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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    96

    Default OT: Comp/EQ or EQ/Comp

    Hey All -

    So to start this debate . . . I'm working on another tune for my new CD. I thought I'd shake it up a little, you know, maybe break out of some old habits.Always trying to learn something new. Anyway, as the title of the post suggests, I'm working in the Comp/EQ world on certain single tracks. Particularly on an upright bass track. I started with the Levelizer plugged in the PRE Fader followed by a UAD Pultec plug for some EQ beefing. As the track was playing back, I started switching the order of the plugins. Not a lot of difference but then again . . . I'm starting to burn out on the mix.

    Question . . . does anyone have a preference as to this plugin order and why?

    Gary Edelburg
    Electric Shadow Productions

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    The Boonies in Va.
    Posts
    194

    Default Re: OT: Comp/EQ or EQ/Comp

    Hey Gary

    I use to do the eq/comp now I usually do the comp/eq. I notice some of the high sparkle is gone when I would use the eq/comp config. I know what you mean about burnout , you start to lose some perception after listening too long.

  3. Default Re: OT: Comp/EQ or EQ/Comp

    Hey Gary,

    It certainly depends on the content. The last time I recorded upright, there was a lot of resonance around 100 Hz, so it made sense to cut that freq by a few dB before compressing so the compressor wouldn't have to work as hard; I was going for the most natural sound possible (i.e., no noticeable pumping). Extreme EQ imbalances in your input signal will make compression artifacts more apparent, so it depends what you're going for. If your input signal is already pretty balanced, the order wouldn't matter as much.

    Of course, there's always multi-band compression; it can be quite useful on spectrally imbalanced material... you'll get lots of different opinions on that, but it's worth a try -- if you like how it sounds, do it.

    Jay
    Planet Earth is an incredible gift. It's our one and only home, yet we're slowly killing it and, in the process, killing ourselves. Think about the world you want your children to live in. Please think "preservation", not "plunder".

  4. #4

    Default Re: OT: Comp/EQ or EQ/Comp

    Don't be afraid to try an EQ before and after the comp, to do different things on each side. The first could be for general shaping and the second could be to add "air" for example. That's the theory, anyway.

    And always use your ears over your brain.
    Dave "it aint the heat, it's the humidity" Labrecque
    Becket, Massachusetts

  5. #5

    Default Re: OT: Comp/EQ or EQ/Comp

    The proper order for comp/EQ depends on what you are after. The final arbiter is ALWAYS what sounds best within the context of the full mix (sometimes the "best sound" you get with a soloed track is not what works best in the full mix).

    That said, remeber that a compressor acts most on the part of the signal that IT "thinks" is strongest. If the attack time is set very short, this will be the actual peak level. With longer attack times, the compressor "reads" more of an average level, which may ignore some very short peaks. With some sources, the bass frequencies are strongest, and therefore the compressor reacts to those most: this can result in a slight loss of "sparkle" in some cases. OTOH, when a signal passes through an equalizer its waveshape is usually altered, which often changes the peak level.

    Sometimes you may want to use more than one compressor (often the two will be set differently from each other). For example, on individual drum tracks, particularly kick, snare, and toms, I may put the channel compressor before the EQ and insert a Levelizer after the EQ. I set the channel comp to "grab" the attack peaks a bit (0 atk, 30ms rel, 3:1), then I use just the peak limit of the Levelizer, finding the point where it just starts to "pinch" the sound too much and backing off slightly (higer percent setting) from there. After the compression and limiting I can then turn up the track more if I need it, thus ending up with a "meatier" sound without overloading the mix.

    hope this helps

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    868

    Default Re: OT: Comp/EQ or EQ/Comp

    (sometimes the "best sound" you get with a soloed track is not what works best in the full mix).
    Yep. Took me a while to really learn that early on.

  7. Default Re: OT: Comp/EQ or EQ/Comp

    In general, I EQ after compression, because compression tends to flatten out EQ changes, so you kinda wind up chasing your tail with the EQ before.

    However, as Jay Q pointed out (and others alluded to), EQ before compression has benefits too.

    I guess EQ as a "fix" or "effect" I'd place before comp, EQ for general tone shaping after.

    Does that make any sense?

  8. #8

    Default Re: OT: Comp/EQ or EQ/Comp

    "Don't be afraid to try an EQ before and after the comp, to do different things on each side."

    I agree totally. I find that compressor settings and/or what type of compressor I am using sometimes creates things that need post adjustment.

    I wish they made "frequency range specific" compressors that I could afford. Just dial in the problem range only.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Where people forget easily
    Posts
    2,213

    Default Re: OT: Comp/EQ or EQ/Comp

    Maybe this one is not as expensive plus is fully automatable in saw

    Quote Originally Posted by JKStone
    "Don't be afraid to try an EQ before and after the comp, to do different things on each side."

    I agree totally. I find that compressor settings and/or what type of compressor I am using sometimes creates things that need post adjustment.

    I wish they made "frequency range specific" compressors that I could afford. Just dial in the problem range only.
    Figuring out how the House M.D. character was developed.
    Macarena Ain't Noise Pollution.

  10. #10

    Default Re: OT: Comp/EQ or EQ/Comp

    Thanks Pedro. I'll check it out.

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