what is compression in sound

Check out our how to compress bass guide for a full guide on how to get your bass sounding thick & full! The ratio control determines how much the compressor reduces the gain once the signal passes the threshold. There are a few different types of audio compression, and each are based on analog hardware compressors. They are fast, clean, and reliable perfect for punching up drums, vocals, bass, guitars, and more. Choose the right tool: Try using compressors with slower attack and release characteristics on mellower sources, such as vocals. If you cant compare the compressed signal to the uncompressed signal, the ratio is actually :1!

The lower the number (1.5:1, 2:1, 3:1), the less compression that will be applied & the lower the gain reduction. Attack and release are controls for how fast compression reacts & how fast it stops reacting. How should the gain reduction behave once the compressor starts acting on the signal? Take a vocal track, for instance. Ratio is written as a comparison with the unaffected signal. Lead discussions. A good place to start with vocals is a slow attack, slow release, 2:1 ratio and adjusting the threshold to the level where you want your compression to act. jbl horn 2380 horns ph audio So what plug-in compressors can you use to emulate the sounds of the classics? A benefit of digital compression is that it can take an analog circuit, and add to it, by including features like EQ, sidechain, and other things that aren't usually available in hardware compressors, that can become useful for mixing. VCA compression is a fast, transparent compressor will give you a clean sound, minimise distortion, but may lack high-end clarity. Look-ahead. Field Effect Compressors use transistors to emulate a valve sound with more reliability, but with a higher signal to noise ratio. var abkw = window.abkw || ''; To give an analogy, compression is a bit like cooking: use too much spice and you've ruined your meal, but use enough and all the flavours combine together to make an incredibly tantalising, cohesive experience. VCA Compressor is short for Voltage Controlled Amplifier. Digital compressors are compression units that use code to either model circuitry of analog compressors, re-creating them in plug-in format, or provide extremely precise, clean and transparent compression. Some compressors express this as slopes in dB per second, rather than time. FET compression adds a signature colouring to the sound, and has fast response times. Compression is pretty subjective to your mix. The threshold is the level at which the compression effect is engaged. Compression on drums can add a lot of punch, and well needed grit, if done right. You want to make sure that the gain you add is only what you removed by compressing it. Optical compressors employ a light element and an optical cell. Some compressors provide meters to visually indicate the total attenuation in dB, allowing you to accurately apply the correct amount of make-up gain. Get access to over one million creative assets on Envato Elements. Compression is one of those studio processes that is all too often taken for granted and not used to its full potential. If you want to learn about soft clipping (great for punchy drums), check our what is soft clipping article. From the two signals above, you'll notice just how harsh audio compression can be if you over-do it with your compressor plugin. You want to have a good level of dynamic range throughout your mix to add depth and character to it. So, if you want your compression to slam in, have a quick attack time. So having a good grasp of the basics will ensure that you are getting the most out of this essential tool. Well, there are legit emulations of the 1176 and LA2A, and other classic compressors. It's an analog compression unit that uses a VCA to compressor the signal. A good way to understand it is to think of the sound of a recorded drum set. With such an important process, it can be hard for beginners to get started. *These posts may have affiliate links. A short release can make your compression sound unnatural and digital, whereas a slow release will make it sound smoother.

Make-Up gain is your friend here. We can then blend the two to get a wicked punchy sound. Optical compression provides a smooth, transparent compression sound that sounds best on vocals, guitar and bass, but can be used for any recording source to add warmth and an almost glossy sound. They tend to have slower attack and release times, resulting in a more "vintage" sound that can be difficult to achieve with other compressor types. They allow you to control levels, and when used properly, result in louder, more professional sounding recordings. This gives a more consistent volume overall & even out recordings. If youre using it on drums, it should make the groove heavier. FET or Field Effect Transistor compressors emulate tube sound, but with transistor circuits. Learn More: Tips with the 1176 Collection. Applying these techniques will put you on the path to more professional sounding recordings, and give you confidence when using this powerful, but often misused tool. Are you revealing more of the details or burying the important parts? VCA compression can sound good on anything, but is most commonly used on master instrument buses to provide glue. Insert the compressor on the channel you want tocompress. If you don't, listen to & work out how it changes your music. Set the knee dependent on the sound you are compressing. Good compression should enhance the basic musical qualities of the song. A hard knee will squash the signal straight away, whereas a soft knee will bring the compression in more gently. In certain situations, you'll need to use more than one compressor.

When the attack is too fast, the transients will be pushed down too far into the body of the drum to pierce through a dense track.

Hot tip: A faster release setting can intensify the pumping sound thats sometimes associated with heavy compressionespecially on drums. When applying this compression it squashes' you audio closer together, causing gain reduction. Each of these compression types play a large role in how your compression will sound. Plug-in compressors often have this feature. If you do this, you'll be able to hear how it's affecting your music more easily. In many cases, musical compression means youll see the gain reduction needle jumping and bouncing along in time with the beat. Compression is used in music to reduce the dynamic range of signals with loud and quiet elements so that both can be heard clearly. You would then increase the compression ratio a lot (inf:1 if you can). What Does Optical Compression Sound Best On?

The higher the number (5:1, 7:1 etc), the more compression will be applied. Audio compression is the process of reducing the dynamic range of the loudest and quietest peaks in your audio signal. Would you like to provide feedback (optional)? You need to listen to your sound, & what the difference is with a compressor on & off to determine if you *actually* need it or not. Michael Hahn is an engineer and producer at, A fast attack setting is good for controlling aggressive transients like those of a picked bass guitar, A slow attack time will let some of the sounds transient through to keep some punch and dynamicsthis is often helpful for drums and samples, A fast release can help create a sense of pressure and rhythmic action to the sound, A slow release can make the compressors action seem less pronounced and more subtle. Todays producers think nothing of inserting compressors on every single channel of their DAW when mixing, but old school engineers had to learn to make the most of only a few units of compressionand this made us learn them insideout. Hard Knee settings mean it clamps the signal straight away, and Soft Knee means the compression kicks in more gently as the signal goes further past thethreshold. Your attack is how fast your compression acts. Buuuutt it's good to have some examples to work from. In this article Ill go through everything you need to understand the role that audio compression plays in mixing music. Remember to only use compression when you know what the purpose is, & when you can hear how it's affecting the audio. If you don't, your audio will be louder and it will become more difficult to hear any difference in your audio. Audio compression is one of the most important tools in your producer tool kit. That said, the best way to be effective with compression is to understand it well and have a clear goal when you apply it. Soft knees are good for vocals, master busses etc. Sidechaining is usually added to melodic elements, like the bass, chords or lead lines. It's time to add that gain in manually. This can be particularly clear when mixing vocals, especially if there are quieter passages alongside yelled or belted parts. The LA2A is also a leveling amplifier which means it is working nearly all the time, not just when a threshold isreached. Host meetups. Most compressors allow you to choose either a soft or a hard knee. This can be a real problem on drums in the context of a mix. But there arealternatives. Compression is great for evening out vocal takes, getting thick, solid bass & is incredible for making drums pop through a mix. Is it to make it thicker? Opto, meaning optical, describes the light sensitive circuits that control the compression amount in opto compressors. This one seems pretty vague, but hear me out. Learn how Grammy-winning producer RAC uses UAD and Apollo to sculpt deep, expansive low end, how he uses distortion on drums, and why guitar is all over his latest album, BOY. Make your mail more musical Here, well explain the basic controls of audio compressors, different compressor types, and give you tips to try on your tracks. After this you lower the threshold. If your release time is set too short, you will hear the compressor cycling between active and inactive states, resulting in a breathing effect. So below we've left some compression examples you can try out in your music production sessions. Keep it simple: Use caution when experimenting with compression on your entire mix.

Hearing the compressors release is a big part of the character it brings to a sound. mazda 8. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website. Here is the same drum loop processed with the standard Apple Logic compressor with a variety ofsettings. It's often described as how smoothly your compression kicks in after the threshold is hit. If that audio was to go 6dbs over the threshold, with the same ratio of 3:1, then only 2dbs would pass. It's how quickly the compression is applied to the audio signal. Let's say we have a 3:1 ratio. They often react more slowly than other compressor types, but this can be desirable. Faster FET and VCA compressors tend to work well on louder sources, such as drums and percussion. Output gain is used to make up for the attenuation achieved by the compressor. It's the term for the initial burst of energy when a sound starts. Set the attack time. This also takes some experience to get a feel for, just keep an ear out in case youre doing more harm than good! In digital compressors, they often model the different circuitry of old compressor units to recreate a certain sound. 5. If the threshold is set so low that the compressor never releases, youre not really hearing what it can do!

Check ouraffiliate disclosurefor more info. If you want your compression to be a bit more subtle, go for soft knee. Like attack times, these can also be expressed as slopes in dB per second. Unless, of course, you really want to clamp somethinglike a live bass maybein this case it can work to make it push over the threshold all thetime. When you compress, the volume will often dip significantly, which means you need to bring it back up to an audible area. When vocalists perform, they have a huge dynamic range, which means their volume can go from high to low quickly. In most sounds, the transient is the loudest moment in the signal. So, that's why we also need to understand how much to use (& when), to make sure our mixes sound incredible. FET compression works best for adding aggression to your recordings. Adjust them together and see how they affect theoutput. When you purchase through these links we will recieve a commission. In these situations you shouldnt expect a single compressor to provide enough transparent gain reduction to even out the entire performance. Trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners. Compressors are one of the most important effects to understand when trying to get recordings that sound professional and radio-ready. Hardware compressors use either tube or solid-state components for their output gain stage, which can further influence the amount of color and character applied to your track. This is where output gain or make-up gain comes into play. Some have faster attacks, slower releases, some sound warm, some sound transparent and so on. If you've ever listened to House Music, you'll know this is an extremely crucial element to getting things to bounce'. In this example of vocal compression, we want to even out the transients and reduce the dynamic range. Optical compressors often have a default ratio of 3:1. Dont overcompress: Rather than using excessive compression at just one point, apply compression modestly at multiple stages throughout the recording, mixing, and mastering process. If your mix was the same volume throughout, there would be no difference between the chorus and breakdown in terms of volume and it would make the piece more static. Due to their fast response, VCA compressors work best on heavy transient and peaking audio signals. What Does Digital Compression Sound Best On? Make-Up Gain - allows you to boost the compressed signal. Focus on individual tracks and subgroups first, before exploring more complex techniques with multiband compressors and limiters. This is how hard or soft the compression will be. Fast and punchy VCA compressors run the gamut. Setting the hard/soft knee would depend on the material. So here's your step by step guide to setting up a compressor: Insert the compressor on the channel or bus that you want to apply compression to. A ratio of 1:1 represents unity gain in other words, no attenuation. Digital compression is used for precision, and is often used in a mixing scenario for clean-up. LANDR is an instant online music mastering tool. By reducing the dynamic range, you even out the loudest & quietest parts of an audio signal, giving a glued'/'squashed' sound. Think of the difference between a soft sound like a whispered vocal and the aggressive crack of a snare. Short release times cause the compressor to sound like its working hard, but long release times sound morenatural. Attack and release determine the timing of the compressor's action. ultrasound vascular vein test artery veins results