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Author Topic: Parallel compression, my new love & best friend  (Read 34879 times)

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Offline JasonSobel

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Re: Parallel compression, my new love & best friend
« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2010, 08:09:45 PM »
Let me know how it works for you.

Totally dig the d'Elf.  Thanks for making so many great recordings of them over the years, J!

I think it worked out very well.
here it is (the mp3's are still deriving)...
http://www.archive.org/details/clubdelf2010-08-26.ck930.flac16
I used parallel compression on this, although I didn't do any EQ on either the straight up version, or the heavily compressed version.

also, I think I'm going to leave the 24 bit version just straight up, with no compression (parallel or otherwise).  the 24 bit files is what I use to listen to at home, in a more controlled environment.  here is the 24 bit version, with no compression:
http://www.archive.org/details/clubdelf2010-08-26.ck930.flac24
« Last Edit: August 29, 2010, 06:42:00 AM by JasonSobel »

Offline newplanet7

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Re: Parallel compression, my new love & best friend
« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2010, 09:07:37 PM »
Jason, that Us and Them is pretty stellar!
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Offline JasonSobel

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Re: Parallel compression, my new love & best friend
« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2010, 07:17:20 AM »
Jason, that Us and Them is pretty stellar!

because of the parallel compression?  ;)

Offline newplanet7

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Re: Parallel compression, my new love & best friend
« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2010, 06:22:52 PM »
Jason, that Us and Them is pretty stellar!

because of the parallel compression?  ;)
Me thinks?
Do tell.....
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Offline page

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Re: Parallel compression, my new love & best friend
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2010, 12:23:22 AM »
Jason, that Us and Them is pretty stellar!

because of the parallel compression?  ;)

Maybe so, maybe not.

it is nice tho.  :)
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Online Gutbucket

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Re: Parallel compression, my new love & best friend
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2010, 02:37:45 AM »
it is nice tho.  :)

super good- both musicianship & recording.


Dont't hear any obvious compression listening to the VBR stream- a good thing.
Playing it again straight through- which is good thing too.

I'll be interested to hear the difference in the 24 bit.
& again- thanks for the great music.
super cool.
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Offline JasonSobel

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Re: Parallel compression, my new love & best friend
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2010, 06:47:32 AM »
it is nice tho.  :)

super good- both musicianship & recording.


Dont't hear any obvious compression listening to the VBR stream- a good thing.
Playing it again straight through- which is good thing too.

I'll be interested to hear the difference in the 24 bit.
& again- thanks for the great music.
super cool.

the 24 bit version is now posted (http://www.archive.org/details/clubdelf2010-08-26.ck930.flac24).  As I said before, no compression on the 24 bit version at all.  However, the fact I didn't use any compression on the 24 bit version isn't a criticism of parallel compression at all.  Merely the reality of when I listen to each version.  I'll only listen to the 24 bit version at home, when I can appreciate the fully dynamic version.  On the other hand, I'll listen to the 16 bit version in the car or on my mp3 player.  And in those cases, it helps to reduce the dynamic range a bit.

Thanks again Gutbucket for posting about parallel compression and bringing this technique to my attention.  I really do think it works better (relative to normal compression) to achieve my goals of reducing the dynamic range, while not killing the feel of the live recording.

- Jason

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Re: Parallel compression, my new love & best friend
« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2010, 08:50:45 AM »
edit: I guess I really just am not getting what numbers and settings to go for to get this to work  . . .
Sounds like you would work on a copy of the raw track, and compress it a little harder than you normally would (lower threshold, higher ratio), then see what the mix with raw sounds like. Numbers are great as starting points, but nothing like letting the ears tell ya the real answer.
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Offline dmonkey

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Re: Parallel compression, my new love & best friend
« Reply #23 on: August 29, 2010, 12:24:46 PM »
Thanks for the thread. I've tried to do low and high level compression before with a single plugin, but I haven't really liked the results and I found it hard to visualize what was going on behind the scenes. This technique makes more sense to me because I can see what's happening, and I'm having a lot of fun playing around with this technique on a matrix mix of an acoustic performance. Really beefs things up without sounding overly processed. I still have fine tuning to do, but I think the result I'm getting is so much better now than when I just applied a bunch of high-level compression to try to bring up the quiet stuff at the expense of the loud transients.

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Re: Parallel compression, my new love & best friend
« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2010, 09:35:38 AM »
I don't spend as much time in my DAW as I should and I'll admit that, because of that, after reading several times, the compression discussion of this thread has my mind spinning.  With that as an intro, I'm asking advance forgiveness for a DAW noob question.  Please bear with me while I develop the background to several questions...which are at the end of the paragraph.

I understand the concept of bottom-up compression that's discussed here, particularly when contrasted by the dynamic range limiting concept of compression that squashes peaks...which could conversely be called top-down compression I suppose.  All this makes total sense to me.  However, in my own post mastering, I've never invoked any compression onto my masters.  For the lower volume songs, I've always opted to simply manually adjust the levels upward with the level tool.  To make transitions transparent, I'll use the fade in and fade out tools. 

I realize that this technique doesn't implement compression continuously throughout the recording, but here is my main DAW noob question...wouldn't this manual technique I've used approximate (on a somewhat macroscopic level) the parallel compression technique that's being discussed in this thread? 

If so, why would the technique I've use be any better or worse than applying compression on the entire performance?

If not, why not?

Thanks in advance!

Online Gutbucket

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Re: Parallel compression, my new love & best friend
« Reply #25 on: August 31, 2010, 11:09:23 AM »
By manually adjusting the level upwards for the softer parts you are doing a form of manually applied bottom-up compression. It's actually quite similar in a lot of ways, although there are differences- if those differences are good or bad depends on how you look at it.  Some of the differences are sonic, others are more about how you go about doing it and the time required to do so.

Manually drawing level changes and crossfades gives you specific control over each section- exactly how much each part is boosted and how it blends into the surrounding louder sections.. and that requires specific attention to getting the level and fades set for each section.  With enough attention to the crossfades, doing it manually it might be less prone to introducing sonic artifacts than using a compressor plugin, parallel or otherwise.  Some of the potential artifacts I notice are the pumping, or audible modulation of lower level constant background noise in the quiet sections: things like guitar amp hum, HVAC rumble, etc.  Setting up parallel compression takes more time initially to dial in the right settings to avoid those problems, but doesn't require applying it individually to every quiet part. 

So then one practical question is how ‘granular’ you want to get in your dynamic level adjustments.  If there are not very many, you may want the extra control of doing it manually. Then again, if applied automatically as determined by the level of the recording itself, the compression might be more consistent across all sections, even very short segments.  If you slice the pie in small enough pieces, you’d go nuts trying to envelope them all.

Sonically a few things are different as well and again, if those are good or bad, depends.  Parallel compression effects the microdynamics within the quieter sections as well as the overall macrodynamic level of the entire section.  It evens-out the level of sounds within those soft parts, bringing up the background sounds more than just raising the overall level by the same amount would.  For highly transient material which doesn’t have a high average level, it sort of thickens things up.  That can often be heard on drum sections, were it compresses and brings out the lower level trailing resonances after the brief, high-level hit peaks. In mixing, it’s sometimes applied the drum buss for that reason 

Also as mentioned previously, it's a common approach to EQ the compressed copy differently from the uncompressed copy, which has the effect of applying a different EQ curve to the quiet parts verses the loud parts.  Like you, I  haven’t put much time into mastery of the DAW interface and complexities either.  My DAW allows automation of EQ curves so I could manually adjust EQ over time similar to drawing in manual level changes, but I’ve never figured out how to do that.. and it would probably take me way too much time to adjust it all to my satisfaction.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2010, 11:13:46 AM by Gutbucket »
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Offline Brian Skalinder

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Re: Parallel compression, my new love & best friend
« Reply #26 on: August 31, 2010, 11:32:47 AM »
Gb beat me to it, but I was nearly done, so I'll post anyway...

Manually adjusting levels reduces dynamic range between one or more edited sections and the unedited sections.  Compression -- depending on the content one's editing -- may, depending on the configuration one uses, reduce the (micro-)dynamic range within the selected range (whether the whole recording, a section, song, or even portion of a song), as well as the macro-dynamics between the edited and unedited sections.  Manual level adjustment works well, as far as it goes.  But I've often found myself wanting to reduce dynamic range in multiple portions of a recording.  Using manual level adjustment when the portions are very many and/or very short <a> becomes tedious and/or <b> produces audible transitions due to insufficient time to fade level adjustment in or out.
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Re: Parallel compression, my new love & best friend
« Reply #27 on: August 31, 2010, 11:35:40 AM »
Thank you both Gutbucket and Brian.  Awesome responses and very insightful/informative.

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Re: Parallel compression, my new love & best friend
« Reply #28 on: August 31, 2010, 12:12:15 PM »
No problem. 

I'd like to add that there isn't any reason why both techniques cannot be used together at the same time in a complementary fashion.  In that case, wherever the average level is increased manually, the total contribution of the bottom-up compression would be reduced, automatically.  I haven't tried doing that, but it might be a way of using both techniques to their best advantage.

It all depends on what's called for and how much time you have to put into it.
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Offline Walstib62

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Re: Parallel compression, my new love & best friend
« Reply #29 on: August 31, 2010, 12:29:40 PM »
GB,
I want to thank you as well. I've used this technique a few times and am really liking how it sounds. Great thread. Thanks!!

 

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