Compression


Christoph
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Does anyone use Sound Forge 4 or 5? What settings do you use for compression? ( under Effects > Dynamics > Graphic.. )
# 1
Christoph
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Still wondering . . .

How about a discussion of digital compression in general?
# 2
Bardsley
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I agree, anyone here a whizz with compression? I don't use it very much, and it is a fairly strange science, it seems.
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# 3
Christoph
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Somebody tell me something.

# 4
trendkillah
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Well, what do ya wanna know about compression?
# 5
Christoph
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Everything . . . what it is, what it does, how it works, settings to use, etc.
# 6
LeftSide
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Joined: 05/28/02
Posts: 47
what is the point of compression anyway? what is the difference and how does it manipulate your sound?
# 7
trendkillah
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Originally posted by Christoph

Everything . . . what it is, what it does, how it works, settings to use, etc.


what it does => in most cases it attenuates all levels that go above a set threshold, by a pre-(user)determined ratio. example: you have a threshold of 10dB, and a ratio of 2:1. Now, if you have a input level of 20dB, thus 10dB over the threshold, the compressor attenuates that level by 2:1, thus bringing it down to 10dB.
In short, it decreases the dynamic range of the original input signal.

how it works => I have no clue, probably with lots of resistors, capacitors and voltage controlled amplifiers. This part is too techie for me.

settings to use: Can't help you on that one either, I never pay attention to my settings, whatever sounds good goes.
# 8
TheDirt
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Joined: 03/28/02
Posts: 569
I'll try to explain compression and sound a bit less techie than trndkillah's post...

Compression basically evens out the volume of what you play. You set a number and if you go above that volume it decreases your output, and if you go lower than that volume, it increases your output. This means, that if it is in a chain of effects, it should be either first or last (I prefer first). Using compression takes away from dynamics in your playing (sometimes you want to go from playing a soft passage to a huge, wailing bend), but if you don't use too much compression, it allows you to still play soft or loud, but you won't play too soft or too loud (it keeps you from playing those 22nd fret bends on the high e so loud that the audience cringes). A good guesswork for the settins would be to put everything on the middle setting. If you can't get the dynamics you want from that, then lower some settings. This is a great no-thinking approach; use your ears.
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# 9
Christoph
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Ok cool, thanks TK and Dirt . . . now I think we have a basic understanding of what it does.

When I said "settings to use", I meant that in a post-processing sense. Say I have a song with a lot of heavy distortion and some soft parts. And in order to get the heavy parts to fit in without clipping I had reduce the overall volume of the whole piece, thus making the soft parts barely distinguishable. How could I use compression to equalize the volumes of the soft and hard parts (or at least make the transitions less definable)?

So in other words, what settings would I use in my post-editing program (Sound Forge, Goldwave, whatever) to achieve this?

# 10