Join Matt Piper for an in-depth discussion in this video Using compression and gates, part of Learning Reason 8.
- Alright, now let's work a little bit with compression. I'm not going to put a whole lot of compression on this mix right now, and right off the bat I'm not going to use compression as an effect. I would just like to use compression in order to control peaks. So here's the dynamics section, and I want to look at the kick and snare. First, the kick.
I'm going to turn my threshold control down. And so I just now see a little bit of gain reduction lights lighting up as the drummer starts to play just a little louder. I think that his consistency is good, and I just want to reduce the gain a little bit if he has a few kicks that really jump out, and the ratio setting by default is four to one, so that is sort of substantial, but still not over-the-top crazy compression going on there.
So that's fine and I want to look at the snare as well. And I recall that later in the song, the drums sort of pick up, so I want to just go a little later in the song, maybe a bit too late.
So again, I just saw a few hits that jumped and lit a little bit of gain reduction, and that's all I really want right now. I'm doing really light compression on the kick and snare because I'm planning to add some compression to the overall drum bus a little later. Let's listen to the kick, I'm going to solo that. Go back to the beginning. Okay, I can hear a fair amount of snare coming through the kick and sometimes that's okay, but if I want to try to just focus on the strongest signal present, I can use a gate for that.
So I'm going to turn the gate on. And turn up the threshold that's required to open the gate. So you can see the gate closing in between kicks, but I also see it opening when the snare hits, which is not what I want. This is the kick drum track, I'd like to only hear the kick drum, if possible.
So I'm going to use the low pass filter, and turn it all the way down, which drastically affects our tone, but that's not the way it's going to stay because I'm going to activate filters to dynamic side chain. And now, that very low frequency, with only the low frequencies present signal from that filter is now going to the gate. So we're getting less snare triggers and mostly only kick triggers.
And I want to make sure that we still have a little bit of resonance after the initial attack, so I'm going to turn the release up, and I also want to make sure that we don't lose any attack, so I'm going to turn on the fast response. Even turn up the hold a little bit.
Okay. And let's hear that again in context. Okay, so we boosted the low frequencies on our kick quite a bit when we were doing the EQ work earlier in the course, and the bass guitar also has quite a lot of low lows, and quite often you'd make a choice between kick and bass.
One or the other of those will carry the really low frequencies, but in this case, both instruments have some very low frequencies, so I'd like to use side chain compression to sort of punch a hole in the bass guitar every time the kick drum is played. So I'm going to create a parallel channel for the kick drum, and we're not going to hear this channel. I want to make sure that I have plenty of signal level to feed to the bass compressor, so I am cranking this gain, and I think we'll be okay there.
And so that we don't hear that, and it actually goes where it's supposed to go, I'm going to go to the rack view and press tab to flip the rack around. And here's the parallel channel that I created for the kick. So, in order to keep this signal from going to the master output or to the drum bus, rather, I'm going to connect the direct outs, which will break that signal chain. So let me unfold the bass, and I'll connect the direct out of the parallel kick channel to the side chain input that's of the dynamic section, so that will now trigger the compressor or the gate or both if I use them on the bass.
F5 to go to the mixer. And one last thing that I want to do on this parallel kick channel so that again, I'm not triggering the compressor on the bass with any snare hits, I'm going to set this low-pass filter to filter out everything but the lowest frequencies possible. And now we'll go to the dynamics section on the bass and turn the compressor on, and I'm actually going to crank up the ratio here pretty high and turn down the threshold.
And the release time is how much time for the compressor to let go after it's been activated on a note and allow the signal to return to its original signal level, and I want to punch a really tight little hole just on the attacks of the kick drum, so I'm going to turn that release down as far as I can. And this little key button is lit up to let me know that the side chain input has been connected. And let's look at what happens here.
So you see how the gain reduction lights are lighting every time the kick drum hits. And it actually is, very quickly, basically turning down the volume, attenuating the signal level on the bass every time the kick hits, but you don't notice because they're sort of complimentary frequency ranges, and so it kind of glues the kick and the bass together, in this case. The last thing I want to do with compression here is actually apply some compression and distortion to the entire drum bus.
So I'm going to show my inserts here, and click "Edit inserts" on the drum bus. And I'm going to look in my browser here, and go to "Effects" and bring in a pulverizer. Before I do that, let's go back to the beginning and listen to what that's about to do. And I'll solo the drum bus.
Okay, that's a very crazy and extreme effect and we're going to dial it back a little bit, but let me show you what's going on here. We have squash, which is some very extreme and colorful compression, dirt is a bit of distortion. I'm going to turn this filter off, because the cymbals are going through here and I don't want to lose any of my sizzle and I'm going to turn this tone all the way up to 100 percent as well and hear what that sounds like.
Okay, it's still pretty crazy, but the nice thing about this effect is that it's basically got parallel processing built in. So right now, it's all the way wet, but I'm going to dial that back a bit. Okay, now let's hear what it sounds like. We'll A B between using it and not using it.
So I really like the way this kind of glues all the drums together and makes them sound nice and big. The pulverizer is a real quick way to do that, and we can hear that in context now, I'll unsolo this. And I'll bring down the drum bus level just a little bit.
Now that we've got our compression straight for the moment, we can move on to adding some effects to this mix.
- Installing the Rack Extensions
- Setting up Reason's preferences
- Recording audio and software instrument tracks
- Creating drumbeats with Redrum and the Kong Drum Designer
- Customizing REX loops
- Live sampling
- Recording automation
- Quantizing audio
- Pitch correcting vocals
- Time stretching and time compressing audio
- Mixing your tracks with compression, EQ, and effects
- Mastering a recording in Reason