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Compression Parameters

Lesson 14 from: Mixing Electronic Music In Ableton Live

Isaac Cotec

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Lesson Info

14. Compression Parameters

Lesson Info

Compression Parameters

Now we're going to look at the different parts that make a compressor right. All the difference parameters and things we can change to control it. First thing we have is threshold. Threshold sets how loud the signal has to be before compression is applied. In other words, if it never hits the threshold, nothing happens. It does hit the threshold. Something you have to find happens very easy. That's what we were doing before. Where if I press play, my threshold is here. If I go to this point, we can see the volumes hitting. Never hits passed that threshold. No compression will ever be ever happened. What if I lower it? That little orange part right here? Gain reduction, That is, how much is being pushed down. So it helps you visualize what is being what's happening to the sound itself. And we have See this? Sandwiches, some drums. If I turn the threshold, nothing's really happening fairly happening on the chicks. But if I lower this, you can see how it's getting those sounds much closer...

to each other then, before right, and if we change this threshold just moving around, it's squashing it, more more, lowering and lowering the range of the different parts, right? That is threshold. Probably the easiest part of this. Then we move into ratio. Now ratio is how much compression is applied. For example, if the compression ratio is set 4 to 1, it's where gets a little math heavy. But stick with me. If you go 4 to 1 input signal will have to cross the threshold at four decibels and the out pull and the output will then be only one decibel. Right? So four DV comes in, one db goes out. It's the ratio of the amount of compression. Now, if we look at this right here, I've got a sine wave. Let me set this. Nothing. All right, I'm gonna set my ratio for the one. Just a straight sine wave you can see here it's DBC the a little. I was just telling you The Peak peaks 10 decibel. Well, if I bring my threshold down to like, let's say, minus that means four decibels is hitting the threshold and going into the ratio right, the ratio set 4 to 1. So now if I clear this, it's around minus three db so minus 13 be the total. I make sense. Whereas in if I go to eight, 8 to 1. Oh, wait. No, Sorry. I want to keep it 4 to 1 and bring down this to minus eight, minus 16. So we've lost six. Right? So 4 to 1 means a three db loss. And you can You can change this. Whatever you want. If you go toe 11 Obviously nothing happens. 2 to 1, two in one out and so on. When you get into infinite, that's pretty much a brick wall. That means the second it hits that it is that volume. So that becomes pretty much a volume setting. So this is 18 if I go down. What is that? Minus 33? It's minus 33. It's just straight. Cut it off. That is ratio. Makes sense to you guys? Yep. Then we move over into attack. Attack is how quickly the compressor starts toe work. Right now we're just going over the knobs and the parameters, and then we're gonna get practical with it. But we need to really understand the working pieces. Attack is how quickly the compressor starts to work. Now we can still have that sine wave, right? And let's say I make the ratio pretty obvious, right? So it's a brick wall. It's just, like, really compressing it. You can see that orange amount this man is pushing. Now watch what happens when you change this attack. The larger the attack, the mawr, the original sound comes through. It's kind of counterintuitive there. So I turn it way up, see how we're getting the initial attack, and then it starts to compress. Resident, it's a very quick attack. It's instantly happening. You also do get a weird sound effect out of it, right? Well, go ahead. Stop there. You, uh this becomes important when you're looking at drums because if you're compressing drums, you might not want to compress what's called the transient or the initial hit. Because of that, you would have a what, a longer attack time, letting that come through and then squashing the other part of it that the tail end of a snare or whenever it might be so If I play this zooming out, we can see that playing right. Well, if I fast attack, look at it. None of transients air coming through more. I turn it up. More of the transient comes through. It's still squashing the later parts of waken. See that with that orange amount on the gain reduction rights. And yeah, we have a question. When you say transience, You mean like, What do you mean? Right? So a transient would be the initial hit of a drum off kick of even a guitar pluck. It's an initial sound that first hit and then that tail end is no longer considered the transient, right? See, ideally, you want to be letting the transient through or completely depends on the situation, right? A vocal probably not as important. Drums depends what you're going for. If you're trying to squish it all to get all of it much louder and more compressed sounding, then you would you'd want a quicker attack. But the longer attack is if you want the transients to come through. But you want maybe the splash of the of the high hat or or the rim to come through, then you would have ah longer attack, right? So as we're getting to know the little parts, we can then be like, Oh, what am I trying to do? I can see. I can think what effect I want beforehand. And now just make it all right. And now we're gonna look at release time release is how soon after the signal dips below the threshold, the compressor stops. Right. Well, let's go back to that sine wave sound. And what I'm gonna want to do is I'm gonna make this very obvious by ratio is very high. My attack is very well. It's kind of make it mid range because I want to see that. Yeah, that initial hit, right? You guys can see that each time it hits were getting a nice curve there. Well, if I turn up this release time, you watch when I play it again, the first hit is gonna have much more of, ah initial hit. But each time after that, since the releases so long, the gain reduction has never gone back to zero. So the rest or lower see that? Well, the hallmark That's what ratio is. It's important. See how long that ratio is taking. Look at that to go back that orange. The release? Yeah. The release takes a while to go back. And that's why it's important. Not to have a super long released time because you might get everything much. Everything is squashing each other much longer than you expect because of that, usually having a quicker releases better. But there might be instances where you want. Um, let's say it's a really long a very quick attack to something like a gigantic drum, like a Taiko drum that you're hitting, and you want that ring to really go for a while. Then you would have a longer re ratio to get that kind of longer sound. So in a way, I like to think of ratio as the longer the ratio, the longer the actual sound itself. Right? Police, right? Yes, it's the ours confusing me. Release your correct thank you and let's see. Then we move over into the knee. Now the knee. The knee is harder to show because it's a more of a subtle effect. But right here that any amount you see how it's changing this shape well, what's happening there is it's actually kind of pre compressing it before, even hits the threshold just a little bit and then slightly changing that ratio amount as it goes up. So it gives it a softer feel, much more analog feel. It's if you don't want something really cut off right away, then you can change that. Any amount just softens things slightly. This is better for vocals or for something, a pad, something that seems to not want to be so, uh, precise and edgy sounding. It's harder to actually show and perceive. It's very, very subtle. Then we go over to makeup gain, and this is an important one where if I play this, I just compress it right to the point where you can barely hear it. If I turn makeup gain on, it automatically makes up for the amount that I am pushing it down, so it brings up the volume here. That's pretty straightforward, but if I do this totally changing it, we'll meet personally with makeup Game. Let's move to a drum sound. My preference is not to use makeup gain. My preference is to use this here, which is the output level way. If I turn it way down now, we turn up my own put game. That's just my preference, but you can use makeup either. One makeup just isn't necessarily always perfect. Sometimes it makes it louder or quieter, and I just feel my own years or better at it and then output gain, which is what I showed. Well, I'm gonna quickly talk about using other compressors, and then we're gonna look at specific start answering and specific uses of a compressor. But once you know a compressor, you can use pretty much any compressor that this same parameters in logic and everything. Right where I have a threshold, I have a ratio. I have attacked, release, and then output. I mean, somewhere a little different like this. Hasn't input gain. Actually live does to also has a dry, wet mix which life does. But most compressors have these very similar. These these four things. Your main things to look at their knee. You actually don't really have a choice. It's like either soft or hard. There's no adjustment. It does get a little bit more advanced with this compressor. There's an advanced expert level on. You can do crazy things, but in general, if you know those basic parts of any compressor, you can use anyone like any free or paid compressor out there

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Drum Placement
Frequency Worksheet
Read Me - Mixing with Ableton Live
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Ratings and Reviews

Jose Gerardo Rendon Santana

Excellent Course, Isaac Cotec is a great instructor and a great producer. The course is very well organized explaining each important step of the mix. as well as great tips and techniques. He also includes a great deal of support material with the course including an Ableton Live Pack with tons of great presets and tools to put to practice the knowledge acquired in the course.

a Creativelive Student

Isaac covers an amazing amount of material in a clear and concise way. Great intro to mixing with Ableton or review for the intermediate user who wants to solidify their best practices, DAW knowledge as well as gain some production tips.

Ian turner

this is the best thing money can buy in my life. Isaac makes it look easy and the way he teaches makes you understand everything and makes it easy for you as well. its exactly what i wanted to learn in each video! i cant even sleep because another video loads and im like "ohhhh i need it" lol. i thank god for this class being affordable and the real deal.

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