#1
What exactly is compression in terms of a recording effect? If you use a compression effect on, let's say, vocals, what is it doing? Why is it good? Is there any other methods to getting similar results?
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#2
Compression does exactly that - it compresses the track to within a certain area of frequencies, cutting anything that's below the lower limit and anything that's above the higher. This way you can make the signal tighter, and cut out any unwanted spikes and cliks and other noises, granted they're outside the spectrum you've set the compression to. It sounds good because it makes stuff more stable and it focuses whatever it compresses to whatever frequency range it's supposed to be in.
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#3
Compression basically takes the recording and evens out the volume of all the portions. If I have a loud snare drum and a soft kick drum and put compression on it, the sounds should even out in terms of volume. That's a very basic description, best way I can tell you how to learn it is to just mess around with it.
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#4
Actually, less than frequency, compression is more often applied to dynamics. Anything below a certain volume level is made louder, and anything above a certain level is made louder. This gives the effect of more sustain on a guitar, because the notes stay louder longer. It does generally clean things up though.
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#5
Think of it as a giant volume knob e.g.-

You and your mother are driving in a car, and she is listening to a song she likes on the radio.

She cant hear it so she turns it up to a good level. You turn it down as you hate it, but she turns it back up again.

The next song is one you love so you turn it up much louder than before, but she turns it back down again.


There you have it - compression.
#6
Quote by ZeroGlass
Think of it as a giant volume knob e.g.-

You and your mother are driving in a car, and she is listening to a song she likes on the radio.

She cant hear it so she turns it up to a good level. You turn it down as you hate it, but she turns it back up again.

The next song is one you love so you turn it up much louder than before, but she turns it back down again.


There you have it - compression.


Hehe that's a good description there. Another good thing to know about is "Multi-band Compression", which will work at different strengths on different frequencies. To make life easier I often use a default Multi-band compressor called 'Classical Master' in Adobe Audition on my acoustic guitar recordings. It works pretty well I think.
#7
Quote by The^Unforgiven
Compression does exactly that - it compresses the track to within a certain area of frequencies, cutting anything that's below the lower limit and anything that's above the higher. This way you can make the signal tighter, and cut out any unwanted spikes and cliks and other noises, granted they're outside the spectrum you've set the compression to. It sounds good because it makes stuff more stable and it focuses whatever it compresses to whatever frequency range it's supposed to be in.


Compression has nothing to do with frequency unless you're using multiband compression or feeding the compressor an eq'd sidechain.

A compressor is an amplifier who's gain is controlled by the amplitude of the input signal, among other controls set by the user. It's a device that's used to control the envelope of the sound wave.
#8
Quote by suppositron
Compression has nothing to do with frequency unless you're using multiband compression or feeding the compressor an eq'd sidechain.

A compressor is an amplifier who's gain is controlled by the amplitude of the input signal, among other controls set by the user. It's a device that's used to control the envelope of the sound wave.

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Ashton AG200,
Amps: ENGL E530, Bugera 6262-212,
FX: TC Electronics G-major 2, Behringer EQ700, Morley Volume / Wah
#9
Everyone else hit the nail on the head. I'll just add that when using compression, be careful to not over-do it. Overusing compression will suck the life out of your recording. Since it evens up the dynamics, you're recording will start to sound very dull very fast if you abuse it.
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#10
Two questions:

Should one apply a compressor while recording or as an effect to a recorded track?

Are all parts of recordings compressed differently? Is there any instrument, let's say out of electric clean and/or distorted guitar, acoustic, bass, keys, and drums, that is typically not compressed?

Thanks
#11
Quote by TosinWaggoner
Two questions:

Should one apply a compressor while recording or as an effect to a recorded track?

Are all parts of recordings compressed differently? Is there any instrument, let's say out of electric clean and/or distorted guitar, acoustic, bass, keys, and drums, that is typically not compressed?

Thanks


I've always been told, by everybody, to apply compression after the track has been recorded. This applies to any type of effect really, as if you do it while you're recording it is a permanent fixture - If you decide you don't like it or want to change it you're screwed. Whereas in most audio programs you can preview the effect before applying it or hit the "undo" button.

I'll let somebody else answer the second question
#12
Quote by TosinWaggoner
Two questions:

Should one apply a compressor while recording or as an effect to a recorded track?

Are all parts of recordings compressed differently? Is there any instrument, let's say out of electric clean and/or distorted guitar, acoustic, bass, keys, and drums, that is typically not compressed?

Thanks


1. It really depends how good you are using compressors. Some people track with compressors all the time- but they know what they're doing. You can't go back and undo bad compression. That's where the suggestion that you shouldn't track with compression but add it later comes from.

2. Yes and no. Every sound source is unique and treated differently with compressors. That's why you have a range of control knobs on a compressor. You can't just slap a compressor on something and expect it to do what you want it to do. For the second part, no, I don't think there is any one instrument that would never get compressed. There are things that wouldn't normally be compressed, like maybe a violin, but that's not to say that you would never run into an instance where you would need or want to compress it.