Reviewing Logic Pro X’s Compressors (Are They Any Good?)
Makeup is a handy gain control that lets you bring up the overall level of the compressed signal.
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You often read about engineers applying compression to try and achieve an aggressive and upfront vocal sound. I recommend that before we go about compressing a vocal, we first of all pass a test tone through the different compressor models to highlight the differences at more extreme settings.
Open a new audio track and turn your monitor or headphone output right down. Go to the Channel Strip of that channel, add the Test Oscillator plug-in, and open its editing window. Set the waveform to Sine Wave, bring the output up to a comfortable level and adjust the frequency to something more palatable I set mine to Hz.
These settings will give you around 20dB of compression. Screen 3: At extreme attack and release settings, different compressor models will generate significantly different harmonics.
This can easily be demonstrated with a simple test tone. Now comes the interesting bit. You can now step through the compressor models and see and hear how different models generate different harmonic content with these settings see Screen 3. The Vintage VCA model gives a particularly striking spectrum. Now go to the Studio FET model and increase the release parameter and notice how the extra harmonics generated by the Compressor start to decrease; you will see the same thing if you raise the attack parameter.
You should be aware that certain models, given very low attack and release times, will introduce extra harmonic content and have a tendency to distort, brighten or thin out your source material, depending on your interpretation. You can hear these differences in Audio Example 5. Bypass the Test Oscillator and Compressor plug-ins and record or add a vocal. Play your vocal track to familiarise yourself with its timbre without compression I have used Audio Example 6.
Engage the Compressor plug-in and set the model to Studio FET, the attack and release times to 0 and the ratio to around Play your vocal track through the Compressor and tweak the threshold so you are applying around 15dB of compression. The effect can be heard in Audio Example 7. Notice how the vocal now has a slightly distorted quality to it. Listen to the how the audio example supplied sounds thin and harsh. We can reduce the harshness by changing the Attack to 80ms and the Release time to 20ms.
Listen to Audio Example 8 to hear the effect. You may have to adjust the Threshold parameter to achieve a similar amount of compression. There are some other ways to reduce the more obvious artifacts introduced by heavy, fast compression.
For example, try adjusting the Mix knob so that you are adding the compressed signal to the dry signal, or applying the equivalent gain reduction using two instances of the same compressor, but adding slightly longer attack and release times and a lower ratio setting on one instance. Buy PDF version. Previous article Next article. I know there was a time I turned to the plainly labelled “Toms” preset for a quick suggestion for compressing toms.
And there was that other time that the “Studio Clipper” preset piqued my interest. I was attempting a faux mastering effort of a whole mix, and I knew clippers were one way of shaving drum transients.
But truth be told, when it comes to “utility” plugins like EQs or Compressors, I almost never venture into their preset lists. My argument against presets has been one often pointed out online. How can any developer possibly estimate the right compression settings for your application? Can that “Rock Kick” preset be the best fit for that rock kick your mixing right now? Will the “Rap Vocal” preset deliver the goods for your rap vocal today? I always assumed these presets existed for beginners to help them along their way.
Which is great when someone’s starting out mixing music. Trying to hear the effects of compression can be one of the most difficult things to discern early on. Let alone dissecting what the heck a knee or a ratio is! But these days I feel a bit foolish for not giving the presets more of a try.
Because who doesn’t want a free clue or suggestion? And it seems like I read about pro mixers often enough who lean on presets for quick decision-making. And the results sound great! So it makes me wonder – who am I to write off presets? Some of the most celebrated compressors around are kind of “presets” in their own right. The LA2A offers its users just about no control over the circuit. No attack or release. No knee or ratio. You just drive the signal into the limiter until it sounds good.
But not that much more. It sounds great and requires no effort. The handful of times I’ve turned to Logic’s Compressor presets, they’ve helped me in a pinch. If for nothing more than a quick point of reference to start and fine-tune from. And in fact, I plan on trying them out more often in my mixes in the future. I don’t have a favorite Compressor Preset. Experienced engineers know how to adjust a Compressor and for beginners, I actually find them somewhat questionable for two main reasons:.
Plugin presets are extremely useful for Software Instruments and Effects Plugins. For example, with synth, you are looking for a specific sound or want to be inspired by sounds , and by stepping through the presets, you can preview many options very quickly. A big advantage is that you don’t even have to know anything about the synth and how to program its parameters. Presets for FX Plugins, i. You want to preview different options that might produce a specific sound or effect.
Again, no prior knowledge is required about the details of those plugins. However, the main purpose of a Compressor and its related cousins Limiter, Expander, and Gate is no to create a cool sound or effect. This can be easily overlooked because they are listed together with all the other FX plugins in your DAW. A Compressor, with its basic functionality, is just a volume fader that is controlled by its input signal or side chain signal. I wouldn’t consider a volume fader an effects tool.
The key element of a Compressor is that its functionality is dependent on the input signal mainly the level and frequency range. However, preset settings don’t know anything about the signal that you are using it for. Maybe a preset doesn’t do anything or maybe it does something bad to your sound that an inexperienced user might not notice.
Yes, if a preset is named “Bass This leads me to the next point. As I just mentioned, you can preview presets for synth or effects without knowing anything about those devices. You hear a cool sound or effect, you like it, and you use it tweaking optional. Using a Compressor, on the other hand, requires that you know its basic functionality.
Just selecting a preset is not an excuse not to do your homework and learn what a Compressor does and how to use it. The good news, it is not rocket science, and there is plenty of educational material on the Internet. Threshold – Ratio – Attack – Release. Once you understand that basic concept and adjust those parameters, then you are much faster with much better results than stepping through the Compressor Presets in Logic.
Even better, every time you adjust a parameter and listen to what it does to that specific signal, you gain valuable experience that you can apply to your next track or project. Just make sure you understand how the time value Attack and Release relates to the time value of the frequency of the signal. As you can see on the simplified diagram, if the frequency of a Bass signal is Hz, then one full cycle of that waveform takes 10ms.
However, if the Attack time is set to less than 10ms, then the Compressor turns down the amplitude mid-cycle and, therefore, changes the waveform. That means, it create new harmonics, which is another word for distortion. This is something to avoid, unless you want to create an effect, i. But now you would use the Compressor as an effects processor to change the sound of a signal and not only the volume and the dynamic.
Logic Pro X Review: Is It Worth It? (Cons & Pros)
Mark Cousins digs in and gets squashed For lpgic tutorial you will need the project file — download here We first took a look at the revised Logic Compressor a while back exploring the key processes […]. Mark Cousins digs in and gets squashed. For this tutorial you will need the project file — download here. We first took a look at lro revised Logic Compressor a while back exploring the key processes involved in setting up and using the plug-in.
Together, these show just what a versatile performer the Compressor plug-in is…. This is often logic pro x compressor review free evident on compreesor compression, where the kick drum dictates the movements of the compressor more than any other part of the kit.
The reason for this behaviour is that the kick is supplying a disproportionate amount of sound energy, largely because our ears are much less sensitive in that part of the frequency spectrum.
While the effect is interesting, the resultant pumping sound might not be the result you want to achieve. De-essing is another form of frequency-conscious compression больше на странице in this case, making a compressor particularly sensitive to sibilant sounds in the human voice. To make logic pro x compressor review free Compressor sensitive to sibilance, activate the Filter section, using the BP band-pass mode and tuning the frequency to where the sibilance is most prominent usually around 3kHz.
Now fine-tune the threshold and ratio so that the gain reduction is only triggered when the sibilance occurs, using ratio to define the amount нажмите для деталей sibilance reduction you want to achieve. In the previous example of a kick-heavy compression, the solution would be a high-pass filter HP set just above the frequency of the kick drum around Hz.
Across the drum loop, нажмите сюда the Compressor plug-in and set up a moderate amount of compression using the Frwe VCA model — Ratio, dB Threshold, medium Attack and Release.
By default, this is a low-pass filtered version of the input. Deactivate the Listen mode and move the filter to On. With the Side Chain in place the result is arguably more musical, and closer to how our ears hear the drums.
Use the ParEQ mode and apply a gain increase at around 80Hz. You might want to adjust the Release times so that the movements are empathetic to the sound logic pro x compressor review free speed of the kit. This tutorial is endorsed by Point Blank. You can study sound to picture on their Music Production Diploma courses, with logic pro x compressor review free industry tutors.
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