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Exploring inserts: Using compression as a mix tool

From: Logic Pro 9 Essential Training

Video: Exploring inserts: Using compression as a mix tool

Compression is one of the toughest mixing tools to master. When done correctly, the result of good compression is that you don't notice it. Compression can help even out the loud passages of a recording and bring up the softer parts of it, resulting in audio that is better able to sit in the mix without getting lost or poking out too much. Let's see how we can use compressors in this mix. We have a Cycle Mode made for the verse going into the chorus. In the verse, the singer's words get a little lost. In the chorus, they're little too loud. Let's take a listen to that. (Music playing.) Okay, you heard in the verse, it was little lost and the level was down here in the track.

Exploring inserts: Using compression as a mix tool

Compression is one of the toughest mixing tools to master. When done correctly, the result of good compression is that you don't notice it. Compression can help even out the loud passages of a recording and bring up the softer parts of it, resulting in audio that is better able to sit in the mix without getting lost or poking out too much. Let's see how we can use compressors in this mix. We have a Cycle Mode made for the verse going into the chorus. In the verse, the singer's words get a little lost. In the chorus, they're little too loud. Let's take a listen to that. (Music playing.) Okay, you heard in the verse, it was little lost and the level was down here in the track.

In the chorus it jumped up here, he is maybe a little too loud. There is a lot of dynamic difference between the two parts. Let's insert a compressor as a plug-in to help fix that. We'll insert it after the Channel EQ. Compressors are under the Dynamics heading. There is our compressor, go and insert it. This is what the Compressor plug-in window looks like. Let's go over some common controls you'll see on most compressors. The Threshold, any sound that's louder than the threshold will be compressed or lowered in volume. Sound that just not reach the Threshold is left alone.

The Ratio controls how much sound will be lowered if it reaches the threshold. A ratio of 2:1 means every 2 dB will be lowered to one, or in half, once the sound reaches the Threshold. A ratio of 10:1 means audio will be 10 times lower if it crosses the Threshold. Then we have our Attack and Release controls. These are the two time-based parameters of a compressor, how fast the compressor turns down once the sound hits the Threshold and how quickly it comes back to normal state with the Release.

The Attack controls how fast the compressor will turn down once the sound reaches the Threshold and the Release controls how quickly it comes back to a normal state. These controls are really where you can craft the compressor to grab on to what you need to compress. Ask yourself is it grabbing the onset of the sound or is it a little bit after the initial attack of the sound that you want to lower? Then we have the Gain. The Gain is used to put back lost gain or volume after you've compressed the sound. Turning this up will make the sounds that were too quiet end up louder and since we compressed the loud sounds already, everything should, in theory, be more even, dynamically speaking.

I'd like to note that Logic a lot of times sets the Auto Gain to on by default. I like to leave this control off and make up the gain myself with the Gain slider. For vocals, I recommend a relatively low ratio. Let's try around 3:1, or 3.1:1 in this case. Attack and Release also should be somewhat low but not all the way down. The Threshold for this recording can be downed around -20 since the vocals weren't originally recorded too loud. Make sure Auto Gain is set to off and let's adjust the Gain to about 1 dB. Let's listen to this.

Let's see if it's working. It'll be subtle, but you'll able to see the gain reduction in the chorus in this area here. This tells us how much we're compressing. (Music playing.) As you can see, during the loud chorus, we were compressing about 4 dB.

That helped to even out the chorus between the verse. Let's try one more compression on the guitars. This one will be more obvious and the settings more drastic. We're going to compress this track, N_EGuit1. Let's insert the compressor on the track. Again, it's under Dynamics. Here we're going to use a Preset. In the Preset menu, we have one for guitar called Platinum Guitar Emphasis. I'm going to make a couple of adjustments to this as we play, but I'll also bypass it on and off so we can hear what it's doing. First of all, let's solo it.

(Music playing.) As you can tell, it's making the track a lot louder, but it's also taking the somewhat lackluster muddiness and giving it some sparkle. It's matching the quieter sounds of the guitar that were getting lost to the louder sounds of the guitar.

It sounds like good compression. Let's hear it in the mix. (Music playing.) When I first played it, it was a little too loud, but now I'm able to pull down the track volume and we can still hear the guitar better than the we would before. Compression is useful for this. It will help us adjust our track faders but still be able to hear the song. Compression is one of those tools that can take a lifetime to master and as long as you understand the basic mechanics of how they work, you can experiment.

Remember when you use these plug-ins not to get caught up in the graphics of them. Mix with your ears not your eyes.

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This video is part of

Image for Logic Pro 9 Essential Training
Logic Pro 9 Essential Training

74 video lessons · 28005 viewers

Scott Hirsch
Author

 
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  1. 1m 55s
    1. Welcome
      50s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 5s
  2. 17m 39s
    1. Installing the software
      3m 19s
    2. Launching Logic for the first time, using the templates
      5m 15s
    3. Understanding audio interfaces
      3m 35s
    4. Understanding MIDI interfaces
      5m 30s
  3. 32m 15s
    1. Getting to know the Arrange window
      5m 15s
    2. Using the many windows of Logic
      4m 13s
    3. Creating your own screensets
      2m 23s
    4. Using the Transport window and controlling playback
      4m 54s
    5. Using the Toolbox
      2m 37s
    6. Naming tracks and regions
      3m 27s
    7. Learning useful and custom key commands
      5m 18s
    8. Saving and going mobile with your project
      4m 8s
  4. 41m 41s
    1. Setting up for recording
      5m 43s
    2. Understanding Metronome settings or the click track
      4m 7s
    3. Understanding tempo
      4m 37s
    4. Recording live instruments and vocals using multitrack recording
      3m 56s
    5. Playing with guitar madness: Amp design
      5m 13s
    6. Playing with guitar madness: Pedal board
      4m 5s
    7. Working with takes recording and comping
      4m 51s
    8. Punching in to replace bad audio
      4m 51s
    9. Using Varispeed to create an old tape machine sound
      4m 18s
  5. 1h 8m
    1. Understanding MIDI
      4m 41s
    2. Using the Logic synth instruments
      7m 4s
    3. Working with the emulator instruments
      5m 23s
    4. Using the EXS24 sampler
      3m 7s
    5. Building tracks with Ultrabeat
      5m 31s
    6. Using channel strips to select a virtual sound
      5m 29s
    7. Understanding the basics of MIDI recording
      4m 38s
    8. Learning how to use MIDI with Cycle Record
      4m 9s
    9. Using Logic's step input
      4m 3s
    10. Mastering quantization
      6m 18s
    11. Working in the Piano Scroll window
      5m 33s
    12. Editing controller messages with Hyper View
      4m 8s
    13. Working with the Hyper Editor
      5m 29s
    14. Working with the Events List
      3m 20s
  6. 29m 49s
    1. Importing prerecorded audio into Logic
      4m 5s
    2. Exploring Apple Loops
      4m 40s
    3. Creating your own Apple Loop
      4m 21s
    4. Conforming tempo, region to session, or session to region
      3m 51s
    5. Using the new Flex Time feature
      5m 17s
    6. Beat mapping your project
      4m 41s
    7. Importing elements from project to project
      2m 54s
  7. 24m 15s
    1. Understanding the basic editing techniques in the Arrange window
      7m 5s
    2. Tips for editing and arranging
      3m 21s
    3. Editing and merging regions in the Arrange window
      3m 45s
    4. Mastering fades for audio region arranging
      4m 58s
    5. Fixing and morphing sound with the Sample Editor
      5m 6s
  8. 11m 12s
    1. Working with notes and composing in the Score Editor
      4m 26s
    2. Editing notes, keys, and time signatures
      3m 35s
    3. Creating scores and lead sheets for musicians
      3m 11s
  9. 9m 8s
    1. Setting up for a sync video project
      4m 50s
    2. Scoring music to video
      4m 18s
  10. 56m 32s
    1. Mixing philosophies and five tools for mixing
      3m 37s
    2. Setting up for a mix
      5m 11s
    3. Directing audio traffic with fader levels
      5m 7s
    4. Exploring Logic's panning features
      4m 37s
    5. Exploring inserts: Using EQ as a mix tool
      6m 51s
    6. Exploring inserts: Using compression as a mix tool
      5m 38s
    7. Using advanced signal flow with aux and send tracks
      3m 12s
    8. Using advanced signal flow with time-based FX to create space in your mix
      3m 44s
    9. Using automation to create dynamic mixes
      6m 22s
    10. Giving your mix life with automation
      2m 45s
    11. Optimizing performance with freeze tracks
      4m 42s
    12. Using channel strips for audio processing
      4m 46s
  11. 16m 7s
    1. Understanding surround hardware requirements
      4m 5s
    2. Building surround mixing workflows
      6m 17s
    3. Using the surround panner
      5m 45s
  12. 15m 48s
    1. Bouncing down your song
      5m 31s
    2. Understanding why alt mixes are a good idea
      2m 22s
    3. Exploring Logic's export options
      3m 37s
    4. Mastering your own Logic project
      4m 18s
  13. 37s
    1. Goodbye
      37s

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