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Clicking noise in a mix due to bus compressor

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Clicking noise in a mix due to bus compressor

Postby kralik » Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:55 pm

Hello everybody, I have a strange problem with my mixes. I use an SSL-type bus compressor VST plugin on my instrument bus and it causes an annoying clicking noise, especially when there are more distorted guitars playing at the same time (two rhythm ones hard pan L/R plus e.g. harmony in E minor and G major scales).

I think it is because of the fast attack of the bus compressor (set to 0,3). But when I make it slower (to 3,0 for example), I do not hear the clicks, but the compressor does not respond very well.

What do you think I could do about this?

My setup:
Recording rock, hard rock and metal music in a bedroom with a PC using Reaper.
Drums in SSD5.
Guitar -> stompbox -> audio interface (Hi-Z input), VST amp and IR (and some fx).
Bass -> bypassed multieffect (does not modify the sound at all, but without it the input signal is too low) -> Hi-Z -> some fx + a strong limiter to make the bass not jump all over the place.
Keyboards -> Hi-Z -> nothing much happening, most of the time HP and LP only. I barely use the keyboards.

Bus compressor settings:
Ratio: 4
Attack: 0,3
Recovery: 0,1
Sidechain: 160
Threshold is set in the way that there is 4 dB reduction with the snare hit.
Makeup is set so the overall loudness of the mix without the compressor is equal to the overall loundess with it.

Regards,
Kralik
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Re: Clicking noise in a mix due to bus compressor

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:07 pm

kralik wrote:I use an SSL-type bus compressor VST plugin on my instrument bus and it causes an annoying clicking noise....I think it is because of the fast attack of the bus compressor (set to 0,3).

So do I. Clicking is a classic side effect of an attack time which is too fast for the audio material. It could also be an indictation -- in some VCA compressors -- that the circuitry has become misaligned.

But when I make it slower (to 3,0 for example), I do not hear the clicks, but the compressor does not respond very well. What do you think I could do about this?

I don't know what options your compressor provides, but something slower than 0.3ms but not as slow as 3.0ms Would seem to be required... Or you could use a different compressor.

Bus compressor settings:
Ratio: 4
Attack: 0,3
Recovery: 0,1

That's an unusually fast recovery time for a bus compressor -- unless you're going for a pumping effect.
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Re: Clicking noise in a mix due to bus compressor

Postby MOF » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:13 pm

It’s the virtual sound of old style VU/PPM needles hitting the end stops, a bit like hiss on & off in tape simulators, there’ll be a switch for it somewhere. :lol:
Sorry just my idea of a joke, it will be what Hugh said, but I can see some plugin developer thinking it’s not a bad idea, especially on the multitrack tape simulator.
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Re: Clicking noise in a mix due to bus compressor

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:15 pm

:lol:
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Re: Clicking noise in a mix due to bus compressor

Postby kralik » Sun Jul 26, 2020 1:12 pm

Thank you. I've found that if I apply less warm tape saturation on individual tracks, the clicking sound is much quieter. And then I can tweak the attack and release of the bus comp only a little and it disappears eventually.
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Re: Clicking noise in a mix due to bus compressor

Postby Zukan » Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:21 am

You have a whole host of compressor topologies that you can dig into that could help greatly in this exact scenario.

If you're predominantly mixing distorted guitars and need the comp to grab those attack ytransients superfast have a look at FET compression. If you want slower attack times that could help glue the guitar bus then look at OPTO......and on and on....
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