Old 01-13-2021, 10:18 AM   #1
Jesus916
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Default Acustic Piano Questions 2: Compression

I think (but I know Im wrong anyway hahahaha) that I understood a little bit the meaning of this and what its for. But even if I understood it, a different matter and a WAY MORE DIFFICULT thing would be having to apply a compressor to any audio.... wow, I dont seem to be able to understand how this plugings works no matter how many tutorials I watch...

Anyways, because my instrument its the acustic piano where mostly you need big changes in dynamics for pianissimo to fortissimo etc etc, AM I RIGHT in thinking that, as a general rule, its not only that I will never need a compressor at all, but even worse, using a compressor than not only let my audio as bad or as good in the best of the cases but that in most instances can only downgraded the quality of my recordings and its will make them be more flat across the whole piece?

*I supposse the answer will not be just black or white but that will be shades of greys in between but, should I just forget about them?, or can they help me in any way?, why and how?

A different matter its how to physicly use them if it were needed but this will go into a different chapter if needed or I will pay more attention to tutorials but I just think it does not apply to me. It does?

Thanks

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Old 01-13-2021, 11:15 AM   #2
serr
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A compressor is an automated 'turn the volume down' device. When the incoming signal is louder than the threshold point you set, it gets turned down. Attack and release controls set how quickly the turning down happens and how soon it turns back up. The ratio sets how much it turns down when that happens.

So...

I'll assume you have identified spots in the piano performance where the volume pokes out too loud to you when you have the overall volume where you want it. Dial in the threshold so it starts turning down at those points.

I'll leave you with this comment FYI:
You hear about using a compressor to boost or fatten things. But I just called it a 'turn the volume down' device... The 'fatten' thing is two steps. 1. Set the compressor to turn down the volume in spots that poke out. 2. Now that you have those peak spots reduced you can turn up the overall volume.

This sounds like this is all new to you.

Set your monitor volume first!

It would be hard to draw artwork the size of an icon. Artists will do that full screen and then shrink it down instead.
By the same analogy, it would be hard to mix straight to a volume war loud and treble-y CD. You'd want to mix at normal levels first and then do that destruction as a separate step (or better... not at all).

Where I'm going with this is... Learn how to set your volume!
Play a couple bluray or 24 bit downloads that aren't volume war hash to set your volume. Then you can mix. Your ears will tell you when some element is too loud before the nasty red light goes off.

Try it the other way around - monitor volume pretty low for volume war media listening - and now the red lights are scolding you before it's even half loud enough.

You can get fancy with calibrations moving forward but that ^^^ will get you started.

If you don't have any music that isn't a volume war CD (or mp3 encoded from same), shoot for a level of -13 LUFS. Set your monitor volume so that level program is full volume. Then go grab a couple of your favorite albums from download or bluray and investigate that.
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Old 01-13-2021, 11:52 AM   #3
Jesus916
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Wow, that sounds like a very good answer very well explained thanks , despite not being the answer I was hoping for like: "given the case you dont need a compressor at all" hahahaha

Yet, despite how well explained its, I need to digested and read several times to make sure I understood things as right as possible so I can prepare a worthy like answer and with other "re-questions" over your explanations

Will post back. Thanks very much

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Old 01-13-2021, 12:37 PM   #4
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If it's your own song, you may want to look back at the arrangement to see if it can be changed to accommodate the piano more. Pianos don't like drums and guitars.
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Old 01-13-2021, 12:38 PM   #5
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I think it's important to specify the kind of music you're playing: in classical music, for example, engineers are more apt to preserve dynamic range as much as practical, since that reflects what the composer intended. And classical recordings are generally mastered to quieter loudness standards than pop albums as well.

If you're playing pop or jazz, preserving the dynamic range of the performance isn't as much of a priority...especially if you're playing as part of a group as opposed to a solo performance.

There are more labor-intensive ways to reduce dynamic range that don't involve compression and may sound more natural; in your earlier thread someone mentioned adjusting the volume envelope (which allows you to fine-tune the volume of quiet parts and loud parts in a more customized and perhaps more natural-sounding way than applying compression), and that's a good approach. At the most extreme, a tool like Melodyne allows you to adjust the volume of every note individually; it also has a compressor-like tool with two sliders, one for making quiet parts louder and one for making loud parts quieter. That's similar to how a compressor-with-makeup-gain works but Melodyne approaches it a bit differently and they claim it sounds more natural.

Some DAWs such as Harrison Mixbus have a tool called a "Leveler," which is a very transparent compressor.

The bottom line is that there are lots of ways to approach this; you don't necessarily have to use standard compression.
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Old 01-13-2021, 07:26 PM   #6
Jesus916
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Thanks to everyone

At this point I think is good if I further explain a couple of things.
I play anything really (not jazz), from clasical, to pop-songs where I do like to make the piano "sing" hence dynamic its important, even some flamenco... anything really, but always, at least for the time being is for playing solo and only piano

Perhaps eventually will play with a guitar man and/or a cajon-flamenco man (sort of drums) next to me as I got a little home studio in the basement and "these kind of neighboards" or even perhaps will eventually add other things when playing only myself even beats etc but for the time being Im happy enough if I get the most of it just for piano only playing. Its hard enough this way lol

*My neighboards are reallyyyy good playing, but they know NOTHING about sound. Even wayyyy less than I hahahaha

The scenary I explained on my very first post where I recorded low in mike gains was a true scenary but just used really to "play/learn" with Reaper so that I will hopefully do it right for my next recording

Was not only the recording level I got wrong even after several takes hahahaha so I ended up quitting for the day and was only then I went to Reaper with the best take just to test things up when I realised, oh my God, its not just getting the performance right, there is also so many things to deal with here (Reaper)....
*One thing is to just play and a different thing altogether the very minute to hit "record" is so easy to always fail in "something / somewhere" while recording a few minutes performance

The pieces I will be playing, though I would like it to have the maximum possible quality, DONT WE ALL?, really is just to be played in Youtube, Facebook, my own car.... and the like. I got not more espectations than this, not now, not in the future, not at my age

Thought I been playing for a little while, its only recently that Im prepared to performance to worth enough recording to be shown if this make sense, so that I have "good enough tools" but never really used previously cos my playing was rather lower level hence a recording with a mobile phone was good enough at the time

So there is two things I mainly want to learn. The main is to use Reaper (the easiest DAW I come accross so far) and how to get the best of it in terms of sound quality as such with a given recording as its without applying any "trics" to said performance but applying the better possible tools to enhace the piece

AND SLIGHTLY, but this is secondary really, learn things like what we were speaking about tweaking (tric?) things like if I fail some parts in terms of dynamics etc but again this is really secondary. Main thing is to show any original recording as its been performaced but as best as possible in terms of audio quality

Thanks to everyone

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Old 01-13-2021, 08:06 PM   #7
Jesus916
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[QUOTE=serr;2391081]
I'll assume you have identified spots in the piano performance where the volume pokes out too loud to you when you have the overall volume where you want it.

- In a short answer, to be honest, NOT really

-----------------------------------------------

I'll leave you with this comment FYI:
You hear about using a compressor to boost or fatten things. But I just called it a 'turn the volume down' device... The 'fatten' thing is two steps. 1. Set the compressor to turn down the volume in spots that poke out. 2. Now that you have those peak spots reduced you can turn up the overall volume.

This sounds like this is all new to you.

- Good info mate . You are very correct, Im very new to all this and all I know about compression is by watching tutorials. Even so, I thought I sort of understood it but see, you just showed me a new thing as I thought it the compresor was used only to actually "compress" top and bottom levels so thats why I couldnt understand why would I need this myself when I want to achieve exactly the oppossite, YET, everyone talking about made me think... well, it has to be a main thing to be used, a "must use", it sounds just too important the way people deals with this....

But now you added something new. Its the 1st time I heard about this "fatten" thing and UMMM sounds could be interested... or not? That was a question to you!. The piano sounds "inverted bracket" rich enough

But Im not sure if your fatten and my rich definitions are the same thing???
*Sorry about my english, makes all even harder

Your explanation after in how to act was really very good also, thought I miss here and there but overall quite good. But then again you used the word "mixing" which will not be my case. Is therefore still good for me given my case?. Please redefine a bit more "fatten" in musical terms as Im quite interested

---------------------------------------------------

*A notice apart:
Its like Im trying to rehuse compression... NOT AT ALL if will help. I just still not got it deep clear yet
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Old 01-15-2021, 04:16 PM   #8
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As a relatively noob to Reaper (but a long standing engineer from before digital days too) can I tell you that you will get lots of help on the forum, primarily but not limited to the DAW.

A few words of caution; if you read many threads and posts (rather than your own specifically started thread) many a post refer making music, recorded or synthesised/midi etc that I would suggest are probably not relevent for you. You comment on making classical (at least) music recording of clean quality. Normal techniques for that are different to, for example Rock or heavy music where often "quality" includes distortion and compression to give the general impression of loudness. That does not always make for natural sound but often meets the particular need of those genres.

However there are posters aiming for and experienced in getting quality clean recordings too, so do not let my caution put you off either. Some of the experts give excellent advice on how to make clean quality recordings. You have already had some in this thread above.

With modern equipment and your stated desires I would forget about compression initially otherwise you might loose some of the dynamism and natural sound. You can always employ some later if so desired. After getting a clean recording DAWs are very versatile to make adjustments afterwards.

If you have not done so already it would be worth reading up or looking on the internet about mic positioning for piano recording. Several out there from the leading mic manufacturers. Acoustics matters more in classical owing to normal more distant mic positioning and thus picking up more room characteristics - and the mic too.

People talk about mixing but for simple recordings this really might just mean a few minor adjustments.... but things like monitoring level and the monitor speaker and room characteristics matter too. They all help to make your recordings sound good wherever you play them back. Again some great threads on here too. If you are inclined to do a bit of background reading then a thread started by Yep is well worth it . the first few pages anyway as it is quite long and digresses later on!! https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=29283

I believe those things in the paragraph above all far outway 'compression and tweaks' as does capturing initially the absolutely most important aspect, your performance.

Hope you make progress as fast and good as you desire. It can be a bit frustrating at times!!

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Old 01-15-2021, 04:50 PM   #9
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Found this article interesting. May be relevant.

gregory-scott-demolishing-the-myths-of-compression
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Old 01-16-2021, 10:13 AM   #10
Jesus916
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Short answer (for now), great links and even that these are just starting and seem to go as you say for loooong, but sounds so interesting, thanks guys

I will report back but I dont like to leave unsanswered people who take the time to try to help hence for now I just acknoledge I have read it....
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