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Old 12-08-2021, 07:58 AM
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Default Choosing your compressor plugin

Something I've wondered about for a while, so I thought I'd just ask you Pros out there. How do you decide which of your (probably)dozens of compressor plugins you're going to use on a particular track. Like most of you I'm sure, I have several compressor plugins. I don't have a "go to" one yet. I keep trying different ones on different kinds of tracks. I understand how compression works, but the "art" of selecting the right compressor for a track is a different animal. I would be interested in hearing how some of you guys make that choice.



I'm not asking which make/model compressor you think is the "best"...but rather what you look for in selecting one you want to use for a particular track.


Thanks.
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Old 12-08-2021, 01:47 PM
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Default Re: Choosing your compressor plugin

I go by sound.

Waves RennComp always sounds good & is low latency - i.e. track-thru-plug works fine. I used to like Avid black 1176 until I discovered IK Multimedia black 1176 simply sounds better. Avid Smack, IK Multimedia red opto-comp and IK white LA-2A all good. Anything can do the job, really, in my opinion. Different ones for each need, no one size fits all. Adjust attack/release times, ratio and knee if available. Sometimes I like a good multi-band too, especially for mastering.

Super secret tip: sometimes NO compression is the answer.
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Old 12-08-2021, 01:50 PM
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Default Re: Choosing your compressor plugin

In very top studios most common plugin is still the hardware insert.
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Old 12-08-2021, 05:30 PM
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Default Re: Choosing your compressor plugin

Quote:
Originally Posted by EGS View Post
I go by sound.

Waves RennComp always sounds good & is low latency - i.e. track-thru-plug works fine. I used to like Avid black 1176 until I discovered IK Multimedia black 1176 simply sounds better. Avid Smack, IK Multimedia red opto-comp and IK white LA-2A all good. Anything can do the job, really, in my opinion. Different ones for each need, no one size fits all. Adjust attack/release times, ratio and knee if available. Sometimes I like a good multi-band too, especially for mastering.

Super secret tip: sometimes NO compression is the answer.

I get that no one size fits all. I like my IKM black 1176 and the White LA2A as well. I use the latter a lot on vocals. Seems to really even things out nicely. You're right also about the no compression - or very very minimal. I just sometimes wonder if there might be certain things I should be listening for when selecting a compressor for a particular track.

I have the most difficulty in using the MB compressors. I find it difficult to find the right bands to set the different zones at. I just go by my ears.
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Old 12-09-2021, 09:15 AM
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Default Re: Choosing your compressor plugin

I have some favorites, and here's the what and why for me
1-SMACK!_this is Avid's version of an LA-2A and it works really well on voices
2-BF76- works well on acoustic guitars and I also use it before SMACK! on vocal tracks
3-Slate's Distressor(with Slate's Neve EQ in VMR) is great on a drum compression bus. The Distressor allows for adding a distortion element and the EQ is good for gentle added low-end punch, or a slight dip around 500Hz.
4-Waves Puigchild(Fairchild) has some nice character for electric guitars when needed.

R-Comp is very popular, but I just find myself using the above. The only other "2 cents" I have is to avoid the stock Avid Dyn3. In critical listening, it caused some distortion that was not pleasant at all.
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Old 12-09-2021, 09:44 AM
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Default Re: Choosing your compressor plugin

I suppose because I have a great stereo HW 2 Bus compressor and because I am usually am not doing a lot of different instruments.

Depending on how sparse the arrangement is I may not put a comp on individual instruments
When I do put one on the tracks, I usually use the Avid Bundled Fairchild
On those few sessions where I have drums,,, on the kick and sometimes the snare ,I will put the Complete Plug in Bundle, BF 76
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Old 12-09-2021, 12:58 PM
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Default Re: Choosing your compressor plugin

Quote:
Originally Posted by albee1952 View Post
I have some favorites, and here's the what and why for me
1-SMACK!_this is Avid's version of an LA-2A and it works really well on voices
2-BF76- works well on acoustic guitars and I also use it before SMACK! on vocal tracks
3-Slate's Distressor(with Slate's Neve EQ in VMR) is great on a drum compression bus. The Distressor allows for adding a distortion element and the EQ is good for gentle added low-end punch, or a slight dip around 500Hz.
4-Waves Puigchild(Fairchild) has some nice character for electric guitars when needed.

R-Comp is very popular, but I just find myself using the above. The only other "2 cents" I have is to avoid the stock Avid Dyn3. In critical listening, it caused some distortion that was not pleasant at all.

I haven't actually used SMACK! on anything. I should take a closer look at it and wha tit does. I agree about the Avid Dyn3. I have used the Avid Pro Compressor quite a bit though. I like how it sounds, especially on drums.
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Old 12-09-2021, 01:03 PM
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Default Re: Choosing your compressor plugin

Smack! is great on TDM
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Old 12-09-2021, 06:28 PM
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Default Re: Choosing your compressor plugin

The Pro plugins are quite good, but I never seem to use them, even though I have them The advantage of the Slate distressor is the distortion feature, but you can always drop SoundToys Decapitator in(or any of several other distortion plugins). Adding a touch can really make drums pop(in a good way)
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Old 12-10-2021, 08:41 AM
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Default Re: Choosing your compressor plugin

Quote:
Originally Posted by albee1952 View Post
The Pro plugins are quite good, but I never seem to use them, even though I have them The advantage of the Slate distressor is the distortion feature, but you can always drop SoundToys Decapitator in(or any of several other distortion plugins). Adding a touch can really make drums pop(in a good way)

Yes, I have done that a few times. I can't remember which plug in I used for that, though.
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