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Skill Level Intermediate
- [Instructor] Now I mentioned previously that FET compressors work really great on vocals and things that need a fast attack, but also have a really nice character to them. And they work really nicely on vocals, and I also really love them on guitars. So let's take a look at these acoustic guitars we have here that come in toward the end of the tune. (guitar playing) All right, so nicely recorded. I've got some really simple EEQ in there just getting rid of some muddiness and things like that. I'm going to get rid of the double for now, and I'm just going to send our main acoustic guitar, straight down the middle. (guitar playing) Okay, and maybe I want this thing to pop a little bit more and I want the attack of the acoustic guitar, almost like a percussion instrument. This is coming in in a really big section. We can't clutter it too much, although we do want that energy. Let's listen to this section [Upbeat music] So there is a whole lot going on. And what I love about these acoustic guitars is that they add some texture on the top. And so let's go ahead and grab a UAD classic 1176 Emulation and take a look. (guitar playing) So what we're going to do is we're going to go to an eight to one ratio, 'cause I want to get some character out of this. What we're going to try to do is not upset the overall, the scraping this of it. And I don't mean that in a bad way, I'm a guitar player, but I'm being, what I want is the percussive aspect of that acoustic guitar, 'cause it's really going to help carry us through that final chorus. Remember, you've always got to be thinking about what you're trying to do with your compressors. So let's push it and see what it sounds like. I'm going to give it a really quick release. And remember with the 1176 is at least the emulations that are true to the hardware. The higher number is quicker. (guitar playing) So I'm going to keep the attack a little bit slow and I'm just going to be pushing input. (guitar playing) Ah, you can hear us I pulled that release back, we're losing a little bit of that attack. So I'm going to find a nice place in the middle and let's listen to where we wind up. (guitar playing) And here's without. (guitar playing) And we can always gain match. (guitar playing) Without. (guitar playing) Uh, we've actually got a quieter with the compressor. So that's an unfair matchup. Let's listen to it with. (guitar playing) And without. (guitar playing) Oh yeah, a little meats being added on there. Now keep in mind with most FET compressors, we don't have a threshold we can move. It's a fixed threshold compressor, which means the input level over here is actually your thrust into the fixed threshold, okay? So think of it like a wood chipper, you're pushing it into the wood chipper, the wood chipper doesn't come to you, right? So the input is your thrust and it controls not only your volume, but your level of compression. So as you really push the input, you start to get more of that character and you can control your overall gain staging with the output there, think of this as a more transparent kind of thing. Although you will get color, if you really push it. (guitar playing) Yeah, we've really got a lot more body from that acoustic guitar right off the bat. Let's take a listen to the mix. (upbeat music) And this is going to be even better. Let's pan it out and I'm going to just take the same plugins since I happen to know that these were recorded at the same time, in the same way and just about. Let's pan these out and see what they sound like. (guitar playing) Okay that's cool. I got a little automation on here that I'm going to get rid of just for this particular balance. (guitar playing) The other thing that's cool about using compression in this particular instance, is the fact that we're going to get a nice balance between these two acoustic guitars that are off on the wings. (upbeat music) Okay, so that's really cool. These electric guitars are getting to me a little bit though. Let's take a listen. (upbeat music) All right so there's a lot of stuff going on there. I want a little bit more control with this because I kind of want to smash these down so that they can kind of stay in a place where they just lift the production but they don't steal too much attention, 'cause that's sort of what they're doing right now. So I can turn them down, but also I think using an 1176 style compressor, could work really well. Oh, and let me let me go ahead and grab the stereo version. That'll help, let's listen. Let's, let's push it. (guitar playing) Now one of the cool things that you can do with an 1176 is you can actually do an all buttons in thing, which is a feature that the classic hardware had, which is kind of a nuke setting. It's like a really heavy compression (guitar playing) Wow, a lot of presence there. Let's just ease up on the output and let's see what she sounds like. (upbeat music) Wow, that's working really well. It's keeping it really in control and giving it that movement that the song needs, but it's not jumping out and competing quite as much now. And I love the way that sounds. These guitars in particular aren't things that we need a lot of transient material from, and that's, what's really fun about using heavy compression in certain instances is that you can kind of be getting your excitement your transients, your rhythm and things like that from other elements. And then kind of push things in there that give you like this nice cushy sort of foundation or like some sort of air mattress for the song to sit on or for the part to sit on. That's a lot of fun to play with. So FET compressors are a lot of fun for guitars. Play with ratios, play with inputs and outputs. Just remember that character is really going to start to come out the more you push it.