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Thread: Drum Recording ... To Compress or not to Compress...that is the question

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    I bought a couple of ALESIS 3630's because I needed the gates for drum separation, and I figured what the hey, @ $120.00 a pop, I'll eventually learn to use the compressors properly and maybe it'll turn into a good investment.
    So now I find myself with an "overly dynamic" (to put it nicely) drummer, and I'd like to smooth out the performance some.

    1) Do I compress the tracks as they go to tape or later?
    I'm gating now, so I should compress now, right?
    2) As I experement , I notice a "Woosh" sound on the
    kick track when Im mucking around with the
    compression. ?!?!?!?

    So as it becomes more and more evident that I don't know what the hell I'm doing, any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Ron

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    Well....

    ...3630 will NEVER turn into a good investment. Period.... they are pretty crappy.... that woooosh sound describes the typical sound artifacts that the 3630 is known for (and it isn't good!)

    As for compression use, check out https://homerecording.com/dynamics.html

    Shailat also has a good article, but the link I have for it doesn't work now, so it may have moved...

    Bruce

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    Assuming your drummer is intentionally dynamic Let me plead on his behalf to go easy on the compression. Good drumming is all about accenting. Accents are only heard as accents when theres what to contrast the accents with. I am a drummer and I use very little compression on drum tracks and though the result is a bit more of a live feel in contrast to the hypercompression currently employed in just about every studio in the western hemisphere, it is more interesting to listen to. I should say that Im not a fan of live feel when it comes to other instruments and at times tend toward overproduction but drums seriously need more dynamic room than the current "standard" (if there is one) allows.

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    Bruce, I was under the (possibly mistaken) impression that the 3630 was among the more popular units available.
    I take it the noise I'm getting is unavoidable with the 3630. I thought I was just screwing something up.
    I've read all the articles I can find on useing compression and (more importantly?) not useing it, and they all say to experement with it till you find something that works.
    I have also found web pages that offer some possible compressor settings as a starting point, but they all seem to contradict each other. ARRGHHH!!!

    As for my poor drummer, I don't so much think its his fault I decided to try using the compression to begin with, as MOST of his playing is pretty smooth. I may just need to invest in better mics and putz around with their placement a bit more. (thereby eliminateing the need for compression at all !)

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    Yup... that's the link I had too, but it no longer works... GeoCities throws up a "page no longer works" message...

    Bruce

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    The link does work.

    Or try
    www.geocities.com/shailat2000/index.html

    But that wont answer his question there

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    what are your compression settings? how much gain on the pre-amp?

    how drastically are you trying to compress the drummer, and where is your threshold set? the 3630 will not save the world, but i've used comparably crude gear and gotten over.

    remember that the point when recording is not necessarily to limit the drummers dynamics as much as it is to keep the drummer from red lining while at the same time making sure you get a 'hot' enough signal to tape... you did say you are recording to tape, but you didn't say whether it was analog or digital, which adds to the discussion greatly.

    if you compress just enough to keep the drummer from clipping during recording, you can always compress more during mixdown to squash his dynamic range. i've heard that some people (i've never done this) only limit during tracking and save the compression for mixdown. of course, this means that your gain can't be up too high, because limiting is the ultimate compression. what i've also seen (this i've done, but in a larger studio not mine) is having a compressor with a limiter behind it. the compression is gentle in hopes that the limiter never engages, but the limiter will save you from a bad take.

    ps.
    JuSumPilgrim, if you think i'm going to let your dynamic drums out-shine my incredible guitar solo, man you are smoking the wackiest of weeds! ... this is known as the moment the band had artistic differences.

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    Originally posted by Shailat
    The link does work.

    Or try
    www.geocities.com/shailat2000/index.html

    But that wont answer his question there
    Shailat, then there's a problem with geocities... when I click on the link, I get redirected to this page http://us.geo1.yimg.com/us.geocities...ygNSLib9.js?v2

    Bruce

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    Exclamation

    Shailat's link works for me...

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    3630's

    ahh, they're not THAT bad! sure there not the ideal choice, but when ive had to produce in other studios, ive managed to make great mixes using some 3630's in the rack. :-) a miracle maybe, but it sounded good! became a single too!
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