Old 12-11-2019, 10:38 AM   #1
kirk1701
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Default Mixbuss compression lesson

Before I share this, I'd like you all to remember the aspects of mixing that remain opaque to you. We all arrive at understanding in different ways. I share stories like this so we all are reminded that there's always something new to learn.

I thought I knew what I liked with mixbuss compression. I've always strapped V-Comp on the mixbuss and mixed into it. This is a hefty compressor, so I'd set the threshold at the lowest point and still get 5db gain reduction according to the VU meter. Eight times out of ten, this seemed like the right choice. I give vintage style compressors a bit of play between 2 and 5db if I can't hear any audible weirdness. The ears are the final arbiter of taste.

I've had a couple mixes that needed to be punchier and I couldn't figure out why it wasn't. It would build up in the "mud-range" and roll off highs. I think I was watching Warren Huart compress a piano with R-Comp and he'd managed to get the needle to bounce at -3db GR. I liked how it made the piano mids ring like bells without adding mud.

I don't know why I thought to try it on the mixbuss, but I swapped out V-Comp for MJUC on the "punch mixbuss" preset. That's the Bill Putnam 176 emu. Suddenly, the mud dropped out and the mix woke up. (I still need to get it to sit just around -3db max, but that's par for the course.)

TL;DR:

This was a breakthrough for me regarding compression. It's such an important tool, but it must be applied in context or it's going to rub out all the fine detail you've worked so hard to obtain. This isn't really news, but it's surprising how often we forget to apply this principle. I'd venture to say, the only principle of processing anything is how it sounds in that particular mix.

We certainly build experience that aids us, but it's only helpful if it sounds the way we want. If not, toss it out. At least, that's my plan going forward.
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Old 12-11-2019, 10:53 AM   #2
Fergler
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The 2254 the Vcomp is modeled on is a feedback diode-bridge compressor, while the MJUC is a vari-mu style multiple tube circuit. So from my quick research they are completely different circuit typologies.

This is probably more responsible for the differences. You may get similar results however using pre and post EQ. You could set up an inverse parameter linked EQ chain around the compressor to test it out easily.
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Old 12-11-2019, 11:30 AM   #3
kirk1701
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fergler View Post
The 2254 the Vcomp is modeled on is a feedback diode-bridge compressor, while the MJUC is a vari-mu style multiple tube circuit. So from my quick research they are completely different circuit typologies.

This is probably more responsible for the differences. You may get similar results however using pre and post EQ. You could set up an inverse parameter linked EQ chain around the compressor to test it out easily.
This is my point. I had chosen the wrong compressor for the mixbuss.
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Old 12-16-2019, 01:05 PM   #4
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Hey, I just learned this lesson sometime this year. The SSL G comp has been my go to for a few years, but once I started experimenting I haven't touched it since.
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Old 12-16-2019, 01:32 PM   #5
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I've been getting into the JS Master Limiter lately as my mixbus compressor. If one's not enough I add 2, 3, 4 or more. It's clean and powerful. But it depends on source material. For my situation, it has helped conga & drum kit, tremendously.
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Old 12-16-2019, 03:00 PM   #6
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Nice to hear others have experienced this as well.

I've recently begun experimenting with parallel mix compression (Scheps rear bus technique) and the key to that is a compressor in dual mono. The only one I had that had that function was MJUC, which was fine till I got IK Black76. That really added serious punch.

So vari-mu on main 2buss and 1176 on the rear bus is a really good recipe for a vintage rock sound. (When I say "vintage" I'm talking roughly 1964-1975.) Lots of fat mids, soft highs, and elastic low-end.
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