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rec-tec



Joined: 04/03/09
Posts: 53
routing for stereo bus compression, and other queries
      #1090584 - 25/02/14 10:34 AM
hi all. more queries.

Firstly:

i want to use hardware compression on stereo bus (in ableton with motu 828mk3). should i:

- put all the tracks into a final submix and insert a hardware compressor (by sending out on eg outs 9/10 and returning to eg ins 9/10 to (eventually the master)?

- send the whole mix to the master then out to a hardware compressor and then record the outcome to a new stereo track?

- does it not make any difference?

Secondly:

- i currently have an Alesis 3632 which i want to 'practice' stereo bus compression on (as i usually use software), what might be a good upgrade - Chamelon Labs 7720 or FMR RNC/RNLA or something else (not to wildly exotic (ie pricey))?

Thirdly:

- is it possible/practical/advisable to use a single channel compressor and record the output from each channel of the stereo bus separately (i have just read an article where a reviewer seemed to imply he had done that with a stereo mix when sent only one single channel eq unit to review)or would some critical decisions affecting stereo be missing?

any thoughts would be welcome

thanks - RT


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Mixedup
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Joined: 03/09/03
Posts: 4649
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Re: routing for stereo bus compression, and other queries new [Re: rec-tec]
      #1090599 - 25/02/14 12:29 PM
1. If you want to use mix-bus compression (as opposed to mastering compression after the mix is done) then just insert some sort of analogue I/O plugin on the master bus and route things to the compressor OR do the same on a bus if you want to do parallel compression. If you send out and record the result, make sure that you're monitoring what you're recording, rather than what you're sending out, as you need to mix into the compressor (otherwise you might just as well do this later, on the bounced stereo file).

2. Don't run L or R signals through a mono comp on separate passes. That way lies madness (not to mention bad results).

3. Upgrade? Depends entirely what it is your'e trying to achieve and what budget you have available. Some sort of SSL VCA clone is a decent bet (TK Audio BC1 MkII is a good bet for this, but there are others). Better to use a true stereo comp rather than two unlinkable mono ones in my experience, so that the side-chain is summed and you don't get weird left/right image shifting. I'd also be looking for something with a sidechain high-pass filter.

4. Why are you wanting to use outboard for this task? You can get results in good outboard that are better than software... but for the sort of money you seem to be wanting to spend, I'd be paying for a decent plug-in (eg Cytomic The Glue) every time. Try TDR Feedback Compressor II which is free. Ditto Vladg Molot, for more flavour. I'll place money on them sounding better than the Alesis!


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iceman
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Joined: 17/10/03
Posts: 1148
Loc: Liverpool
Re: routing for stereo bus compression, and other queries new [Re: rec-tec]
      #1090727 - 26/02/14 03:16 AM
Quote:

Try TDR Feedback Compressor II which is free.





and brilliant!!! i use this plugin heaps!

--------------------
as metal as your nanna`s new hip


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rec-tec



Joined: 04/03/09
Posts: 53
Re: routing for stereo bus compression, and other queries new [Re: rec-tec]
      #1090943 - 27/02/14 09:58 AM
hey mixed up thanks for the advice. i kinda predicted some of the answers (that the alesis is pretty low grade - probably better for other tasks).

any thoughts on the chameleon labs 7720 - i have a/b'd it with the TK BC1s on the Zen audio clipilator - i am not sure it is a good comparison though, given that all the files are mp3 - not sure there is enough info in files to show any real difference?

some people seem to rate the usefulness of the HPF on it - but is it a case of budget gear=budget sound?

cheers - R-T


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Mixedup
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Joined: 03/09/03
Posts: 4649
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Re: routing for stereo bus compression, and other queries new [Re: rec-tec]
      #1090956 - 27/02/14 10:28 AM
I've not used the CL one, but the HPF in the side-chain can make any compressor much more useful, particularly for buss work IMO, and I've heard plenty of others say good things. It doesn't have the wet/dry control that I personally like for stereo/drum buss work. My current favourite SSL-style thing is the Serpent, which also adds the option of a continuously variable release. But that's a little more and you'd need a 500-series rack. So the CL looks a decent buy.

Regarding budget, it all depends how and where the thing's manufactured, what kind of after-sales support there is, and what margin the manufacturers are making. There's no reason why a VCA SSL-style compressor should cost a lot, given that the design part is easy (there are suitable schematics all over the interweb). The cost usually goes up when you start multiplying the THAT 2180/2181 chips inside the unit to lower the noise floor (as in the Serpent), and adding bells and whistles like a decent blend control (decent as in perfect 50:50 is at 12 o'clock...)

But as I said... Cytomic the Glue is a great plug-in for this job, and well worth checking out.

On any of the above, whether hardware or software, if you're not used to the SSL bus comp thing it's really easy to overdo things. I like to have it set at 1.5 or 2:1 (depending what's offered on the particular unit) and just nudging the gain reduction to somewhere between 2-4dB. More than that and it starts to suffocate things too much for me.


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rec-tec



Joined: 04/03/09
Posts: 53
Re: routing for stereo bus compression, and other queries new [Re: rec-tec]
      #1090964 - 27/02/14 10:39 AM
thanks again mixed up - really do appreciate feedback. maybe i will consider the CL as the BC1 is a bit pricey... is there a workaround for the wet dry issue - as i will also want to do the wet/dry (parallel compression) for my drum tracks...?

thnx R-T


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 20849
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: routing for stereo bus compression, and other queries new [Re: rec-tec]
      #1090965 - 27/02/14 10:41 AM
Quote rec-tec:

is it possible/practical/advisable to use a single channel compressor and record the output from each channel of the stereo bus separately




Yes, not really, and no, in that order!

When working in stereo it is essential that the two compressor channels work together so that any gain reduction called for by one channel is replicated by the other. That's what the stereo link switch is for on a dual-channel/stereo compressor.

If you don't have that link the stereo image will wander about in a quite unsettling way. Clearly, passing each channel through a mono compressor in separate passes won't have that linking function. So it's not an advisable idea!

There are two ways around the problem -- so it is possible -- but neither are very practical.

The first is to process the material in a Mid-Side format, with the first pass compressing the Mid signal (a mono sum of Left plus right), and a second pass to process the Side signal (a mono sum of Left plus polarity-inverted-right). If you then transcode the processed Mid and Side signals back to Left and Right you have a compressed stereo mix.

However, there is still no stereo link between the two channels, so there will be some mistracking. However, in this case the image width will vary instead of the image centre moving about, and that is generally less objectionable.

A better solution is available if your mono compressor has side chain access. In this case you generate a mono sum of your stereo mix and feed that to the side chain input, so that the compressor reacts to the same mono sum signal on both passes.

You can then process the left channel in one pass, and the right channel on a second pass. Because both passes use the same side chain control signal, the compressor will react the same way both times, so you have effectively employed a stereo link, and so the image will remain stable.

Of course, this system requires that the actual audio processed in the compression passes sis the same as that used to create the summed side-chain control signal. So if you're trying to do mix-bus compression you will need to have created fader automation so that each pass is identical.. which kind of circumvents the whole point of mix-bus compression which is all about the interaction of mixing into a compressor in real time...

So as I said, not very practical... and not advisable.

H



--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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rec-tec



Joined: 04/03/09
Posts: 53
Re: routing for stereo bus compression, and other queries new [Re: rec-tec]
      #1090968 - 27/02/14 11:00 AM
thanks hugh - that's why i come to this site for good advice. do you have any thoughts on the CL 7720? is there some kind of work around for the absence of the wet/dry - or should i stick with software until i can take the plunge into a more serious compressor?

cheers, again R-T


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Richie Royale



Joined: 12/09/06
Posts: 4284
Loc: Bristol, England.
Re: routing for stereo bus compression, and other queries new [Re: rec-tec]
      #1090980 - 27/02/14 11:25 AM
I recall narcoman had a view on un-linking a stereo compressor, his thoughts are quoted here from the following thread:

Quote narcoman:

as an aside....

Although the single chanel is mightly ungainly (ho ho) in ergonomic terms adn in none stereo linkage, I'll point out that many many mixers use stero buss compression UNlinked - not for technical reasons, but more mojo. YES - the stereo image gets changed, a real issue in absolute coherent situations (orchestral in particular, but then again I don't use mix buss processing on those gigs). In rock records mixers like Mould, Puig and (yeuch) the Lord-Alges use unlinked mix buss compression. As do Stent and Hedges - of course all dependent upon situation.

So - whilst single channel is not practical for ergonasmic reasonage, it certainly should not be ruled out because of stereo linking. Remember, this job is a balance between science and art. So be prepared to throw the rule book out once in a while. Yes, it will shift your image around, BUT it might inject some of that important mojo....




http://www.soundonsound.com/forum/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=663069&Main=660 724

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Jack Ruston



Joined: 21/12/05
Posts: 4426
Re: routing for stereo bus compression, and other queries new [Re: rec-tec]
      #1090984 - 27/02/14 11:34 AM
Yeah I quite like the unlinked thing although it can go quite wrong if you have side info thats very aggressive, like a really loud hard panned floor tom for example. The API2500 allows you to partially link the sides by percentage.

A good hardware compressor is the best option from a sonics point of view, but it's rarely that affordable, and I wonder whether you might be better advised to experiment with software for a while and see if you prefer the working method. The glue thing is quite good, as is the slate red.

J

--------------------
www.jackruston.com


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