Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Recording Tip 6: When recording with a compressor go easy. Use lower ratios and less compression.

This is an extension of Tip #2 and assumes you feel good about recording with compression. But always remember when using compression it’s not only how much you compress, but how you compress.

Most compressors give you a range of compression ratios to use. Without getting too deep into the technicals of that, just know that 2:1 is a lighter setting than say 6:1 or 10:1, or 20:1. So what that means for you us that you get less squash with a lighter ratio. So a lot of compression at 2:1 may sound less severe than half that amount with a setting of 10:1. Find which you like, but unless you have some good experience, the lower ratios are more forgiving and like I said in Tip #2, it’s the most permanent thing you can do when recording, so go easy. There’s no undo.

The attack and release controls also will have a big factor in how compressed something may be. If you set too fast an attack, you’ll lose the front end of the transient and lose the power of the signal. If your release setting is too slow, then the compressed signal will be too slow in coming back up. You’ll need to play with these and see what’s right. But in general, keep the attack open enough for the front of the signal to pop thru and the release quick enough to come back in a natural way. By the way, the faster the song, usually the faster the release time.

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