Compressors And Limiters Tips And Tricks
Compressors And Limiters Topics
Start off by inserting your favourite compressor on the channel you want to treat. At this stage your really only looking to level the peaks of your audio, the more transparent you can be here the better. This way you will achieve a better result when the volume is boosted in the limiting stage. Pay close attention to your attack and decay settings, these are crucial to allowing your sounds dynamics through.
Now strap a limiter across the channel directly after the compressor. As your sound should now have a nice uniform dynamic signature the limiter should not have to perform huge gain reduction before it starts to boost the volume of your audio. Even a reduction of 4-6db should yield impressive results here.
This technique is especially effective after a side chain compressor, performing intense ducking on a sound. A limiter placed directly after this sort of compression set up may reduce some of the intense gain reduction taking place but the sounds volume will be clawed back and wayward peaks reigned in. You will find that even with pretty hard limiting you still get the impression that the ducking is taking place, so the pumping feel remains even with the increase in volume. Often cascading compressors can impart even further boosts in loudness. For instance a compressor at the start of an effects chain to level out the dynamics can work well but once four or five other processors are added new unpredictable peaks can be added, a second compressor later in the chain can rectify this.
One of the most serious challenges when processing sounds with lots of heavy dynamics processing is retaining the sounds original character and punch. Often when applying intense compression, limiting or even saturation dynamics can be lost and although loud, your sounds can end up noisy and unrecognisable. Although this can work on occasion in a project you certainly wouldn’t want to go down this route with every sound you use.
When applying limiting and compression to most sounds the effects are pretty predictable, but insert a brick wall limiter it directly after a reverb plugin and you maybe in for some noisy results. The limiting will not only increased the perceived volume of the original sound and the contained reverb signal but also the decaying tail generated as well, so you may want to place reverbs and delays after such limiters.