how do you tell a good compressor

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
baseinstinct
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how do you tell a good compressor

Post by baseinstinct » Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:08 am

from a bad one?

Homebelly
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Re: how do you tell a good compressor

Post by Homebelly » Tue Apr 29, 2008 3:58 am

baseinstinct wrote:from a bad one?
Ummm,,, wait!.. oh.. i dunno?? :?
Okay.. i give up,,,
how can you tell a good compressor from a bad one?







Is this like one of those drummer jokes,, how many drummers does it take to change a light bulb?
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forge
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Post by forge » Tue Apr 29, 2008 4:03 am

depends what you want to tell it

cmcg37
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Post by cmcg37 » Tue Apr 29, 2008 4:08 am

You can tell a good compressor because you go to it all the time, you know what settings to adjust, you can here the results right away, and you cant tell what just happened to your sound. The sound just sounds better.

I am sorry for the lame reply but compression is very subjective. I tried really hard not to be a compressor snob but I could not help it. The compressors that I like the most do exactly what I want them to do when I use them. I know that compressors do have their sound but I focus more on what the effect on MY audio is vs the "sound" it gets.

I have had the luxury of working with some "High-Endish" compressors but I always come back to the working man's compressors. I have had good luck in learning a few specific compressors and sticking with them.

In order of preference:
T-Racks Compressor
Ableton's Compressor II
Presonus Blue Max (Hardware)

Let the audio tell you what a good compressor sounds like.

Regards,

CMcG37

lunabass
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Post by lunabass » Tue Apr 29, 2008 4:24 am

^ +1.

familiarity is the key for me. i use the same compressor because i feel like i know what to expect. i'd say just make a decision on one and just stick with it.
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knotkranky
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Post by knotkranky » Tue Apr 29, 2008 4:45 am

compressor - good from bad?

Detection circuitry, i/o and internal component quality. Character, if it's a two knobber.

But mainly knowing how to set it for the job at hand.

For me, it does a job, and is very rarely used to make a certain kinda sound.

Plugins? The code.

bensuthers
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Post by bensuthers » Tue Apr 29, 2008 6:15 am

the number of sidechains?

rydan
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Post by rydan » Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:05 am

You take some different material, add the compressor, tweak it and listen. If you like what you hear, it's good. If you don't like it, it's bad. A compressor that is bad for you might well be good for someone else and vice versa.
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Machinate
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Post by Machinate » Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:54 am

bensuthers wrote:the number of sidechains?
bingo! It's not a proper sidechain if it doesn't allow for 128+ parameters to be assigned.

rydan
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Post by rydan » Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:05 am

Machinate wrote:
bensuthers wrote:the number of sidechains?
bingo! It's not a proper sidechain if it doesn't allow for 128+ parameters to be assigned.
Ehm, what kind of compressors are you discussing? Number of sidechains? Number of parameters for those sidechains? WHAT??

---edit----

You know what, a smiley or two wouldn't hurt those posts... =)
Last edited by rydan on Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
Live + M4L, MacBookPro & Ultralite mk3. Plugins from Softube, Soundtoys, Eventide, 2CAudio, Cytomic, AudioDamage, OhmForce, FabFilter, SonicCharge, Waves, MadronaLabs, NI and ExpertSleepers. Oh, and a bunch of hardware... =D

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lunabass
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Post by lunabass » Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:34 am

Machinate wrote:
bensuthers wrote:the number of sidechains?
bingo! It's not a proper sidechain if it doesn't allow for 128+ parameters to be assigned.
just press the daft punk button
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zsazsa
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Post by zsazsa » Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:55 am

there is a big difference in compressors and how you use them.
If you use one for effect, like squashing or pumping drums you would probably want something with character. If you use one for mixing or mastering you'd want one that is very transparent.

Depends a lot on the settings of course.

Since i mainly use them to squash for effects I'm pretty happy with my alesis 3630 and the digitalfishphones blockfish (free VST).

djsynchro
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Post by djsynchro » Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:51 pm

A good compressor sounds good.

mdb
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Post by mdb » Thu May 01, 2008 6:05 am

A lot of bullshit answers here.

Usually what people consider to be good compressors, are compressors that are either;

1. Transparent sounding (You can reduce the dynamic range without a very distinct audible change to your ears)

2. Compressors that really nuke the signal in a desireable sound, which in itself, undescribable. It usually results in the sound i describe below on 3

3. Compressors that add nice pop/snap on snare drums. Percussive compressors, if you will.

4. Compressors that warm up or enhance the sound and add harmonic distortion. Compressors like the Distressor, for example. Theres a reason you see 2 of those in everyones studios, They are magic. Theres also a reason why you see LA-2A's in everyones studios too. Those are good compressors/limiters. And until youve got your hands on one and heard the results, then you probably wont truely understand the answer to your question. No plugin can really emulate the sound of the real thing. I wish it did, but thats just the reality we have to accept. 8)

You just have to get your hands on a good compressor after playing with cheap ones and then youll understand. Trust me.
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Lo-Key Fu
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Post by Lo-Key Fu » Thu May 01, 2008 9:44 am

baseinstinct wrote:How do you tell a good compressor from a bad one?
A: A compressor is good if it serves your purpose for using it.

IMHO, your question is a difficult one to answer more specifically because it is missing the word "FOR".

A compressor that is good FOR fattening up your drums may have very different characteristics to another good FOR mastering your mix, FOR side-chaining your kick drum, FOR warming up your low end frequencies, or FOR using as a doorstop to keep the studio better ventilated in summer.

The compressor is just a tool to achieve a desired result. Once you have in mind what result you are aiming for, determining which models are "good" and which are "bad" for the task becomes a whole lot easier.

Apologies for this answer being a little vague - and entirely no offense intended - but so is the question.

Still, hope this helps in some way.

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