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Question about attack times

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Question about attack times

Postby RemoHead » Mon Oct 11, 2010 4:04 pm

hi everyone,

In various books ive read I see phrases like "use a fast to medium attack and slow release" etc etc.

my question is simply, what sort of speed is a fast, medium and slow attack / release time?

im guessing at .5 - 16ms is fast, 100 ms medium and 250 upwards slow?
im only taliking general terms here as I know all compression is subjective.

sorry if this seems like a fairly dumb question but its bugging me!

thanks a lot,

Remo.
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Re: Question about attack times

Postby desmond » Mon Oct 11, 2010 4:23 pm

Fast is anything quicker than medium or slow.

Medium is slower than fast but faster than slow.

Slow is slower than both medium and fast, but slow is more slow from fast than it is from medium.

Hope that clears things up!
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Re: Question about attack times

Postby Jack Ruston » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:15 pm

The reason you generally don't see times specified is that the specific action depends on the source and the individual compressors attack characteristics. Generally you can think of fast attack as being one which traps the initial transient while slow allows it to pass. The actual settings which achieve that result are as I say, source and compressor dependent.

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Re: Question about attack times

Postby turbodave » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:19 pm

Hi,I suppose a reasonably sensible reply would be to look at attack and response controls on a device.This will give you an idea of parameters.Dave
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Re: Question about attack times

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:20 pm

RemoHead wrote:my question is simply, what sort of speed is a fast, medium and slow attack / release time?

It's all relative, of course, but generally Fast would be faster than about 3ms, medium is usually between 3 and 15ms and slow is anything slower than 15ms -- but the actual values in offer cna vary widely.

Compressors generally have much slower attack times available, often going all the way to a 100ms or even slower, while limiters tend to have much faster times, going down to microseconds sometimes.

So you might see a compressor with options from 0.5ms to 250ms, while a limiter might be 100us to 10ms.

Consequently, a fast compressor might appear to be a medium or slow limiter!

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Re: Question about attack times

Postby RemoHead » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:01 pm

Thanks a lot Hugh (and everyone else!) - thats sorted that!
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Re: Question about attack times

Postby Ten21 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:38 am

RemoHead wrote:hi everyone,

In various books ive read I see phrases like "use a fast to medium attack and slow release" etc etc.

my question is simply, what sort of speed is a fast, medium and slow attack / release time?

im guessing at .5 - 16ms is fast, 100 ms medium and 250 upwards slow?
im only taliking general terms here as I know all compression is subjective.

sorry if this seems like a fairly dumb question but its bugging me!

thanks a lot,

Remo.

Hi Remo

as already mentioned the source is everything, especially with drums. Compressors also vary a great deal. Some are aggressive some very subtle. The only way to really learn is to put the book down, and be extreme with your settings and play around the tools that you have.

One tip for you, (given your id is Remo Head) I do a lot of drum recording, and I use very little in the way of compression and absolutely none going down to disk as well as minimal eq.

The biggest difference you can make to a drum sound much more than mic choice, placement, mic pre, eq or converters, is the drum itself and the room it's in (oh and the drummer!). Getting everything else right but miss this out and you'll all you'll get is a great recording of a crap drum sound.

If you're reaching for the compressor to fix a sound, then the sound is wrong.

You should only be reaching for it to make it sound even better.

Use your ears and don't look at the screen.

If any one thinks I'm going off topic, I beg to differ. In fact it's probably the reason for the question in the first place

Regards

Sean
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