View Single Post
Old 01-22-2021, 10:53 AM
Doug Young's Avatar
Doug Young Doug Young is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Mountain View, CA
Posts: 8,274


There are lots of guitars with bad dynamic balance and oddly resonant notes.
Ah. The cure for that is a new guitar :-) I guess you can technically make a great (aka "accurate") recording of a bad sound, but for a good final result, you need the entire signal chain, starting with the guitar, to sound good.

I am no expert in the fine nuances here. It seems like automation vs compression is sort of an odd discussion when it's just a one track recording. Compression is often applied to one track and automation is often applied to the whole recording (in this case, one track).
I use automation for anything I'd like to have automated and reproducible, including one track. In many DAWs you can automate anything - you could even automate a variable amount of compression. I use it for volume, reverb, EQ, just about anything. One of the coolest tricks I've run across was in a recording session (solo guitar) I did that was produced by El McMeen and engineered by his regular engineer. There was a short lick where El felt like I had dragged the tempo - just a little ascending run of 4 or 5 notes. We were debating whether to re-record, when El suggested the engineer try using automation to reduce the volume by a few db starting with the 1st note, and then bring it back up by the end of the run. Presto! That fixed the "timing" issue, or at least the perception of it.

It sounds like your idea of compression and automation relates to multi-track recording. For me, with a single track, you're not trying to compress anything to get it to sit in a mix, so you basically don't do those sort of mixing things for 1-track solo guitar. I think of compression as a mastering step, and therefore applies to the "whole mix", which in this case means just one guitar. With a band mix, you might compress individual tracks, and then the mastering engineer might apply overall compression to the mix. With solo guitar, you just have the mastering step.

Automation is certainly useful in a full mix, where you want to bring things in and out. But it's also useful for single track recordings, where you want to have total control. If, for example, you have a good recording, but there's one note that you just hit too hard, it's usually better to bring down that note with automation than to apply heavy enough compression to bring it down. You're less likely to hear "pumping".
Reply With Quote