Compressor as an EQ

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nowaysj
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Re: Compressor as an EQ

Post by nowaysj » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:16 pm

:Q:
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Re: Compressor as an EQ

Post by knobgoblin » Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:43 am

you can use compressors as dynamic eq's of sorts if you can affect the sidechain. its most common to use a high pass filter to make it so the compression doesn't squash the bass, which is almost always the loudest part of a buss or master channel. so in effect, it acts a as bass expander, since the mids and highs get compressed but the low end is unaffected. but other effects can be achieved with different treatments to the sidechain. EG, de-essing with a high pass filter and resonant boost at the offending frequencies...

I don't know how much this applies to software, as much as in hardware, but, different compression types often have tonal characteristics associated with them. FET type compressors often have a brighter, more pronounced midrange type sound to them(half the time because they are trying to do the 1176 thing, but there are pretty transparent FET compressors out there too).VCA's are often distorted and muffled when doing huge amounts of gain reduction, but are also used in some of the cleanest and most transparent compressors out there. Vari-mu and optical tend to sound a tad darker due to the slower attack and release times typical of these types, though again, this isn't a hard and fast rule. much of the character of a compressors sound is in the make up gain stage after the actual compression circuit, to the point that there is one compressor out there that is actually passive, requiring a preamp afterwards in order to use it, even down to using the 48V phantom power to activate some of the circuits on the board, so that you can use any preamp color you want as the makeup gain, and thus further coloring and shaping the sound.

So, TLDR... most compressor, can have very individual sounds to them that colors whatever you put thru them in a certain way. Its up to the user to pick the right tool for the job in order to passively "EQ", in a way, the sound. all of the above is broad generalizations...

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Re: Compressor as an EQ

Post by nowaysj » Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:51 am

Just was listening to pro-c and it was very very dark.
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Re: Compressor as an EQ

Post by hubb » Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:55 pm

I just wanted to say almost the same thing as dubunked, that the low frequencies takes longer to unfold, so low threshold = long release, at least if you aren't using the comp 'rythmically' or 'envelopallotorrily' (wub?).

A reso lowpass with envelope settings let's you 'almost compress'.
So a way to balance and contain below or above a treshold, would be to have two instances and then spectrally balance it with the cutoff and its resonance.
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I love that you said you were trying to not eq. Eq's are like browsing around a frame store when you should be painting that portrait of the naked unwed queen on a chaiselong in your castle or something.
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Re: Compressor as an EQ

Post by hubb » Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:04 pm

Oh - it's neat little trick to judge a compressors ability on how the attack behaves.
Because the threshold often times introduce a shift in phase or ofcourse tone.
Try to find a sound that has a percussive weight to it but mostly consists of high frequency content, like not a snare but a maybe a ghost hit. Then compress it with a low threshold and as fast release as possible and then fuck around with the attack.

If there's sudden artifacts and there probably is, then you can't really count on that compressor being properly spectrally balanced, especially when it's introducing stuff
in the higher region.
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Re: Compressor as an EQ

Post by Jizz » Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:44 pm

nowaysj wrote:Just was listening to pro-c and it was very very dark.
pretty much the only sorta "proper" compressor I have, it does the trick for me though. the trick being just making my sounds phat for da whip ye


i really need to learn compression

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Re: Compressor as an EQ

Post by AxeD » Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:46 pm

I've worked with a Zener recently, that's exactly what you are looking for.
It's literally a nicerizer (which is also nice, but that's a summer I think :lol:).

But set aside spending 'car money' on a limiter.. maybe look for emulations of opto compressors,
like an la2a.

Fabfilter's pro-c is very good imo.
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Re: Compressor as an EQ

Post by Sharmaji » Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:09 pm

hubb wrote:Oh - it's neat little trick to judge a compressors ability on how the attack behaves.
Because the threshold often times introduce a shift in phase or ofcourse tone.
Try to find a sound that has a percussive weight to it but mostly consists of high frequency content, like not a snare but a maybe a ghost hit. Then compress it with a low threshold and as fast release as possible and then fuck around with the attack.

If there's sudden artifacts and there probably is, then you can't really count on that compressor being properly spectrally balanced, especially when it's introducing stuff
in the higher region.
+1, this is a great trick to finding the real flavor of each compressor. IE, who knew that when the ratio, release, and threshold are maxed out, the RenComp is great at rimshots?

very very few compressors are anything close to spectrally balanced, and those that are aren't really in the realm of this discussion re: gear that imparts frequency character. The Vari-Mu and Massenburg come to mind, and the shadow hills mastering comp can be super-transparent...
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Re: Compressor as an EQ

Post by SunkLo » Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:18 pm

Wonder what the cause of that is... Attack curves maybe? Sidechain EQ? Leprechauns?

I'm getting into compressor design so hopefully I'll eventually know how to sculpt the perfect one for various needs. I wonder if tone shaping is an artifact of analogue or if it's a function of the compressor's architecture.
knobgoblin wrote:there is one compressor out there that is actually passive, requiring a preamp afterwards in order to use it, even down to using the 48V phantom power to activate some of the circuits on the board, so that you can use any preamp color you want as the makeup gain, and thus further coloring and shaping the sound.
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Re: Compressor as an EQ

Post by Jizz » Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:24 pm

AxeD wrote:I've worked with a Zener recently, that's exactly what you are looking for.
It's literally a nicerizer (which is also nice, but that's a summer I think :lol:).

But set aside spending 'car money' on a limiter.. maybe look for emulations of opto compressors,
like an la2a.

Fabfilter's pro-c is very good imo.
ye Pro-C has an Opto mode that i often use, usually sounds very nice indeed

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Re: Compressor as an EQ

Post by titchbit » Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:33 pm

SunkLo can you confirm that what I said is true or not? I'm not 100% certain about it, but I've heard it from some trusted sources. If you missed it:
dubunked wrote:I think i know what you're after NWJ. I've heard that you can use a compressor in a way where it pretty much acts like a highpass filter. It has to do with the attack and release times, and also the arrangement of your song. I am not an expert on this, but from what I understand, you can get a compressor to act like a highpass with a short attack time and longish release because the long wavelengths of low frequency sounds don't have enough time to get through before they are compressed or something like that, but the short wavelengths of high frequency sounds do, so they come through before the compression.

I've never tried to use this in my productions but I've heard that it can work. Just throwing this out there for anyone who's interested.

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Re: Compressor as an EQ

Post by Aufnahmewindwuschel » Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:47 pm

you guys might hate me for that but yeah how big of a difference does it make to use lets say a daw stock compressor vs a 2000 dollar analog monster

and i know you will lose a certain sound but how big of a deal is it really?
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Re: Compressor as an EQ

Post by hubb » Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:17 pm

If the imaginairy sample is compressed by a good analogue compressor in the original recording and you have the sample at a highish bit rate, then it might not matter, but if the mix depends on having the effect the analogue compressor would give, then everyone would notice the difference with a soft comp.

To give a more general answer, I would say that soft comps and analogue comps are different effects, basicly. There's a lot of music where there's only software compression, but only because you can now use wet and dry signals without getting unpleasant phasing issues (in the digital realm). But that effect is more like masking or layering -in dynamics, more than it is actually changing the whole dynamic like an analogue compressor would.

But in a final mix, the important bit is just how the dynamics in every sound behaves together, not what specific 'roof' a compressor puts up.

I don't know why that reads so 'native american' to me but :lol:
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Re: Compressor as an EQ

Post by Aufnahmewindwuschel » Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:25 pm

ahthanks

yeah that was my idea its basically in the end about what you wanna achieve.

like french ed banger sound has this special vibe or some hip hop heavily depends on the mpc compression

it reads like that cause music comes naturally to you ;-)
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Re: Compressor as an EQ

Post by hubb » Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:31 pm

Sunklo
I wonder if tone shaping is an artifact of analogue or if it's a function of the compressor's architecture.
Yeah, good question. I think what defines tone is what number of overtones there is present, so a threshold taking away some frequencies would effectively have it work as a toneshaper on it's own.
And with the threshold being a main part of the architecture I'm sure you could say it is the architecture - like acoustics are in for example a string instrument or concert hall. That being said, it's probably a lot of mishaps and so on, that have led to the way we want compressors to sound now- people tend to crank them a lot.
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Re: Compressor as an EQ

Post by nowaysj » Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:37 pm

I've been looking for a really neutral sort of leveler lately. I don't know - compression seems to have just opened up for me. And I'm not happy with any vst. Other than like special fx comps, like the Molot and what not.
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Re: Compressor as an EQ

Post by hubb » Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:57 pm

There's nebula which is a task because you have to resample and resequence, to avoid timing issues, but it's really different. Really characteristic.

Fabfilter Volcano has some decent different sounding compression settings.

Then there's the 'sausage fattener' which is a low freq exciter thing that is kind of nice sounding.

All available as demos.

But you might want to try using a bit of wave shaping if you want to just 'outline'.
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Re: Compressor as an EQ

Post by nowaysj » Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:12 pm

hubb wrote:Fabfilter Volcano has some decent different sounding compression settings.
Do you mean Saturn? :lol: I keep asking that!
hubb wrote:Then there's the 'sausage fattener' which is a low freq exciter thing that is kind of nice sounding.
Will have to try this.


hubb wrote:But you might want to try using a bit of wave shaping if you want to just 'outline'.
What do you mean, der hubb?

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What do you chaps use for a track limiter? I've found the best way to preserve dynamics, keep tonal balance, but to blow a sound up just a little is to limit like one or two db off the top. Y'all ever do this, what do you use?
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Re: Compressor as an EQ

Post by SunkLo » Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:19 pm

dubunked wrote:SunkLo can you confirm that what I said is true or not? I'm not 100% certain about it, but I've heard it from some trusted sources. If you missed it:
dubunked wrote:I think i know what you're after NWJ. I've heard that you can use a compressor in a way where it pretty much acts like a highpass filter. It has to do with the attack and release times, and also the arrangement of your song. I am not an expert on this, but from what I understand, you can get a compressor to act like a highpass with a short attack time and longish release because the long wavelengths of low frequency sounds don't have enough time to get through before they are compressed or something like that, but the short wavelengths of high frequency sounds do, so they come through before the compression.

I've never tried to use this in my productions but I've heard that it can work. Just throwing this out there for anyone who's interested.
I could see it definitely accentuating HF content. Speed is synonymous with frequency so transients that poke through will naturally be fairly high frequency. In a scenario like compressing a kick drum, you could look at it as a highpass, since a kick's frequency content is pretty much laid out linearly in time. Most HF content at the front, most LF content at the back. Compress the tail and you'll naturally scoop out some LF. The compressor isn't actually compressing different frequencies differently though. If there's some HF grit on your kick's tail, that'll get squished too. More complex audio won't react so predictably.

You can also set it up to do the reverse. Fairly quick attack and quick release will smack the transients and round out the HF. Set the attack too fast though and you get waveshaping which will produce HF of it's own in the form of distortion.
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Re: Compressor as an EQ

Post by fragments » Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:21 pm

Interesting thread fellas. Following closely. I don't have anything to contribute at the moment, but watching/reading.
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