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MD Compressor:

Using the Compressor:

With short release times the compression just lets go sooner after the sound to be noticed (not unlike the release in the reverb). The longer the time, the more noticeable the effect after the sound). The compression is right there, but the effect does not carry to the empty spaces.

What you’re trying to achieve with your compressor is increasing the “volume” of your mix without increasing the output levels. What you want to do is add body to your mid-ranges and tighten your bass while bringing down your highs into the mix (I hope this is making some kind of sense, so far). As compression will affect everything in the mix, many recommend applying compression first and later applying eq (where you will bring back some of those highs lost in compression).

On a related note, I recently took my Machinedrum to a studio to help a friend do some tracks. He’s been a sound engineer for years now and commented on how the Machinedrum’s compressor felt weird (not bad, just different). I’ve also felt this sometimes, while trying to compress minimal techno tracks and trying to achieve a sort of warehouse feel. If this is what you’re trying to achieve yourself, then also let the reverb be big in the mix (with a lot of low freq, and little hi freq. so that it gets “lost” after you compress it).

It took me a while before I got to grips with the compressor. This is what I did:
1. Put a handclap with looooooong decay on beat 2 and 4. Quite low volume, I’d say about 40/127.
2. Kick drums on beat 1,2,3 and 4. Max volume.
3. Go to the compressor, lowest possible value for triggering compression, maximum compression ratio.
4. Minimum attack time, maximum decay time.

Start the pattern, lower the decay time until you hear the compressor start pumping. Play around with the rest of the controls for the compressor. This made me understand a bit more of how the compressor in the Machinedrum works.

To be totally correct, I think the Machinedrum does not have a multi-band compressor, so it is always the whole spectrum that is compressed.. But the side-chain let you filter the signal that will be used to decide the amount of compression to be applied. So if you use only hf, the compressor will not react to the bassdrum and over-compress your track.

PSEUDO sidechaining on MD:

Ok, so you can’t do an ACTUAL sidechain INSIDE the MD.

But, you can get close TO THE SOUND of it

1. go to the DYN area in the MASTER FX

2. set the ATCK around 9 o’clock.
we want to have a fast attack, fast to the left - slow to the right.

3. set the REL somewhere close to 1 or 2 o’clock.
we want a quick release of the compressor, fast to the left - slow to the right.

4. set the TRHD somewhere around 11 o’clock, maybe more on the 1 o’clock side. we want a moderate threshold, low threshold to the left - high to the right.

5. set the RTIO to around 3 o’clock
we want a good-sized ratio rate the compressor works on.
1:1 ratio - all the way left, 1:256 ratio all the way left.
usually you want somewhere in a 4-16:1 ratio on your compressor to have a drastic effect (one you can distinctly hear).

6. set the KNEE all the way left.
we want a hard knee, hard to the left - soft to the right

7. set the HP around 7 or 8 o’clock.
we want to let some, but not all of the high frequencies through no high pass all the way left, all high pass all the way right.

8. ok, compare compressed sound with non-compressed sound. you can do this from here by using the MIX setting.
uncompressed - all the way right compressed - all the way left

9. based on what you hear, raise the OUTG to give you a relative volume match when compressed to when it’s uncompressed.

That’s this isn’t a true sidechain. That would have to allow for a specific signal to effect the compressor. Instead, we’re setting the compressor to react to low and loud sounds first and fast!

With these settings you’ll probably notice the bass drop a little, but that’s because it’s working. We want to have the kick hit - but not drown out the other frequencies.

This is what sidechaining is supposed to do. In the case of deadmau5, eric prydz, etc...they’ve exaggerated the effect and you get the pronounced ducking sound.

this only works well when not having any bassline running on the MD, especially between the kicks, that would destroy the effect and result in a muddy sound...

for the rest, im also doing it this way, but one should play with the settings, the effect depends on the kit and how the sequence is composed. sometimes its very nice to have some hihats with long decay (i like the efm-cc for that) and then kick in the bassdrum!

regarding distortion when compressing low freq sounds, in my experience that’s pretty normal when you use attack/release times shorter than the actual wavelenght of the sound itself. It’s not just the MD... As a rule of thumb, always use longer values when compressing bass drums and bass sounds.

How I do it, sidechaining with the MD is to use the LFO of the kick to affect the VOL of the element I want to sidechain, which is usually the bass. But this can also be done using other sounds, like the hihats influencing a shaker line for example, also try having it affect the filter. Sidechaining really is about setting up an fx chain, where one sound will trigger a compressor, a filter or a gate of another element of the track.

I haven’t tried what you propose yet, so I’m not sure as to how it does actually sound. But from my experience I wouldn’t do it in such a way as it’d more muddy up the low-end than anything else...
\ — tIB 2009/01/12 18:53

compressor.txt (891 views) · Last modified: 2010/01/18 03:40 by tIB

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