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Old 02-19-2003, 07:20 PM
Forrest77 Forrest77 is offline
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Location: SF, CA
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Default Slam the compressor w/o hitting the red?

As an example of how to kill the dynamics of a signal during mixing, I played a client their guitar track back after totally slamming it with the Bombfactory LA-2A. (Gain and reduction all the way up.) Well they loved the sound, so now I am trying to figure out which is the best way to mix that ultra hot signal with everything else so that I don't dip into the red and I don't completely over-power (and dynamically destroy) everything else?

Options: (feel free to list others)

-Bus out just a little bit of the signal to another track which has the compression effect as one of the latter tracks inserts.

-Pull the Master Fader way down and add a limiter to it.

-Mix down to an external DAT machine and control the level there. (of course, I will still be clipping like mad in PT)

-Record the effect to a new track, then mix accordingly.

Thx
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Old 02-20-2003, 05:20 PM
marcusb marcusb is offline
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Default Re: Slam the compressor w/o hitting the red?

Quote:
Originally posted by Forrest77:
Well they loved the sound, so now I am trying to figure out which is the best way to mix that ultra hot signal with everything else so that I don't dip into the red and I don't completely over-power (and dynamically destroy) everything else?
<font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Problem you have here is the LA2A design, the attack time is quite slow so when you are piling on the gain your transients are being missed by the compressor but are having that gain boost applied.

With such an extreme setting you are probably being 'tricked' into thinking it sounds bigger and more powerful simply because compared to the bypassed signal, it's much louder and the ear perceives a louder signal to be more exciting.

I really wish digidesign would put a clip led in the plugin frame to let you know if you're clipping between plugins.

Anyway, being an engineer that really digs compression my advice would be to try sticking an 1176 (fast attack, fast release, 8:1 ratio) after the LA2A to catch the transients. That should smooth things out a little for you, it also gives you a master output level. From plugin-to-plugin in an insert chain i'm pretty sure they talk at 48-bit giving you enough headroom to handle the gain, you can then use the 1176 output level to trim the signal back to a more respectable fader level. Experiment with it before and after the LA2A for different tones.

Quote:
-Bus out just a little bit of the signal to another track which has the compression effect as one of the latter tracks inserts.
<font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">This trick can work really nicely if you are conscious of bus and plugin latency. Mixing the straight signal in with a heavily compressed version of the same signal can give you a pretty tasty, thick result. This is often referred to as the "New York Compression" trick. You MUST ensure your two signals are sample accurate because you'll get some nasty phase issues if you don't.

Quote:
-Pull the Master Fader way down and add a limiter to it.
<font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">No way. You should always run your master fader at unity. Reducing it while it may extinguish the clip light on the master fader you are more than likely clipping the mix buss somewhere before the fader. Dropping the level of the fader or sticking a limiter in is really a bandaid fix to a more major problem of gain structure across your mix.

Quote:
-Mix down to an external DAT machine and control the level there. (of course, I will still be clipping like mad in PT)
<font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">

again another bandaid fix, get your track balance right and NOT clipping rather than sending a clipped signal out to an external mixdown deck at a softer level, you still aren't fixing the problem.

I guess the most important point of this post is that you should always pay close attention to your gain structure throughout a mix. This was an important issue in the analog world, and it is, in my opinion, a VERY important and very much overlooked issue in the digital 'mix in the box' world.

Cheers,
Marcus
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