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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:59 pm 
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HamelnStock Survivor and Midi Guru
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As i'm working on 'Wind me up' which i posted in the Fileexchange section i notice that the dynamics - or to put it simply - the difference between the louder sounds and the softer ones are still too big. I'm wondering if there is a general approach to dynamics. Can i see from the dynamics view how much is enough ? Like how many levels should the guage push down? Alternatively is this more a listening experience? I usually start noticing when i play music in the car when driving because then you need to set it to a louder volume to overcome the driving sound ( engine, wind, tires). I notice that with a too wide range of dynamics it is heavy on the ears. Too much compression takes the life out of a performance.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:19 pm 
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Marker Magician
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depends on what purpose the track is to serve in the mix.

I tend to over-compress at first, in a hunt and peck fashion, in order to get the mix sitting reasonably well, level wise. then go back and re-examine what you actually did to get the levels working together. This will be an examination of multiple tracks >>a combination of level cuts or adds at the beginning of the chain (from View or EQ screens), EQ adds/cuts, dynamics ratio/threshold/knee, dynamics makeup gain, and fader position. Then I'd work on individual tracks, releasing (usually) compression by backing off ratios/thresholds etc., listening for the mix to "open up" as the compressors get relaxed, but not losing the levels established in the first step. A very iterative process. I make what changes are necessary along the chain in order to have the fader sitting at about 0 dB

As far as how hard to make them work?? My benckmark is 3 db of attenuation. But there is the interplay of attack/release times to consider when judging "how hard" the compressor is working too.

Less is usually better, but ....

In more complex mixes some tracks I compress rather heavily and provide with generous makeup gain, but rather low fader levels in the mix. Such tracks are sometimes useful to sit below/behind the mix and act as foundation. These may probably be attenuated more severely than "featured" tracks.

Then when the mix is "almost complete" - go back and look at the compression levels of the main tracks again for final adjustment ( release or tighten to preference).

Mild compression on the stereo track is another "tightening" strategy. So don't be afraid to loosen up the mix as it develops, using the approach i have described, and then experiment with GENTLE very fast attack/quick release compression on the stereo track. The track can then go through one "final mastering" step

IMHO the final step is best accomplished away from the AW. The AW does not seem to be able to provide a decent brickwall limiter. This is essential to lifting the mix's overall and average RMS volume level, to "commercial" levels. I would prefer to have a very gently working brickwall limiter on a computer editor, than to struggle with this aspect using the AW's dynamics offering. I use my y96k card to accomplish this final, vital step within the machine, which is why I like the card so much.

Lots of ways to skin a cat.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:42 pm 
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HamelnStock Survivor and Midi Guru
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Great answer. I'll try to apply to wind me up after i redid the vocals.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 3:40 am 
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Tinhorn

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Byron gave me some pointers on compression for bass, kick, and the entire mix, as well as when mastering using the G. I know that Byron would blanch, but I now routinely use the Byron Compression System (BCS) and the Byron Majik Bass settings in all of my projects.

He describes some of this approach in his post above. All I can say is that my mixes have tightened up from implementing his suggestions (wink - System - wink).

Obviously, no systematic approach will always work; that's why we have ears, but it has certainly helped a lot.

Randy

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:54 pm 
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Marker Magician
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Machine type: AW2400
Yes, you have to let your ears guide you. As you tighten things up, using compression on various tracks, it all begins to sound "better", but the compression settings accumulate and the whole mix may suffer from this growth in compression. But then as you go back and strategically back thresholds and ratios off you may like how things open up.

If you play with the knee setting, don't forget to raise the threshold too. A much higher (closer to 0 dB) threshold will trigger the compressor set to knee 5 than if it were set to "Hard" or 1.

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