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  #1  
Old 02-17-2004, 01:08 PM
JesseF JesseF is offline
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Default compression w/ vocals

Hi,

I know this is a subject that is talked about often, but I just want to get some fresh opinions on it.

I am in the midst of tracking my first vocal sessions. I am using a Sure KSM44 on Omni setting, into a Presonus Digimax Pre, into my 002. I think it sounds great. Now I am reading about tracking vocals and it seems like there's a general consensus that you should use a compressor on the way in. i didn't do that. I just watched the peaks and made sure I didnt go into the red, but kept the level as hot as possible. Obviouslly there are great variations in the soft part to the loudest parts. If I throw a compressor plugin on after, I think it sounds really good. As long as my level isnt pushing 0 db's am I ok? I don't really feel like redoing days worth of vocals.

Also, I do have more vocals to record and am considering buying an outboard compressor, even if the above method is ok. I am considering the ACP88 - Eight Channel Compressor/Limiter/Gate by Presonus. 8 channels will give me enough to even track drums with. This seems to be the only multi channel compressor/limiter/gate like this. Is this the case?

Any opinions on the above would be great.

Thanks!

Jesse
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  #2  
Old 02-17-2004, 01:36 PM
dBHEAD dBHEAD is offline
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Default Re: compression w/ vocals

If you didn't compress on the way in but have lots of dynamic range in the track (e.g.: significant variations in the loudness level of the singer), yes, it's fine to apply compression in Pro Tools. In general, outboard compression simply sounds better, so that's why compression is often applied to vocals on the way in.

I don't know that you want eight channels of compression. To be sure, you can compress a whole drum kit this way, but for most drummers (or most songs), there isn't enough variation in the loudness levels within a track to justify it, and the problem is that once you've applied outboard compression, it's almost impossible to remove it inside PT, even with expander plugs. You might buy a better 1 or 2 channel compressor instead.

I should point out I don't often compress much going into Pro Tools except vocals, and there are many others who take the same approach as me. Since vocals usually need some compression, it's best to get good quality analog compression when you can -- in the recording stage. So that's why I believe a good quality compressor for 1 or 2 tracks would be a better bet than an eight channel one that sounds mediocre.
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Old 02-17-2004, 02:27 PM
Paul Cavins Paul Cavins is offline
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Default Re: compression w/ vocals

I agree that you should look for a higher quality 1 or 2 channel compressor, and if your vocals sound good, then don't change a thing!
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Old 02-17-2004, 03:11 PM
JesseF JesseF is offline
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Default comp and drums

DBhead

When you comp drums, you don't reccomend comping each drum? how would you go about that? Just the snare, or what?


-Jesse-
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  #5  
Old 02-17-2004, 03:21 PM
chagos chagos is offline
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Default Re: comp and drums

don't change your vocals if you like the sound of them. as long as you have no clipping keep doing what you are doing!
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Old 02-17-2004, 04:00 PM
Slim Shady Slim Shady is offline
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Default Re: comp and drums

Quote:
I am using a Sure KSM44 on Omni setting
This is what worries me, not the lack of compression. Why are you recording vocals with an Omni setting?

But back to the subject at hand, I agree with the poster who mentioned getting a quality 2 channel compressor as opposed to the 8 channel one if you really need to add a compressor to your tracking chain. There's no reason to compress 8 channels of drums on the way in - drums are pretty consistent in volume, once you set a level you shouldn't have to worry about clipping coming into the picture if you did your job right. Compressing them during mix is just a taste thing, depends on the genre and the sound you're going for.
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Old 02-17-2004, 04:34 PM
valvebrother valvebrother is offline
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Default Re: comp and drums

Quote:
Quote:
I am using a Sure KSM44 on Omni setting
This is what worries me, not the lack of compression. Why are you recording vocals with an Omni setting?
Why would this worry you? It’s very common to record certain types of vocals in omni. As long as your room sounds decent, I often prefer it, unless I need the proximity effect of a unidirectional pattern.

To the original poster, if it sounds good, it is good. Period.

Damon
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  #8  
Old 02-17-2004, 08:16 PM
JesseF JesseF is offline
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Default My new compressor

Thanks everyone for your input. I went to guitar center today and bought a cheap compressor to take home and evaluate. I got the dbx 266XL .gotta love the 15 day return policy. I got home and set it up in two minutes, or so I thought. I plugged the XLR cable from my KSM input the input of the compressor and the output into my 002. I then turned the phantom power on on the 002 and attempted to sing. No signal, it didn't work. After about ten minutes I realized that the compressor is not going to supply phantom power to my mic! I then had the ingenious idea of plugging the mic into my 002 to give it power, then use an analog send to send the signal thru a 1/4" cable into the compressor, then send that out into my digimax pre. Well I was getting a signal alright. Then I realized that I am still defeating the purpose of an outboard compressor. To make a longer story shorter, somehow I need to stick the compressor in the chain before the mic signal hits any mic pre's. Am i going to need to buy an external phantom power supply or this there someway to do this that I am missing?

stumped,

Jesse
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  #9  
Old 02-17-2004, 08:47 PM
mcconnellsteve mcconnellsteve is offline
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Default Re: My new compressor

jesse -- does the dbx have a balanced output? i use a focusrite which has an xlr input for my mic (ntk), then i use the focusrite's balanced output to the balanced input of one of my 002 channels. since the ntk has its own power supply, i don't need to use the focusrite's phantom power and the 002 is set for "line" input (not mic) and obviously no phantom power there.

i don't know the dbx, but if it's a mic pre, i'd be really surprised if it has no phantom power switch somewhere. then for outputs -- if all you have is xlr, you should be ok sending that into the 002, but without phantom power there.

good luck,
steve
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  #10  
Old 02-17-2004, 11:44 PM
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JFreak JFreak is online now
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Default Re: My new compressor

jessef:

plugging mic into comp inputs doesn't work because compressor takes line input and mic gives mic output. you need a preamp between a mic and a comp. and if you want to record the comped signal, you need to have an insert point in your preamp - that way the signal gets preamped first, then it visits the comp via insert, and after insert point it will be fed into the recorder.

the 002 doesn't have inserts, so you will have to buy an external preamp which you have to plug into one of the digital interfaces of 002. i myself have a presonus digimax lt, which is a 8-channel mic preamp, and that has inserts too. in my opinion it sounds better than 002's preamps, but many will say it colors the signal a little too much. if you have the budget, you'd maybe like to consider focusrite octopre instead.
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