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Andy Bones
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Joined: 03/29/2012 - 21:55
Sidechain Compression ~?~

OK I'm no sound engineer it's all hit-or-miss with me & this is a little embarrassing to admit but I am pretty lost when it comes to how to use the compressor effect.  I understand it's usefulness for this:  When two instruments/ sounds occupy the same frequency, adding a compressor to one will make it sort of "cut around" the others' waveforms of the same fequency slightly to avoid clipping.  So what is the purpose of the 1-6 sidechain compression setting?  Do the 1-6 represent which machine is being "compressed" around?  I am confused, and cannot seem to make it work to any advantage since I am probably way off with the position of each knob.

Rej - Dev
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Joined: 12/18/2011 - 15:52
I'm no expert either, here's

I'm no expert at mastering either, but here's my understanding. First, a compression can be used in a few different situations: either as an enhancement (i.e.: "part" of the music), to help one source stand out, prevent it from clipping or simply to help clean up the mix.

Let's focus on the cleaning up the mix part, as that's what your question alludes to. Yeah, when you have two instruments which produces frequencies in the same range, say a bass and a kick drum, they tend to "muddy up" when played together (and can clip, but that's the extreme manifestation of the problem, not the problem itself).

To be clear, "muddy" here means the instruments blend in a way that you can't distiguish one from the other when listening. If you have a bass line constantly playing and you want to emphasize the kick drum to help establish rhythm, one trick is to place a compressor on the bass (the one to get compressed). Because you only want the bass to duck out a little when the kick drum is played to "make room for it", you select the kick drum's channel as the sidechain source. Now whenever the kick is played, it triggers the compressor to lower the volume of the channel it's affecting (the bass). Now the low end of your mix is a little cleaner because the instruments aren't fighting for that frequency space quite as much.

Make sense at all?

Andy Bones
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Joined: 03/29/2012 - 21:55
That totally makes sense.  So

That totally makes sense.  So to clarify the 1-6 setting selects which channel to actively compress with?

 

Also, can this be useful for dealing with multiple high frequencies?

 

Thanks for the help, Rej

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Rej - Dev
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Joined: 12/18/2011 - 15:52
Yes, 1-6 select which channel

Yes, 1-6 selects which channel is used as the trigger instigator for the compression, the channel on which you've placed the effect is the "victim". (obviously using no sidechain ( - ) means the channel plays both roles)

It can be used to duck any group of instruments which share the same frequencies, my example just used bass. (although it IS more common)

High frequencies are a bit trickier because the usual sources of high freq tends to be from "noise" sources rather than percussive "one shot" stuff like drums of plucked bass. Because the HF sources tend to be ON for longer, it's hard to use them to duck another sound, it sometimes creates its own mess...but I guess you could duck say a shimmery pad using one-shot sounds like hi-hats... not sure what kind of result that would give you or if that would even be useful. HF noise is more pleasant than low-freq rumble.

The thing with drum sounds is that they typically all come from the same channel. So if you wanted to separate between low-freq and high freq as side-chain sources, you'd have to use two beatboxes.

 

Andy Bones
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Joined: 03/29/2012 - 21:55
Sweet.  Just the information

Sweet.  Just the information I was looking for.  It's onto the next phase of production know-how now that this is out of the way.  Thanks again Rej

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Jason
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Joined: 03/23/2012 - 21:32
Compressing and Limiting can

Compressing and Limiting can be a tricky feat depending on your content, be it in the "studio" or live mixing (it gets more fun that way)  But to keep this discussion to the app here, I can share a few experiences I have using this tool to my advantage....

Rej made it very clear about the Bass vs. Kick, and using the "duck" to do what AB wanted to try out in the first place.   Each kick drum has its own characteristic trans-attack and harmonic "punch" to it..... but then again your bass sounds may as well.....  So by going with the SideChain method... I would Isolate those two machines and play with the Compressor settings in an extreme fashion to get the "rhythm" and seperation of the bass and kick, and then fine tune your compression ratio etc... until you get a smooth enough sound to prevent excessive "pumping"... cuz it will effect your mix overall -- especially if you have (and you should!) a Master Comp on your Master Strip 2nd block position.

I absolutely love the ParaEQ and use it ALOT...... this is also highly recommended for Both the KickDrum and Bass sounds (if you have room in your IFX section) that will control harmonic content of each sound, and maybe achieve a desired balance without ducking the other sound out with a Comp.... make sense?

When I use the Comps in my Builderz Mix 1 for example..... I'll use Comps on some drums and certain sounds for stability or extra crunch features... or yes even for some gritty "distortion" (discussed in the Tips and Tricks Forum -- Hidden Distortion Option)  But what I do on my mix, is cut All 6 machine LowEQ at lest 2db (perceived lol) and boost Master EQ Low +2db.... This, for me, gives the Master Compressor, more headroom to better maximise the intensity of my tracks, and avoid the bass "pumping" the rest of the mix, or eventually clipping in the end anyways......

Look at my waveshapes from SoundCloud, you will see what I mean..... My method seems to maximise the intensity of my content, with no noticeable pumping (like what you hear on the radio, when they cram it thru their master Limiter before it hits the broadcast tower)  So far works for me, with a single-band Comp/Limit..... (sssshhh I didn't even mention asking for a dual or tri-band limit..... I used a 5-band Comp with Cubase before..... loved it)

If any of that bibble babble made sense, it may help breathe some fire into your tracks.... cool

ice-machine
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Joined: 07/02/2012 - 06:33
Wow, now I understand a whole

Wow, now I understand a whole lot more. I have also tried the compressor in vain several times. I did get all that Rej pointed out and that will be very useful. The stuff that Jason wrote is a bit above my head and I think that I will have to read it carefully many times before it will click :) But thank you very much both of you for these great explanations! Caustic just keeps growing all the time!

Jason
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Joined: 03/23/2012 - 21:32
Sorry!  I wasn't trying to

Sorry!  I wasn't trying to confuse anyone!  My bad, I see and hear things from a bit different perspective possibly?   Using a single-band compressor is an art that anyone can learn..... the biggest thing is to sit down and just play around with it..... use extreme settings and hear how it affects your sound.

Set up a quick and easy drum loop...... Pattern Mode...... setup a Compressor.... let the loop run (at medium volume level on your headphones) and take that threshold down to almost the bottom..... then play around with the Ratio knob..... leave it up at about 3:00 position....   then kick that Attack Knob down and hear how the punch part of it sounds...... then play around with the Release Knob...... this is where you'll find your "rhythm"   if you're set at extremely low Threshold..... you should be hearing heavy "pumping" of the sound...... now you can set your Release to make that Pumping sound more rhythmic...... then back off on the Threshold and Ratio until you get a nice punchy sound.   Also play with the Synth's Line-Out Volume, where you can really feed the Compressor and make it feel the pain!

Once you figure that part out..... You will then be able to drop in a Master Compressor at the 2nd block of the Master FX window..... your mixes will have a maximised loudness factor that you've been waiting for....

Perhaps, when I'm able to get back into video-making mode, I'll make one for FX modules and showcase the Compressor, cuz the Caustic Comp is a super easy yet powerful tool, not found anywhere else that I have seen.

 

ice-machine
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Joined: 07/02/2012 - 06:33
Hey Jason,

Hey Jason,

Didn't mean it like that, I just lack knowledge when it comes to these things. The others probably understand :) Anyway I tried yout tut above and I must say that I think that I got the hang of it. I also tried out Rej's explanation and hey.. it made sense! Thanks a bunch!

Jason
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Joined: 03/23/2012 - 21:32
I'm mentally planning a video

I'm mentally planning a video showing some new features, and some of my ideas for the 2.1 build.... I'll feature learning to use its Compressor.... because this is setup with your ear, there are no displayed settings such as Attack=20ms Release=60ms Ratio=4:1 Threshold=-18db Make-upGain=+4db knee slope type etc......

ParaEQ is the same way...... play with extreme settings so you can hear your target Frequency as well as Q-width (band-spectrum spread) for what you want to boost or cut.....  I can't say enough how much I love having this FX block!