create. Also by the time it hits the radio or tv, forget it. So I just take control of what I can control, and let the chips fall where they may. Compression after skews the levels of your effects. I prefer to do it along the way.
Old 10th September 2002
  #5
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e-cue's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I compress my Stereo Bus, but almost never past 2 db. I usually do this toward the end of my mix, maybe an hour before I'm done.
Old 10th September 2002
  #6
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Jules's Avatar
I can't figure out this stuff myself!

I am still expirimenting with mix methods myself.

Here's what I am wrestling with:

1) I LIKE hearing a slick 'mastered' sound while mixing

however.....

2) I know it is better to tweak this on a 'mastering day' with fresh ears.



A/B ing mastered CD's to your mix is hard WITHOUT all the mastering toys on there...... it's a tricky one....

I am creeping up on it!

heh
Old 10th September 2002
  #7
Moderator emeritus
 
🎧 15 years
I'm going with e-cue - I'll use a little Vari-Mu on the mix buss, but not more than a dB or two. The wretched part of compression comes later...
Old 10th September 2002
  #8
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Knox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I usually run my Hedd unit and compression early on and mix monitoring the 2 track
Old 10th September 2002
  #9
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thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I've been mixing like this the last 2 years. I strap on a digital limiter(either L2/Weiss/ or TC DBmax) after some 2 buss comp/EQ, and see what the limiting will do. And i make adjustments accordingly. It works great and I am more confident how things will sound after mastering.




Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
I can't figure out this stuff myself!

I am still expirimenting with mix methods myself.

Here's what I am wrestling with:

1) I LIKE hearing a slick 'mastered' sound while mixing

however.....

2) I know it is better to tweak this on a 'mastering day' with fresh ears.



A/B ing mastered CD's to your mix is hard WITHOUT all the mastering toys on there...... it's a tricky one....

I am creeping up on it!

heh
Old 10th September 2002
  #10
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'm with thrill and e-cue. I want it to sound totally finished.

I noticed a while back that if I leave it 'natural', the mix might not sound as 'finished' as the other guys...and the client won't understand why. So now I finish the mix to the point where it would ideally only need a bit of limiting at mastering.

My usual: SSL main outs pre-VCA to Tubetech SMC2B to Massivo / GML 8200...and an L2 on the monitoring back, most of the time bypassed but useful for checking the effect it will have.

I don't always use the EQs on the mix, but I always use the SMC2B...which I find frequently more effective as an EQ than an EQ.

I'd like to get an STC-8 to try out in the chain too.
Old 11th September 2002
  #11
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Jon

1) how to keep track of L&R calibration of the GML 8200 or the massive passive? Or do you not sweat it? - It's just that one BRAD BLACKWOOD (!) was saying how hard the 8200 was to get the same either side.... Ditto for the Massive Passive?

2) You prefer to compress a mix then EQ? - Why that way round?

3) What do you find yourself using most when you DO use eq? The GML or the Massive Passive? And Why?

4) Has the Tubetech SMC2B any uses during tracking / overdubs? If so - what?

Old 11th September 2002
  #12
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Jules,
I couldn't have asked better questions myself. Really, I couldn't have.
Old 11th September 2002
  #13
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thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Hi Jules,

I can't speak for Jon, but I much prefer to compress the mix than EQ. I think for the reason i stated before, compression after changes levels, sometimes drastically. Also every mastering guy has his favorites, which may not be your first choices for that project, so why not help him along. I think EQ is a critical process, and you don't want to take that away from another mastering guy. Especially if he is trying to make sure that your mixes will translate well to other speaker systems. What if there is a small problem in your control room, do you have excellent bass response in your speaker system? In my opinion the wrong compressor may screw up your mix more than the wrong EQ. Still I will admit i tend to strap an EQ sometimes on the mixbuss, mainly more for color, than EQ adjustments. What I've noticed is that the Massive works wonders for a digital 2 buss(for eg. the Masterlink). I tend to lift the bottomn a touch and the very top(like I would with a Pultec). I think the 8200 works better if I am mixing to a half inch, where even though the mix sounds thick it needs to be opened up a touch. The Massive just darkens it too much when its hitting analog. Oh yeah about not being able to match the sides, Brad actually likes the L2 in individual mode, not in stereo mode, cause to his ears it sounds more open. So hey, if it sounds good to you, even though it doesn't make total sense, than that's what counts.


Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
Jon

1) how to keep track of L&R calibration of the GML 8200 or the massive passive? Or do you not sweat it? - It's just that one BRAD BLACKWOOD (!) was saying how hard the 8200 was to get the same either side.... Ditto for the Massive Passive?

2) You prefer to compress a mix then EQ? - Why that way round?

3) What do you find yourself using most when you DO use eq? The GML or the Massive Passive? And Why?

4) Has the Tubetech SMC2B any uses during tracking / overdubs? If so - what?

Old 11th September 2002
  #14
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
Jon

1) how to keep track of L&R calibration of the GML 8200 or the massive passive? Or do you not sweat it? - It's just that one BRAD BLACKWOOD (!) was saying how hard the 8200 was to get the same either side.... Ditto for the Massive Passive?

I just worry about levels...send 1k osc tone or bass guitar from the desk through them and make sure it's balanced with the EQ in. The rest is up to the ears. If it's slightly different l/r, that could even 'widen' the mix...

2) You prefer to compress a mix then EQ? - Why that way round?

The SMC2B maybe acts more like an EQ than a comp the way I'm using it...only 1-2dB of GR on each of the 3 bands, make-up gain usually flat...it opens up the mix and the bottom end punches better. I'd like to have a regular comp before it like an STC8. The SSL quad comp works, but I don't always like what it does.

3) What do you find yourself using most when you DO use eq? The GML or the Massive Passive? And Why?

Between the EQs on the J and the SMC2B, I don't use EQ very often on the mix anymore. I like the Massivo for it's organic/tube/warm thang. The GML is more transparent and analytical, less color. Two very different beasts.

4) Has the Tubetech SMC2B any uses during tracking / overdubs? If so - what?

I haven't used it for overdubs, but I suppose you could. It's good for adding air and tightening/punching the bottom end. If it wasn't on my 2-buss, I'd use it on a BV or drum buss.

Old 11th September 2002
  #15
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Jules's Avatar
Hmmmmmmmmm....
Interesting
Yarzzzzzzzzzzzzz

thanks

Old 17th March 2003
  #16
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Renie's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hey Thrillfactor,

What is your favourite 2 buss compressor ?

And what kind of settings do you use? Do you keep them the same from the start or back off as the mix progresses ?

Do you use the compressor and the smiling Massive Passive from the start of the mix, halfway or a little later?

Thank you!

Oh and what do you think of the Tubetech SMC 2B? Do your thoughts concur with Jon's?
Old 17th March 2003
  #17
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doug_hti's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
can someone tell me what the street price of the tube tech is?
Old 17th March 2003
  #18
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jazzius's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
i reckon compressing the 2-buss should be done in the mix, 'cause it'll change the sound, spectrally and also level wise, so it's best done in the mix, while adjustments can still be made to the individual tracks....

....BUT, to quote d.c., the compressor shouldn't be strapped on in lieu of actual leveling.......what i mean by this is that, like e-cue said, it shouldn't be strapped on too early.....before the actual details have been sorted out.....otherwise it becomes a sort of band-aid for all sorts of things....

.......sometimes i hear mixes and i know that the mixer had "lost control" of the 2-buss compression....i mean that if the mixer turned off the comp, the mix would have sounded ****ed, so he has no choice but to carry on with a basically flawed mix.......

What i really hate is people strapping a multiband comp over the 2-buss (normally protools mixes)...i ****ing hate this......why the **** would you do this when you have access to group compression......this is starting to happen waaaay too often.....

limiting the 2-buss is different and should be saved till the mastering unless you really know what the hell you're doing......this also goes for things like apogee soft limit, 'cause once it's done there's no going back.
Old 18th March 2003
  #19
Gear Guru
 
thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Renie
Hey Thrillfactor,

What is your favourite 2 buss compressor ?

And what kind of settings do you use? Do you keep them the same from the start or back off as the mix progresses ?

Do you use the compressor and the smiling Massive Passive from the start of the mix, halfway or a little later?

Thank you!

Oh and what do you think of the Tubetech SMC 2B? Do your thoughts concur with Jon's?
Hi Renie,

My 3 favorites at the moment are the Focusrite Blue 230, Manley Vari-Mu or the Crane Song STC-8.

What settings?

My compression techniques for the 2 buss are more for "color and feeling" than dynamic control(this goes for individual instruments as well). I am one of those low ratios/high threshold med/slow attack/slow realease guys(I think I will get a T-Shirt with this slogan one day).

I usually strap the Massive towards the end(just a touch though). Again for a little "color and air". Sometimes I dial some missing body(usually the mids). But I always cover my a** by doing 2 versions, one with and with out.

I was just thinking about this unit today. I was mastering a Hip-Hop project yesterday where it would have came in handy. It had an incredibly low sub bass which when played went all over the place. If I could just zone in on the rest of the song, with out affecting it I coulda done a better master. It worked out, but it left me thinking.heh
Old 18th March 2003
  #20
jho
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by jazzius
...sometimes i hear mixes and i know that the mixer had "lost control" of the 2-buss compression....i mean that if the mixer turned off the comp, the mix would have sounded ****ed, so he has no choice but to carry on with a basically flawed mix.
Do you guys leave the 2 buss compressor in bypass, for the most part, until you are close to being ready to print the mix?
Old 18th March 2003
  #21
Gear Addict
 
mdbeh's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by jho
Do you guys leave the 2 buss compressor in bypass, for the most part, until you are close to being ready to print the mix?
I put in on at the start, since it's going to affect how everything else I do sounds.
Old 18th March 2003
  #22
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Drumsound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by jho
Do you guys leave the 2 buss compressor in bypass, for the most part, until you are close to being ready to print the mix?
If I use buss compression it comes in early. I find every time I try to add it later it does more harm than good. If I use it early it becomes part of the mix and works much better. YMMV.
Old 18th March 2003
  #23
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Renie's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
Hi Renie,

My 3 favorites at the moment are the Focusrite Blue 230, Manley Vari-Mu or the Crane Song STC-8.

What settings?

My compression techniques for the 2 buss are more for "color and feeling" than dynamic control(this goes for individual instruments as well). I am one of those low ratios/high threshold med/slow attack/slow realease guys(I think I will get a T-Shirt with this slogan one day).

I usually strap the Massive towards the end(just a touch though). Again for a little "color and air". Sometimes I dial some missing body(usually the mids). But I always cover my a** by doing 2 versions, one with and with out.

I was just thinking about this unit today. I was mastering a Hip-Hop project yesterday where it would have came in handy. It had an incredibly low sub bass which when played went all over the place. If I could just zone in on the rest of the song, with out affecting it I coulda done a better master. It worked out, but it left me thinking.heh
So TF,

I'm curious how you get the dynamics under control and all uplifted then....do you prefer dynamics compression to be done during tracking? or do you ride your faders a lot and EQ to gain control???? or?

btw If I see someone with that t-shirt on I'll come over and say "hi".

Were you referring to the Massive or the SMC 2B in your last para..I assume the Massive. Have you tried the SMC 2B? I'm considering getting that instead of the Massive in the short term...

thanks


Old 18th March 2003
  #24
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thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Renie
So TF,

I'm curious how you get the dynamics under control and all uplifted then....do you prefer dynamics compression to be done during tracking? or do you ride your faders a lot and EQ to gain control???? or?

btw If I see someone with that t-shirt on I'll come over and say "hi".

Were you referring to the Massive or the SMC 2B in your last para..I assume the Massive. Have you tried the SMC 2B? I'm considering getting that instead of the Massive in the short term...

thanks



Renie,

I get the dynamics nice and "up" while mixing. I have a whole bunch of tricks in my bag for getting the tracks to sound both dynamic and interesting.

It does help when its a great song though.grudge

I was referring to the SMC 2B. I know the Massive well(I 've been using since it came out).

These are (2) different animals.

One is an EQ, the other a compressor.

The only thing they have in common is that they both use tubes. The early SCM 2B 's i used would go out of phase eventually(I think Lydkraft has corrected the problem). Its a good unit.

I think the EQ would be more useful though. You can fix more things with it than a compressor.
Old 18th March 2003
  #25
jho
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Drumsound
If I use buss compression it comes in early. I find every time I try to add it later it does more harm than good. If I use it early it becomes part of the mix and works much better. YMMV.
I'm primarily in the box (HD) for now on my master fader except for a HEDD 192...so I've been getting good results using RenCompressor as Charles Dye suggests.

In this instance, do you DAW folks do the same thing? (keep in). I have done either way but will frequently check things like kick and bass with the compressor in bypass...how about you daw'ers?

PS: Next thing on my gearslut spending list is an external compressor for 2 buss duties - so don't flame me...my heart is external heh
Old 19th March 2003
  #26
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alphajerk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
The truth is, what you are used to. Don't do something because others do it, do it because its part of your style. I compress and EQ my mixes for (2) reasons 1) Its part of my sound!!! 2)I hate when a mix comes back from a mastering house, and they have destroyed the spectral balance that I spent time to create. Also by the time it hits the radio or tv, forget it. So I just take control of what I can control, and let the chips fall where they may. Compression after skews the levels of your effects. I prefer to do it along the way.
ditto.

i mix to the 2buss comp. its the first thing that goes on. it gets adjusted along the way during the mix.

eq i leave to the mastering guy.
Old 19th March 2003
  #27
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Renie's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
Renie,

I get the dynamics nice and "up" while mixing. I have a whole bunch of tricks in my bag for getting the tracks to sound both dynamic and interesting.

It does help when its a great song though.grudge

I was referring to the SMC 2B. I know the Massive well(I 've been using since it came out).

These are (2) different animals.

One is an EQ, the other a compressor.

The only thing they have in common is that they both use tubes. The early SCM 2B 's i used would go out of phase eventually(I think Lydkraft has corrected the problem). Its a good unit.

I think the EQ would be more useful though. You can fix more things with it than a compressor.
Thrill

Thanks.

I was wondering how you control your dynamics as you said you don't use much 'control compression' while mixing and prefer comps for colour/feel.

(i'm not trying to extract anything from your bag of tricks-well yes OK I am.)

I know the beasts are different Thrill

"I don't always use the EQs on the mix, but I always use the SMC2B...which I find frequently more effective as an EQ than an EQ." ..this is Jon's quote..and I've heard this said around a few times.

So what do you think about that then?
Old 19th March 2003
  #28
Gear Guru
 
thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Renie
Thrill

Thanks.

I was wondering how you control your dynamics as you said you don't use much 'control compression' while mixing and prefer comps for colour/feel.

(i'm not trying to extract anything from your bag of tricks-well yes OK I am.)

I know the beasts are different Thrill

"I don't always use the EQs on the mix, but I always use the SMC2B...which I find frequently more effective as an EQ than an EQ." ..this is Jon's quote..and I've heard this said around a few times.

So what do you think about that then?
Hey Renie,

If you like it...my bag(Gucci tricks bags) is yours!!!heh

I use a lot of parallel and sub compression on tracks(helps retain clarity and punch of the originals).

Unless the originals are trash and then I get radical!!

Stand back!!!

Its time for me to create my "Franken-Tracks"!!!

Like I always say..."Its a be-a-utiful Ting"

The SMC2B is a great and powerful tool. In the right hands its magic(Jon for example).

In the wrong hands its "unresponsible destruction".(Sorta like George Bush I guess).heh
Old 19th March 2003
  #29
jho
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
In the wrong hands its "unresponsible destruction".(Sorta like GB I guess).heh
oooh... gearslutz is for studio politics, not geopolitics..watch it TF... You might end up like the dfegad dixie chicks...
Old 19th March 2003
  #30
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hi Renie,

The deal with the SMC2B is that (a) it does something for my mix that nothing else I have here does and (b) the trick is that a very little goes quite a long way. FWIW I didn't get it at first....it's not an extremely complex machine, but a few weeks went by before figured out/stumbled on the settings that turned the SMC2 into the workhorse it is for me.

The deal with the Massivo is that it is one of my go-to vocal EQs. A few free-lancers put it on the 2-bus; I don't, at least for mixing. It darkens/colors/transforms the mix up too much for my taste. I'd rather do that to individual elements or subgroups, not the whole she-bang. I do use it for mastering, however, sometimes.

The Massivo is quite unlike any other EQ out there; it doesn't necessarily react like you might expect unless you read the manual, look at the way the curves vary with the settings, and figure out how to make it do what you need.

If you're trying to decide between the two, it's a hard call. They are both nice to have available, for different reasons. They are *specialty* items in my world...I could get by without them without any problem (unlike some of my other tools), but I sure wouldn't want to sell them. I don't know which I'd give up first.

Oh, and what TF said about parallel and sub compression to preserve the vitality of the original track (when it's worth preserving).

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