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Thread: Dynamics

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    Dynamics

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    Hi guys,
    a noob question haha . Was wondering whether anyone could tell me wad are dynamics? From what i understand, there are terms like expander, limiter, compressor and all that and is use to control the volume of the song?? haha. but i'm not sure how it works and when to use what?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg3n
    Hi guys,
    a noob question haha . Was wondering whether anyone could tell me wad are dynamics? From what i understand, there are terms like expander, limiter, compressor and all that and is use to control the volume of the song?? haha. but i'm not sure how it works and when to use what?
    Are you talking about dynamics as they are labeled under a tab in editing software? I know Audition labels teh compressor they have as dynamics, and they have presets for regular types of compression, noise gating, expanding and limiting. And all these things do affect the volume of a track. Is this what you are asking?
    Ed
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    Dynamics are the difference between loud and soft. The dynamic range of an instrument or voice or song is the difference between the loudest and quietest parts.

    The dynamic range of noises and your ear's ability to hear them exceeds the range of a lot of recording and playback gear. Your ear has about 120db of range between silence and pain. Until recently, the range of recording gear and playback equipment was under 100db, and radio for instance is still well below that. Lots of music wouldn't "fit" in it, so the dynamic range need to be controlled.

    Compressors and limiters reduce the dynamic range of a signal. A level threshold is set via a control, and any signal which goes above that that threshold is reduced by a ratio, also set via a control. Instead of stopping the signal exactly at the threshold, a compressor reduces it only by a certain amount. This tends to sound more natural than limiting at agressive levels, as limiting basically stops the signal dead at the threshold.

    A limiter does the same thing, but at higher ratios, up to a point where the signal will not cross the threshold at all. Most compressors can be set to limit, but generally don't perform as well as a dedicated limiter at those settings.

    Compression and limiting have a few basic uses. They can control the dynamics of a single instrument, making for instance a bass track sound more even. Say your bass player lays down a perfect track, except for a few notes that stick out. A compressor can reduce the volume of those few loud notes, saving the track, making it usable.

    They can control a whole song, limiting it's dynamic range. And they can do the same for a whole album, and also increase it's apparent volume. Limiting, an extreme form of compression, is often used on whole projects, and to protect against a peak in a track or song clipping a recorder.

    Besides their practical uses, compression and limiting have artistic uses as well, as many compressors and limiters have certain characteristic sounds such as distortion and smearing when driven hard. That's a whole other story, though.

    When well-used, they are indispensable. When poorly used, they will ruin a project or mix or gig like few other things.

    As far as when to use each, compression is basically used for making things sound better, and limiting is used to keep a very firm grip on how hot a signal can get. Both can be used on the same track, for instance. Nothing is hard and fast, though.

    An expander, on the other hand, expands the dynamic range. The lower end of the dynamic range is usually determined by what is called the "noise floor". The noise floor is where the signal to noise ratio gets to a point basically where the noise starts to interfere with the desired signal. The noise floor can be determined by tape noise, electrical hum, environmental noise, etc. An expander shuts the signal off when it drops below a certain threshold.

    Say you are recording a vocalist, and he sings this song, and gets very quiet at one point. That's fine, but when he pauses, you can hear an air conditioner outside in the background.

    You can get him to track it again, telling him to do the quiet part louder, so his voice is louder than the A/C by enough so you don't hear it. You can mute his voice when he isn't singing (this is really manual expansion). Or you can set an expander to shut the signal off when he isn't singing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by easychair
    An expander, on the other hand, expands the dynamic range. The lower end of the dynamic range is usually determined by what is called the "noise floor". The noise floor is where the signal to noise ratio gets to a point basically where the noise starts to interfere with the desired signal. The noise floor can be determined by tape noise, electrical hum, environmental noise, etc. An expander shuts the signal off when it drops below a certain threshold.

    Say you are recording a vocalist, and he sings this song, and gets very quiet at one point. That's fine, but when he pauses, you can hear an air conditioner outside in the background.

    You can get him to track it again, telling him to do the quiet part louder, so his voice is louder than the A/C by enough so you don't hear it. You can mute his voice when he isn't singing (this is really manual expansion). Or you can set an expander to shut the signal off when he isn't singing.
    Sorry to but in, Hi everyone,, Is the expander the same as the gate or the 2 names meen the same thing i always use the gate on my compressor for the same reason you wrote.. but the expanding part im not sure what it does...
    i"m a debutant...
    Maysee Buku Karlo

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    Quote Originally Posted by karlocheech
    Sorry to but in, Hi everyone,, Is the expander the same as the gate or the 2 names meen the same thing i always use the gate on my compressor for the same reason you wrote.. but the expanding part im not sure what it does...
    i"m a debutant...
    Maysee Buku Karlo
    Yes, thanks, I meant to mention that. They are basically the same. Just as compression and limiting are pretty much the same concept with different parameters, gating and expansion are the same.
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    Quote Originally Posted by easychair
    Yes, thanks, I meant to mention that. They are basically the same. Just as compression and limiting are pretty much the same concept with different parameters, gating and expansion are the same.
    Thanks easychair i will read more on expantion for the difference
    i have a yamaha that has exp/gate but never understood the exp part...
    Thanks again Karlo

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    Quote Originally Posted by easychair
    Dynamics are the difference between loud and soft. The dynamic range of an instrument or voice or song is the difference between the loudest and quietest parts.
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    You can get him to track it again, telling him to do the quiet part louder, so his voice is louder than the A/C by enough so you don't hear it. You can mute his voice when he isn't singing (this is really manual expansion). Or you can set an expander to shut the signal off when he isn't singing.
    *standing ovation too*
    whaoz.. dats one chunk of useful information haha thanks lots~! ..
    wad about the parameters for setting the dynamics? i guess that would have to be learnt from experience? or is there a general rule? i tried certain dynamics presets from my AW16-G but it doesnt seem to make a significant difference, well, at least to my ears they dont. Guess i;m using it wrongly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogman
    Are you talking about dynamics as they are labeled under a tab in editing software? I know Audition labels teh compressor they have as dynamics, and they have presets for regular types of compression, noise gating, expanding and limiting. And all these things do affect the volume of a track. Is this what you are asking?
    Ed

    hi dogman, i think so.. but i'm using AW16-G and not software, do they function the same? how many parameters are settable?

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