Compression

Compression is the process of reducing the dynamic range between the loudest and quietest parts of an audio signal. This is done by boosting the quieter signals and attenuating the louder signals.

Compression is mainly used on vocals, however can and should be used across the board of mixes, to ensure full control of the final mix.
Compression should be enough to control the mix, and whenever using the effect it should not be obtrusive – this is all how your own ears perceive the sounds however.

Parameters of Compression:

Threshold – How loud the signal is before compression is applied.

Ratio – How much compression is applied. For example, if the compression ratio is set for 6:1, the input signal will have to cross the threshold by 6 dB for the output level to increase by 1dB.

Attack – how quickly the compressor starts to work.

Release – how quickly after the signal drops below the threshold the compressor stops.

Knee – sets how the compressor reacts to signals once the threshold is passed. Hard Knee settings mean it clamps the signal straight away, and Soft Knee means the compression kicks in more gently as the signal goes further past the threshold.

Make-Up Gain – allows you to boost the compressed signal, as compression often reduces the signal significantly.

Output – allows you to boost or decrease the level of the signal output from the compressor.

Other Types of Compression:

Side-Chain Compression – Compressor uses the input signal to determine how strongly the compressor will reduce the gain on it’s output. Can be used by DJs for Ducking (E.G. Lowering the volume quickly for when they talk!)

Multi-band Compression – Compressor that allows you to change the frequency bands, ensuring you can change the compression levels of certain frequency bands rather than the full bandwidth. Multi-band compression is good for mastering.

Equalisation

EQ is an abbreviation for Equalisation. It’s main purpose is to manipulate tone and we have all used it at some point – even without realising. EQ is found on our iPods, in a Car Stereo and in a guitar amplifier – for example; and it is likely that we’ve all had a basic grasp of what EQ does and how to use it.
However, when it comes to applying EQ to add definition and clarity to an individual track of a multi-track recording, it’s a completely different matter. In order to achieve this, you will need a working knowledge of EQ theory.

What does EQ do?:

  • EQ essentially allows you to increase or lower the volume of selected frequencies within the audio spectrum of a sound.
  • The use of EQ is quite subjective and each person will have different views and different ways of using them. However, EQ remains highly used by many in popular music.
  • It adds clarity or crispness to tones/signals
  • Creates particular ‘sonic effects’.

It’s great to recognise what EQ does, however it is very sensitive and can easily mess up a recording rather than enhance.

Sound Inspiration, Sound Designs

Longwood Gardens: Behind-the-Plants

Historically, the students in Longwood’s Professional Gardener Program were given plots to design and maintain at their residences, so that they could be responsible for every aspect of garden design–from concept to implementation. But since last summer, the students have been creating new, unique gardens, named the Student Exhibition Gardens, for Longwood’s visitors to enjoy.

Design Sketch for the 2011 Student Exhibition Gardens

In conjunction with Longwood’s exhibit this year, Notes from the Forest (open through October 16, 2011), we were given the exciting and challenging task of creating 4 distinctly different garden spaces that incorporated the theme of sound.

Our creative process began to take shape last summer under the direction of instructor, landscape designer, and former Professional Gardener student, Dan Maffei. We were given the tools to begin the process. As with any new design concept, we met with our client, which in this case was Longwood Gardens. This valuable opportunity allowed the client to express…

View original post 958 more words

The Blue Notes of Sampling

Sounding Out!

Sound and Tech This is article 2.0  in  Sounding Out! ‘s April  Forum on “Sound and Technology.” Every Monday this month, you’ll be hearing new insights on this age-old pairing from the likes of  Sounding Out!  veterano  Aaron Trammell  along with new voices  Andrew Salvati  and  Owen Marshall .  These fast-forward folks will share their thinking about everything from Auto-tune to techie manifestos. So, turn on your quantizing for  Sounding Out!  and enjoy today’s supersonic in-depth look at sampling from from  SO!  Regular Writer  Primus Luta .  – JS, Editor-in-Chief

My favorite sample-based composition? No question about it: “Stroke of Death” by Ghostface and produced by The RZA.

.

Supposedly the story goes, RZA was playing records in the studio when he put on the Harlem Underground Band’s album. It is a go-to album in a sample-based composer collection, because of the open drum breaks. One such break appears in the cover of Bill…

View original post 2,170 more words