[linux-audio-user] LADSPA hints

R Parker rtp405 at yahoo.com
Mon May 23 04:53:40 EDT 2005

--- Paul Winkler <pw_lists at slinkp.com> wrote:
> On Sun, May 22, 2005 at 10:34:30PM +0100, tim hall
> wrote:
> > I want to use SC4 to essentially 'flatten out' a
> vocal take. I know such 
> > approaches are generally frowned on around here, 
> are they?

To frown on compression as a mater of principle is an
act of ingnorance and laziness. Wow, waking up at 3:00
AM makes Ron a frightful boy. Fortunately I'm probably
only scaring myself so there's no need for confession.

> > but the take has a large 
> > dynamic range and it simply won't sit right in the
> mix any other way. I'm 
> > really not sure where to put the threshold and
> compression ration to achieve 
> > this kind of effect and I could do with some
> guidelines on attack, decay and 
> > knee settings. It's a pop song, and yes I really
> do want it to sound like 
> > that. any ideas?
> Sure, here's what I do. 
> Start with the compression ratio around 4-5 (that's
> plenty - it may
> be more than you need but that helps you dial in the
> other controls). 
> You won't actually hear any compression until you
> turn down the threshold 
> level, so do that now.  Gradually turn it it down
> until you start hearing 
> (and seeing on the meter) some gain reduction
> whenever the voice 
> is actually singing.  When you like the sound, add
> some makeup gain
> until the overall level is good.
> The default attack/release settings are maybe slow
> for vocals, so I turn
> them down a bit - attack to about 20, release to
> about 150.
> So far I have not needed to tweak the "knee"
> parameter.
> For my own stuff I don't tend to like really obvious
> compression except 
> as an occasional deliberate effect. So once I've got
> a sound I like, 
> I then tend to reduce the compression ratio
> gradually until I think it could
> maybe use a little more, and at that point I leave
> it alone :-)
> Maybe come back to it later and see if I still like
> it.

That's all sensible to me. And the reason we return
later is because at some point in the song the vocal
dynamics/volume reaches a level where it drowns out
another instrument that should be heard. Any of the
paramaters can be tweaked to correct the problem but
knowing why we use compression is the key to
understanding what to do.

Until we use compression as an effect or tone shaper
all we're doing is using it to control volume. One of
my forumulamatic uses is with close mic, low volume
vocals where the mic is your lover's ear. I like to
smack/compress the shit out of that stuff. If the
speaker is touching my ear the volume better not jump
up and hurt me or the mood will be gone and that song
will be sleeping on the couch.


> But if I'm trying to sound like pop radio, I might
> go the other
> way and set the compression ratio to something
> severe like 10:1.
> There's some good guidelines to be found all over
> the net...
> -- 
> Paul Winkler
> http://www.slinkp.com

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