This is the second installment of my series on the transformation of the drum tracks. Our focus here is on the compression. I tend to use compression for two different reasons – The color of a signal or to control its dynamic range. The hardware is preferred, but the software can get there too. Do not go into great lengths about how to use a compressor, but will address some of the desired approaches. In addition, four different types of compressors: Vari-mu (Delta-Mu), VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier), FET (field effect transformer) and electro-optical (opto). For drums I recommend staying with FET or VAC based on the designs, although you can get anything to work if you try hard enough.
First, let's talk color. For the alteration of an attack compressor and controls the release, you can change the amount of sustain, attack and drill a tennis exhibition. For example, by compressing a shot (drum) theme, you can control how much beater "click" you hear the body to the amount "and the beat is heard. For more "snap" with a kick, just slow down the attack to allow more of the initial transient through. Want more "shell" or "flower"? Upload stop the attack and release. Now click the original is captured and tamed, while the tone of the shell is raised.
Think of it as a way to approach equalization signal without resorting to the use of an equalizer. Basically, you're manipulating the attack and keep track to produce more power and punch or round transients a softer sound softer. Stylistically, Modern Rock Tracks seem to be asking lots of compression, while the Jazz and Folk tracks prefer be a virgin. Ratio and threshold are also definitely important, but for me the key to proper understanding is all in the handling of attack and release. If you are using a LA2A, forget what I write and perform.
Okay, so the other reason is the compression used is simply to reduce the dynamic range of a signal. For example, if you have a loop track that has a variable intensity in amplitude (ie, the drummer played some hits more than others) and you want a level more in line or placing on the track, you can slap a compressor on it to keep the output constant. You can also put a limiter on the track to avoid overload peaks in red () and retaining most of the original dynamics. Compress or limit microphone head is a common practice and may only a touch of compression here and there, can help reign in hits rebel.
If you are looking to make a more honest and natural drum track, then advice slight compression ratio low thresholds and lower the prescription of choice. Also, if you decide to strap a compressor through the drum bus, I prefer to keep the compressor in dual mono instead of stereo pair compressor. Listen for yourself and do what you want, but cute seems more interesting dual nature – allowing the drums to sort of jump from the speakers in full and accidents. Remember, experimentation is the key. Fun and be sure to read my article in this series dealing with synchronization, parallel compression, EQ and other items.
Thai Long Ly is a professional recording engineer, mixer, and bass player based in Los Angeles. Ly and session drummer Shay Godwin provide master quality, custom drum tracks online at eDrumSessions.com.
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