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Thread: Basic Compression Settings . . .

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    Dabass4 is offline Newbie
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    Greetings from a newbie. I just bought the DBX 266 compressor. I am a rookie with compression and have nothing to go on but my ears. Could someone give me some basic starting points (threshold, ratio, attack/release settings) for bass, vocals, snare drum, acoustic & electric guitars, etc. Just looking for a place to begin! Thanks

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    ametth's Avatar
    ametth is offline Sir Cool of Coronado
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    There is a ton on info here..just do a search. Personaly I like all the knobs turned all the way up with the bypass button the best


    ametth

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    pglewis is offline 1K Silver Member
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    Take5 is offline Newbie
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    there are WAY too many answers to your question! first off, what kind of genre, instruments, equipment? second, how much compression do you want? some engineers prefer 1-2dB of gain reduction to tape AND from tape, some double compress: i.e. set up one compressor to "catch the peaks" and then patch the output of that compressor straight into another set to gently ride the over all level. this sometimes works well on a very "active" vocalist.
    However....some basics to start:
    I usually like to track vocals with 2-3dB of gain reduction, attack time of 15-20 ms (med-fast), release of 60-80ms (med-fast)and a ratio of ~2/1. use the threshold to dial in the "amount" of compression (the 2-3dB of "gain reduction I talked about.)
    remember...the gain reduction meter should read 0dB at some point in time during the vocal....if it doesn't then you are wasting gain.....turning down the signal un-nessicarily.
    compressing bass guitar all depends on the style of playing. is it slap and pop, fretless or just normal "dotted-quarter/ eighth" rythm? sometimes engineers will
    use a slower attack time to allow the initial attack ("transient")of a percussive sound (snare, MAYBE slap bass...) to sneak through the compressor before it kicks in.
    on the other hand depending on the context of the mix, the instruments and the players you may want the exact opposite. maybe the transient of the signal is too hot and needs to be compressed so you can just get a decent level to your recording medium of choice. see? like I said ...there are WAY to many answers to your question. and in all reality, you answered you own question: all you have to go on is your ears. Well welcome to the world of engineering!! that's what it's all about! you have the joy and pain of learning and gaining valuable experience...crank the knobs and see what it does! a basic understanding of WHAT each knob does is a great place to start.....this forum or any decent book on recording will help you out in that area.
    Do what you think sounds good.

    good luck and happy recording!

  5. #5
    Dabass4 is offline Newbie
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    Cool

    Thanks to all for the response(s). I'm off and running to be a 'mad scientist' in my studio!

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