Compression Settings for Vocals

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Cone Poker
Member Since: Apr 07, 2002

Alright, It's time to lay down some vocals but I'm having trouble getting a good compression going. I've tried everything and either the signal is too compressed and weak going into the soundcard or it's too hot and is distorting... so I'm asking if anyone has some good Compression Settings for Male Vocals. I can always compress once it's in but I need a starting point to compress before it hits the computer.

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Bohemian
Member
Since: May 04, 2003


Jan 28, 2004 10:03 am

My settings are:
GATE -28
Treshold -17
Ratio 4:1
attack and release on Auto
output +7
Peak Limiter 0

mayb not the best ones But it works for me


Member
Since: Apr 19, 2002


Jan 28, 2004 10:19 am

For compressing before the A/D conversion, I use a light touch of compression.
1.5:1 or 2:1 ratio, fast attack (about 5ms) and medium or automatic release.
Usually, 3 to 6 db's of gain reduction with this settings you don't make the vocals seem squashed.
And I turn on the limiter too for those sudden peaks.




a.k.a. Porp & Mr. Muffins
Member
Since: Oct 09, 2002


Jan 28, 2004 10:48 am

Well, it sounds to me like the signal going to the compressor is too hot (turn down the preamp) or the soundcard (and/or compressor) isn't running at the right level (-10, +4). Try out some different stuff to get it right.

I go 2:1 - 3:1 on the ratio and have the threshold so it's compressing the vocals most of the time, but not ALL of the time.

Cone Poker
Member
Since: Apr 07, 2002


Jan 28, 2004 02:00 pm

yeah I was thinking last night after I posted that I may be running the signal too hot, so I'll try messing with the gain on the pre amp later

Cone Poker
Member
Since: Apr 07, 2002


Jan 28, 2004 02:52 pm

What do you mean by Gain Reduction? Also my compressor doesn't have an automatic setting for the release so what would be "medium". It has a knob entitled Exp. Gate which I'm assuming is a limiter/gating function but I'm not quite sure. Any help?

Member
Since: Jun 20, 2003


Jan 28, 2004 03:10 pm

Hey Loki, Porp, Sonico, presley,
I'm real interested in this one too. I've been running my vocals Rode NT1A -> ART TPS (on Vocal Optical limiter setting) -> Behringer Composer MDX-2600 Compressor -> mixer -> sound card. I get some compression from the ART TPS. I was wondering if the prevailing opinion was to use or not to use the additional compression (eg the Behringer). My tendency is to want to use the Berry (in addition to the ART), because I fgure the the ART compression threshold is relatively high, so only the highest peaks get compressed.

Questions:
1. How do I know if & how much the ART is limiting?

2. I have also been using the 'Dynamic Enhancer' on the Berry. This is basically high pass filter that boosts at a maximum of 28 dB @ 7.5 khz. I have not yet decided if I like the way the 'enhancer' effects the sound. Seems like I'm getting a little over-emphasis of the highs when I use it. Anybody using this compressor, and if so do you use the enhancer?

Cone Poker
Member
Since: Apr 07, 2002


Jan 28, 2004 03:37 pm

bob, sorry man I can't help ya, I don't use either of the peices of gear you mentioned...

Contributor
Since: Sep 09, 2002


Jan 28, 2004 07:22 pm

Loki, Exp/Gate will be the expander/gate function. It's like the opposite of a compressor/limiter. Where a compressor reduced dynamics by cutting the loud parts, an expander increases dynamics by cutting the quiet parts. The extreme of a compressor is a limiter while the extreme of an expander is a noise gate.

as for sending a good strong signal without it being *too* hot, this is easy if you use your peak meters (either on the mixer, or on the Delta 44) as a guide. Start by "check check check"ing into the mic while the signal is bypassing the compressor. Make sure all other points (mixer main volume, delta 44 input volume, etc) are at unity gain as you bring up the mic preamp trim until your "checks" are almost hitting zero. Now you know your mic pre is at a nice good gain ;O)

next of course route the signal thru the compressor and go from there, If anyone disagrees with this technique please reply cause this is how i've been doing it.

Member
Since: Apr 19, 2002


Jan 29, 2004 11:07 am

Loki: Gain reduction is the lost of gain (volume) due to the compression of the peaks in a signal. If the peaks are reduced by, say 6db's, then you have to compensate by increasing the gain about 6 db's and now your signal is going to be stronger.
A medium to fast release is about 100 ms.

Bob: My setup is similar to yours, I go from an AT3035 condenser mic, to my ART TPS, to an Autocom 1600 compressor to the soundcard. I sugest not going to the mixer (after that), the shorter the path, the cleanest the signal.
I personally don't use the OPL on the ART, because the Autocom has compression + limiter and don't use the enhacer either (like to leave that kind of processing to the mixing stage). Just a little of the expander section (to reduce ambient noise), compression, deessing, and limiter.


a.k.a. Porp & Mr. Muffins
Member
Since: Oct 09, 2002


Jan 29, 2004 03:07 pm

Bob- I also have a TPS. The OPL capability really is only a limiter which prevents the preamp from overloading (look at the VU meters-- it should be keeping the needle from going into the red). So, yes, another compressor would be desirable for vocals, especially. However, I've taken to compressing only vocals on the way in and recording everything else pure (except I use ART's OPL settings on drums). I do all the rest of my compression with plug-ins like the Sonitus Compressor (comes with Sonar 3) and the free Blockfish compressor from DigitalFishPhones.com This allows for more mixing options later on.

Member
Since: Jun 20, 2003


Jan 29, 2004 10:30 pm

Hey thanks alot sonico, porp -- Yes I'll have to play with gain on the ART & see how far up the VU meters go before stopping. BTW those vu meters on the ART sure are sluggish. makes it a little tricky to set the input gain. I am convinced it's a good thing to to get some healthy drive levels (gain) in the ART, because I've noticed that warms the sound up nicely.

So porp, do you use the enhancer on your behringer 2600 compressor? from the manual it sounds sort of like a poor man's multi-band compression.

Member
Since: Apr 19, 2002


Jan 30, 2004 10:12 am

ART's meters are VU, not peak meters that's why is a little trickier to set the levels .
I set the output on the ART at 0db and increase the input knob until the signal reads about -6 to -3 db's on my Behringer's Input (Peak) meters.
Then compress and then make up the gain by the same amount of the gain reduction.

a.k.a. Porp & Mr. Muffins
Member
Since: Oct 09, 2002


Jan 30, 2004 10:43 am

I actually have a Behringer Composer Pro compressor-- which has a peak limiter rather than an enhancer. However, I would kind of stay away from the enhancer for recording. It probably brightens up the sound a bit-- which can be good, but is often not desirable on everything. I would do any excitation either at the preamp or in the computer, personally.

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