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Question about compression

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by H-evolve, May 15, 2015.

  1. H-evolve

    H-evolve Member

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    Hi all,

    Question about compression. Reading through different forums, I am unsure as how I should use a compressor, or if I should use one at all...

    I was thinking perhaps using it upstream the amp, so that I send a "clean" signal to the amp before it gets distorted.

    But some people seem to use it differently.

    Is it a question of what is being recorder, lead versus rythm?

    Moreover, any tips on recording fast, palm muted, rythm riffs? I have to record a riff at 160 bpm, in fourth notes (sorry english is not my first language, so not sure if fourth notes is the correct word... I mean four notes per beat). When dual tracking (or even worse, quad tracking), any super minor mistake on picking makes the whole riff sound like shit to me, if I just listen to guitars (no drum, no bass, just guitars). I practiced it a lot and I think my playing is somewhat tight, but having 2 PERFECT recordings is quite difficult.

    Thanks for the tips
     
  2. Vihaleipä

    Vihaleipä Member

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    I assume you are talking about using compressor pedal before the amp rather than just compression in general, I wouldn't generally compress hi-gain guitars before they hit the amp as they are already pretty compressed by their nature, use tube screamer-style overdrive or eq pedal before the amp/ampsim if you want hit the amp harder and make it sound tighter and more mid-focused. Using compression for clean guitars is totally different thing, if want achieve something like "Sultans of Swing" for example, compressor pedal before the amp may be useful to tighten the tone and give it more sustain.

    What comes to the second question, it's hard to say without hearing any soundclips, you may be too hard to yourself, or you just may need to practice more. One thing that has really helped me tracking guitars tighter is muting the first guitar take before recording the second one when dual tracking, Ola Englund does this also. It makes me concentrate better on playing to click rather than making the same flaws again when listening to the first guitar and reacting to them. Editing also obviously helps if you want to achieve something really tight sounding, but if you can play well you can get away without doing huge or any edits at all. BTW, how little latency you can track guitars with on your computer, are you sure it isn't causing any issues?
     
  3. Random3

    Random3 Member

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    I can't really speak about compression pedals because I don't use them, but in regards to multitracking fast riffs the easiest way is simply get it as tight as you can and then keep doing takes until you nail it. Yes, one mistake will make the whole thing sound bad so even the smallest mistake needs to be removed. There are various editing tricks you can use to help but honestly just getting it right when you track is the best way to do this. You can try things like muting unused strings with tape, punching in on a particularly fiddly bit etc but as I said, if you can play it tight and as near-perfect as possible twice then the problem is solved.
     
  4. Machinated

    Machinated Member

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    if you aren't sure why you should be using one, I'd recommend not using one.

    essentially you'll want to use it to make the quiet bits a more similar volume to any loud bits. that could be within the context of different notes within a guitar riff, or it could the combination of different guitar tracks changing volume throughout a song.
     
  5. undercurrent217

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    Echoing what was already said, typically compression (through an amp) is usually only used on clean guitars. It'll squash your tone too much on the high gain stuff.

    Also for tight recording I definitely mute the other guitar tracks and have it panned center while tracking so you can really focus and play to drums/beat. If the other guitar tracks are audible while recording, it's easy to start focusing on playing to the guitar parts instead of to the song. It can also get confusing and distracting which makes it hard to focus and play tight.

    Just my two cents.
     
  6. He's Dead, Jim

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    Yep, this. And eliminate latency as much as humanly possible if you're monitoring while you record.
     
  7. Zerochance

    Zerochance Member

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    I echo what everyone said about panning: I always record dead center, just to make sure the take is as tight as I can make it. I don't do any kind of panning until afterwards. I personally don't like quad-tracking; I don't have the knowledge to make it sound good, so I mostly stick to two rhythm tracks panned hard L and R, and one additional rhythm track panned dead center (a few dBs lower than the panned tracks or so) that I use when needed. I find the hard panning makes the guitars sound a bit more focused and makes mistakes and timing issues more noticeable, so it forces me to be tighter.

    Since you're trying to quad track a plam-muted riff, my guess is your low-end frequencies are going through the roof, so you may actually need a tiny bit of compression. I would recommend a multi-band compressor on the lower frequencies just to tame the woof of four different palm-muted tracks. As everyone has said, heavily distorted guitars don't really need compression, but this might be an exception.

    You're mostly describing the glorious frustration of recording rhythm guitars though. It can be maddening. With leads, you can get away with a few timely hiccups here and there, but rhythms have to be air-tight or the whole song falls apart. Since I started recording myself, my appreciation for good rhythm players has increased tenfold.
     

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