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Drum submix compression

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Anonymous
September 4, 2004 8:50:07 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Please give me a few basic guidelines about drum compression.
I am primarily a live sound engineer but alot of bands ask me to me to
record them because they are happy with the live mix.

I've got an indie-rock session and I am most likely going to use a 3
mic config (kick and 2 over heads). I am intrigued with the idea of
compressing the drum submix and mixing it with the uncompressed
tracks.

My questions are the following:
What type of compressors to you guys/gals prefer?
Where is a good setting to start out?
What are the most common pitfalls?


Thanks in advance,

-Peter
Anonymous
September 4, 2004 9:39:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Hey A,

It's not uncommon to aux out, eq a bit thinner, compress like hell and mix
back in just under the main sig level.

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-bg-
--
www.thelittlecanadaheadphoneband.ca
www.lchb.ca

"Auslan" <outland@interport.net> wrote in message
news:4139ef7d.4741238@news.rcn.com...
> Please give me a few basic guidelines about drum compression.
> I am primarily a live sound engineer but alot of bands ask me to me to
> record them because they are happy with the live mix.
>
> I've got an indie-rock session and I am most likely going to use a 3
> mic config (kick and 2 over heads). I am intrigued with the idea of
> compressing the drum submix and mixing it with the uncompressed
> tracks.
>
> My questions are the following:
> What type of compressors to you guys/gals prefer?
> Where is a good setting to start out?
> What are the most common pitfalls?
>
>
> Thanks in advance,
>
> -Peter
>
>
>
Anonymous
September 4, 2004 9:41:49 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

>What type of compressors to you guys/gals prefer?
>Where is a good setting to start out?

In a PC DAW..I like PSP Vintage warmer on one of the "driven tape" settings.


John A. Chiara
SOS Recording Studio
Live Sound Inc.
Albany, NY
www.sosrecording.net
518-449-1637
Anonymous
September 4, 2004 10:00:40 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I use a dbx 160, but that's old school.


"Auslan" <outland@interport.net> wrote in message
news:4139ef7d.4741238@news.rcn.com...
> Please give me a few basic guidelines about drum compression.
> I am primarily a live sound engineer but alot of bands ask me to me to
> record them because they are happy with the live mix.
>
> I've got an indie-rock session and I am most likely going to use a 3
> mic config (kick and 2 over heads). I am intrigued with the idea of
> compressing the drum submix and mixing it with the uncompressed
> tracks.
>
> My questions are the following:
> What type of compressors to you guys/gals prefer?
> Where is a good setting to start out?
> What are the most common pitfalls?
>
>
> Thanks in advance,
>
> -Peter
>
>
>
Anonymous
September 6, 2004 1:39:40 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Auslan wrote:

> Please give me a few basic guidelines about drum compression.

What problem is it that you want to solve? - seriously, this is
something to think about, because that is what determines what options
to aim for.

> I am primarily a live sound engineer but alot of bands ask me
> to me to record them because they are happy with the live mix.

OK, what you do is fine, they want it ... O;-)

> I've got an indie-rock session and I am most likely going
> to use a 3 mic config (kick and 2 over heads). I am intrigued
> with the idea of compressing the drum submix and mixing it
> with the uncompressed tracks.

We are talking totally different drum sound styles here, you appear to
aim for natural, generally I am inclined to supposed that close miking
the kit with more mikes and going for an unnatural drum sound is the
context where compression fits.

> My questions are the following:
> What type of compressors to you guys/gals prefer?

The one in my main daw software does all I want done as I want it done,
except that it doesn't multiband out of the shrinkwrap, but it could
probably be coerced to do it manually.

> Where is a good setting to start out?

Bypass... O;-) ... seriously, you need to consider the initial audio
quality and what losses that take place in doing something as drastic as
compression or limiting or both is.

> What are the most common pitfalls?

Compressing and limiting .... O;-) ... seriously, it is not easy to get
it right, sometimes it will help, and it will help make a mix "go
together" to compress some components, but it can also be detrimental.
Not also expanding may sometimes be a pitfall, but then it gets complex.

> Thanks in advance,

Oh, with the setup in question the most likely compression/limiting bet
is to control the bassdrum. Whether you should do it depends on the
drummers discipline, some drummers are intentionally noisy in sensible
ways, some aren't. A compressed sound, i.e. improved sustain, may
benefit the kit and/or the context, but methinks you will need to
closemike to make it work.

The more you do to the sound the more quality you loose ... weigh your
tradeoffs carefully.

> -Peter


Kind regards

Peter Larsen

--
*******************************************
* My site is at: http://www.muyiovatki.dk *
*******************************************
Anonymous
September 6, 2004 2:12:58 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

hi -

just wanted to chime in on this and offer a very different
perspective. feel free to email with any response since i don't get
to read the group so much any more.

first off, i'm a mix engineer and i don't consider myself an
audiophile. sure, i studied at Stanford's CCRMA and know a fair bit
about sound. but when it comes to mixing, i try to focus only on the
song at hand. more importantly, i think it's critical to listen from
an emotional perspective rather than a scientific audio engineering
perspective.

i think that all the various forms of distortion that we hear on great
records are a big part of what makes them sound big, exciting, and
emotional. so i don't subscribe to the notion that all processing is
a form of signal degradation.

compression on the drum sub (and in general) is a very useful tool
that can be used to create many different effects. for instance:

- change the attack or release of a sound (louder or softer)
- change the apparent volume of the instrument in the mix
- glue parts together and make them seem more cohesive
- adjust the timing of a performance to lock in with the tune
- equalize the tone of an instrument (brighter, darker, less mids,
etc.)
- etc.

so what types of compressors i use depend on the tune and what i'm
trying to accomplish. the chandler/EMI TG1 can create some really
interesting drum colors. i personally use the Alan Smart/SSL and Neve
compressors more on individual instruments, but others like them on
the drum buss. sometimes i'll use an empirical labs Fatso on the
overheads or drum sub if the drums were tracked directly to ProTools
and need some high end saturation / tape effects.

in terms of settings, i would suggest you start in the middle of the
ranges and experiment with the extremes. if you REALLY want to hear
what you're doing, you can always flip a copy of the uneffected signal
out of phase with the compressed version and sum them together. all
you'll hear is the difference. sometimes this is nice when you're
trying to determine how the compression is changing the top or bottom
end. keep in mind that this is a bitch to do inside a DAW due to
latency issues - i do it on a console all the time with no prob.

common pitfalls? well, overcompressing the drums can make them sound
dull - or small. you gotta use your ears to avoid that one. also,
given your approach, be sure that no one drum (i.e. Kick) is
clobbering the compressor and causing it to pump (unless that's what
you're after!).

BTW - my biggest pet peeve with compression on drums involves the use
of long release times when tracking... i hope you never do this. i
had one project where the band expected us to replace the drums, so
they didn't worry about the sounds. well, since they used a fast
attack and a long release, the compressor nudged the transients around
so much that the Sound Replacer plugin wouldn't trigger appropriately.
so we had to replace each hit by hand and ear - ignoring the
mis-shapen waveform. sure, splicing tape is pain in the ass, but
going through and guessing where every single kick and snare hit
should go is no picnic, even with protools.

have fun!
-tE

* Tony Espinoza
SAN FRANCISCO SOUNDWORKS
http://www.sfsoundworks.com
----------------------------------
Featuring the only SSL 9000 in SF



Peter Larsen <SPAMSHIELD_plarsen@mail.tele.dk> wrote in message news:<413B6B7C.5B155892@mail.tele.dk>...
> Auslan wrote:
>
> > Please give me a few basic guidelines about drum compression.
>
> What problem is it that you want to solve? - seriously, this is
> something to think about, because that is what determines what options
> to aim for.
>
> > I am primarily a live sound engineer but alot of bands ask me
> > to me to record them because they are happy with the live mix.
>
> OK, what you do is fine, they want it ... O;-)
>
> > I've got an indie-rock session and I am most likely going
> > to use a 3 mic config (kick and 2 over heads). I am intrigued
> > with the idea of compressing the drum submix and mixing it
> > with the uncompressed tracks.
>
> We are talking totally different drum sound styles here, you appear to
> aim for natural, generally I am inclined to supposed that close miking
> the kit with more mikes and going for an unnatural drum sound is the
> context where compression fits.
>
> > My questions are the following:
> > What type of compressors to you guys/gals prefer?
>
> The one in my main daw software does all I want done as I want it done,
> except that it doesn't multiband out of the shrinkwrap, but it could
> probably be coerced to do it manually.
>
> > Where is a good setting to start out?
>
> Bypass... O;-) ... seriously, you need to consider the initial audio
> quality and what losses that take place in doing something as drastic as
> compression or limiting or both is.
>
> > What are the most common pitfalls?
>
> Compressing and limiting .... O;-) ... seriously, it is not easy to get
> it right, sometimes it will help, and it will help make a mix "go
> together" to compress some components, but it can also be detrimental.
> Not also expanding may sometimes be a pitfall, but then it gets complex.
>
> > Thanks in advance,
>
> Oh, with the setup in question the most likely compression/limiting bet
> is to control the bassdrum. Whether you should do it depends on the
> drummers discipline, some drummers are intentionally noisy in sensible
> ways, some aren't. A compressed sound, i.e. improved sustain, may
> benefit the kit and/or the context, but methinks you will need to
> closemike to make it work.
>
> The more you do to the sound the more quality you loose ... weigh your
> tradeoffs carefully.
>
> > -Peter
>
>
> Kind regards
>
> Peter Larsen
Anonymous
September 12, 2004 4:26:01 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

tonyespinoza@aol.com (tony espinoza) wrote in message news:>
>
> in terms of settings, i would suggest you start in the middle of the
> ranges and experiment with the extremes. if you REALLY want to hear
> what you're doing, you can always flip a copy of the uneffected signal
> out of phase with the compressed version and sum them together. all
> you'll hear is the difference. sometimes this is nice when you're
> trying to determine how the compression is changing the top or bottom
> end. keep in mind that this is a bitch to do inside a DAW due to
> latency issues - i do it on a console all the time with no prob.
>
> common pitfalls? well, overcompressing the drums can make them sound
> dull - or small. you gotta use your ears to avoid that one. also,
> given your approach, be sure that no one drum (i.e. Kick) is
> clobbering the compressor and causing it to pump (unless that's what
> you're after!).
>

Great post Tony.

Yo're right on with the common putfalls. A similar thing to listen for
is the drums sounding great in the verse and when the song blows up
in the chorus, the compressor limits them too much and the bottom
drops out.

Responding to the origingal post....

It's possible to get great sounds using only the subgroup signal. I'd
experiment with that too, maybe even first. You're probably not going
to want that much gain reduction. Definitely a fast release and
probably a medium to slow release if you want your drums to stay
punchy.

There are two reasons to use a compressor. One for it's gain reduction
effects and the other for it's tonal charateristics -i.e. the Chandler
TG-1.

Once you've played with you subgroup only signal, try blending it back
in. You'll probably like the compbination becuase it's louder, so
you'll have to play with volume. Also, the uncompressed signal with
keep more of the natural dynamics in the blend.

If you end up with a blended signal, you can probably get away with a
faster attack time wihtout ruining you punchiness. Also, since you're
running the subgroup through the compressor for it's tone as well as
it's GR effects, don't hesitate to EQ the group or run it through
something crazy like a sans amp.

You might want to experiment with leaving the kick drum out of the
subgroup or using the subgroup only signal with just the uncompressed
kick summed. And, it's also ok to compress you kick and overheads
seperately before grouping them. This may help keep the kick under
control so taht it doesn't squash the overheads in the when they're
grouped.

There's and importan difference to distiguish between "a lot of
compression" and "a lot of compressors".
!