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Thread: should I use a compressor?

  1. #1
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    should I use a compressor?

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    I record to a tascam 488 mkii cassette 8 track.

    should I use a compressor at the tracking stage for acoustic guitar and vocals? Or, should I wait until after I dump the tracks into my computer and compress at the mixing stage?

    i don't own a compressor but I could get one if it will make a big difference.

    thanks, I appreciate the advice.

  2. #2
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    Feb 2005
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    Tape compresses in a pleasing manner anyways, I usually wait until mixdown to my 22-2, but then again I'm using all outboard stuff. I'd only recommend picking one up if it's genuinely a nice one. No compression is way better than bad compression.

    Cavetone Records is a vinyl-only record label that records and mixes only to open reel through a series of tube devices and magic to release mono records.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by hungovermorning View Post
    .. No compression is way better than bad compression.
    Scott touched on the basic point. Breaking it down- the reasons to compress are to 1) get you closer sooner to the finished sound, 2) sometimes peak protection, 3) improving signal to noise on tape. The last two likely apply to tape more than 24bit, but also in digi' land to take advantage of #1 and the distinctive quality of an out board comp that you can't get in a plug or don't want to go back out through converters during mix.

    But back around to 'when in doubt leave it out, and 'do least harm'.

    The down side- bad compression, ie too much, or the wrong kind can't be undone.
    If you're getting you feet wet on your own projects, or have forgiving people you're recording and doing it over is an option, this is the time to take the chances and learn what goes and what doesn't.

    I generally take it easy on the tracking set up. Keep the ratio low (2:1), the release fairly fast, 3-6ish on the gain reduction, and watch your attack time. Transients are where the life of the sound is- and along with attack time often define the sound of compression and how hard it grabs.
    For vocal the 20 to 50 ms range is a good ball park.
    IMHO this is (generally) not the place to do peak protection. Better to get the gain staging and record levels correct.
    Placebo stomps 96k ....... Recent projects
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