The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > RECORD

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 06-08-2018, 11:53 AM
TBman's Avatar
TBman TBman is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Northern NJ
Posts: 26,114
Default 2 questions - Compression and DAWs

Question #1. What is compression? And what do "attack" and "release" refer to? Is a good guide available on the net?

Question #2. DAWs:

What makes one better than the other? Is it the quality of the plugins? How many plugins are actually presented as built in options/features that add "value" of one DAW over another?

Bonus question: Can a home recording become decent with Audacity and the right use of features and plugins?

Thanks.
__________________
Barry

<>
<>
<>
Liam's Day:


<>

My music on Reverbnation

2016 Avalon L2-320C, 2004 Larrivee OM-05, 2015 Guild D-120c, 2016 Gibson J-45, 2003 Martin D-16GT

Cordoba C5
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 06-08-2018, 12:03 PM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 1,757
Default

Compression is a way of knocking down the peaks of a audio volume. Paradoxically, this if often used not just to "even out" a sound's volume but to increase it, as it tends to increase the overall volume of when more gain/volume is applied when the peaks have been lowered. Sometimes this additional gain (make up gain) to raise the sound level when the peaks are lowered is part of the compressor's settings, other times you do that elsewhere in your DAW or recording chain.

Attack is how fast the compression effect is applied. If you lay off a bit on clamping down, you can still hear the sound character from the attack more.

Ratio (you didn't ask, but ) is how much proportionate "squish" of the peaks are applied. Higher numbers, more squish.


Release is how fast your allow the effect to expire, allowing the natural volume to return.


I'm sure there are good explanations all over the web, but I'd need to use a search engine to find them and I'm in the middle of things now. Others will no doubt chime in.

What makes one DAW preferred over another? Big subject! From an objective point of view it would be features and how they are implemented. Over the years the major DAWs all have the most needed features, but among users, the way they are implemented gives rise to preferences for one over another. Another differentiator, even among products from the same brand, is number of included plugins and to a certain degree, special features, with "lite" versions having fewer and "deluxe" versions have more.

As a practical matter, many/most users get very used to how their DAW works and begin to base their musical work around how the DAW mixes with their aims. At that point, the objective stuff tends to fall away in importance as their ingrained workflow allows them to work effectively.

Can a great recording be made with Audacity. Surely, yes. Great recordings have been made with a recorder, a few mics and their interface to the storage medium. Of course Audacity is not the most full-featured DAW, far from it, but not all recordings require the extensive feature set and range of hosted plugin possible with modern digital recording.
__________________
Parlando - Where Music and Words Meet
-----------------------------------
20th Century Seagull S6-12, S6 Folk, Seagull M6
'00 Guild JF30-12, '01 Martin 00-15, '07 Parkwood PW510
Epiphone Biscuit resonator, Merlin Dulcimer, and various electric guitars, basses....

Last edited by FrankHudson; 06-08-2018 at 12:18 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-08-2018, 12:13 PM
rick-slo's Avatar
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Posts: 13,142
Default

Tons of extensive info on the internet about compression.

In short though the best compression for solo acoustic guitar is no compression.

Best DAW is often the one you get familiar with. I personally use Ableton Live. Regarding
Audacity, however, it's quite limited. For example you would want a real time use of software
tweaks (e.g. reverb) and Audacity does not do that.
__________________
Derek Coombs
Website -> Music -> Tabs -> CDs and Youtube
Guitars by Mark Blanchard, Albert&Mueller, Paul Woolson, Collings, Composite Acoustics, and Derek Coombs
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-08-2018, 12:19 PM
KevWind's Avatar
KevWind KevWind is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Edge of Wilderness Wyoming
Posts: 12,393
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post
Question #1. What is compression? And what do "attack" and "release" refer to? Is a good guide available on the net?

Question #2. DAWs:

What makes one better than the other? Is it the quality of the plugins? How many plugins are actually presented as built in options/features that add "value" of one DAW over another?

Bonus question: Can a home recording become decent with Audacity and the right use of features and plugins?

Thanks.
Compression is actually exactly what the name says It is a process of compressing the dynamic range of the audio by a certain amount of db (ratio) when the audio goes beyond a certain level ( threshold)

Attack: is how quickly the compression occurs when the audio exceeds the threshold
Release: is how quickly the compression stops

In todays world (2018) there really is not one better than the other per se especially among the full featured major DAWs . The only real differences is the overall feature set , the GUI ( Graphic User Interface, or how it looks and is laid out) and the work flow

While there are probably some minor differences in the sound of different plugins, Again I don't think there is any significant difference in sound of the bundled plugins in the major DAWs. And with the availability of numerous 3 party plugins the available in almost all SAW formats there is no difference.


I haven't ever tried Audacity but I am guessing a you can get a "decent " recording and mix with it . Again the biggest difference will likely be more about the workflow involved to get there.
__________________
" Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding." Albert Einstein
Enjoy the Journey.... Kev...


KevWind at Soundcloud
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-08-2018, 12:20 PM
Monsum Monsum is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 392
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post
Question #2. DAWs:

What makes one better than the other? Is it the quality of the plugins? How many plugins are actually presented as built in options/features that add "value" of one DAW over another?

Bonus question: Can a home recording become decent with Audacity and the right use of features and plugins?
Thanks.
Any modern DAW would do a job to get you studio quality tracks. I don't think that among the major players (like Cubase, ProTools, Studio One, Logic, Reaper, Cakewalk etc.) one is better than the other. They differ in some features, usually less important for most users. Also the plugins bundled with most of them are nowadays high quality. The choice of a particular DAW is a matter of a user interface in my opinion, which one YOU find less distracting and more intuitive.

Audacity is good but I would recommend other free DAWs: if you're on a Mac - use Garageband or if you're on Windows - there is now free Cakewalk by Bandlab.

Other free DAWs: Tracktion 6, Presonus Studio One Prime.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-08-2018, 01:00 PM
Bob Womack's Avatar
Bob Womack Bob Womack is offline
Guitar Gourmet
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Between Clever and Stupid
Posts: 22,142
Default

Unless all you've heard is jazz CDs by Flim & the BB's or classical CDs on the Telarc label, chances are you've heard compression. Compression is what makes a recording listenable in anything other than a perfect listening environment. It is used to level out performances and to reduce some of the transients that reduce the overall volume of a recording. In excess it yields loud recordings that are fatiguing after a short listening period. That is a result of the "loudness wars" for the last decade.


However, tasteful use is makes a recording far more listenable than none at all.


Non
__________________
"It is said, 'Go not to the elves for counsel for they will say both no and yes.' "
Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion, The Fellowship of the Ring

THE MUSICIAN'S ROOM
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-08-2018, 01:19 PM
TBman's Avatar
TBman TBman is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Northern NJ
Posts: 26,114
Default

Interesting stuff, thanks everyone.
__________________
Barry

<>
<>
<>
Liam's Day:


<>

My music on Reverbnation

2016 Avalon L2-320C, 2004 Larrivee OM-05, 2015 Guild D-120c, 2016 Gibson J-45, 2003 Martin D-16GT

Cordoba C5
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-08-2018, 01:27 PM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 1,378
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
In short though the best compression for solo acoustic guitar is no compression.
The OP didn't say "for solo acoustic guitar." But in that application, recording at home and self-engineering, I'd agree. Especially if you're not super-confident about what you're doing and don't want to ruin some good playing, don't compress going in.

As for compression on acoustic guitar in general, though, when you get good at it, it can be an artful and flexible tool. Either tracking though hardware or using a plugin in post. I do it way, way more than I don't, on both my playing and other people's. But I've been at it for a while.
__________________
Old Ibanez Dreadnought
Hideous Orange Indonesian Classical
Cordoba Tenor Uke
This list oughta lower the bar some.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06-08-2018, 01:44 PM
rick-slo's Avatar
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Posts: 13,142
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
The OP didn't say "for solo acoustic guitar." But in that application, recording at home and self-engineering, I'd agree. Especially if you're not super-confident about what you're doing and don't want to ruin some good playing, don't compress going in.

As for compression on acoustic guitar in general, though, when you get good at it, it can be an artful and flexible tool. Either tracking though hardware or using a plugin in post. I do it way, way more than I don't, on both my playing and other people's. But I've been at it for a while.
Pretty sure TBMan is solo guitar stuff - he can correct me if that's wrong. On guitar and voice I would probably want compression available as the voice
can be pretty explosive. If you achieve mass media play (radio, TV) they do their own overall compression.
__________________
Derek Coombs
Website -> Music -> Tabs -> CDs and Youtube
Guitars by Mark Blanchard, Albert&Mueller, Paul Woolson, Collings, Composite Acoustics, and Derek Coombs
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06-08-2018, 02:01 PM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 1,378
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Pretty sure TBMan is solo guitar stuff.
You're probably right. But here, we're all talking to everyone.

Quote:
On guitar and voice I would probably want compression available as the voice can be pretty explosive.
Agreed, if the one mic is being used to capture both the voice and the guitar. With separate mics, it gets more complicated.
__________________
Old Ibanez Dreadnought
Hideous Orange Indonesian Classical
Cordoba Tenor Uke
This list oughta lower the bar some.

Last edited by Brent Hahn; 06-08-2018 at 02:18 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 06-08-2018, 08:46 PM
TBman's Avatar
TBman TBman is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Northern NJ
Posts: 26,114
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
The OP didn't say "for solo acoustic guitar." But in that application, recording at home and self-engineering, I'd agree. Especially if you're not super-confident about what you're doing and don't want to ruin some good playing, don't compress going in.

As for compression on acoustic guitar in general, though, when you get good at it, it can be an artful and flexible tool. Either tracking though hardware or using a plugin in post. I do it way, way more than I don't, on both my playing and other people's. But I've been at it for a while.
Thanks for touching all of the bases. Rick and I have been conversing on the forum for well over a decade so he is familiar with my style of playing.
__________________
Barry

<>
<>
<>
Liam's Day:


<>

My music on Reverbnation

2016 Avalon L2-320C, 2004 Larrivee OM-05, 2015 Guild D-120c, 2016 Gibson J-45, 2003 Martin D-16GT

Cordoba C5
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 06-08-2018, 09:28 PM
Gordon Currie Gordon Currie is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Kirkland, WA USA
Posts: 983
Default

The wikipedia version for anyone still unclear on what audio compression is:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_range_compression
__________________
-Gordon

1978 Larrivee L-26 cutaway | 1988 Larrivee L-28 cutaway | 2006 Larrivee L03-R | 2009 Larrivee LV03-R | 2016 Irvin SJ cutaway
K+K, Dazzo, Schatten/ToneDexter


Notable Journey website
Facebook page
CD Baby

"Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art." -Leonardo Da Vinci
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 06-08-2018, 11:16 PM
Doug Young's Avatar
Doug Young Doug Young is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Mountain View, CA
Posts: 7,024
Default

I use a touch of compression on nearly all of my solo guitar recordings, for what it's worth. It has to be *very* light, or you will hear it, and it will sound bad. With vocals and some other instruments you can be more heavy-handed, but not fingerstyle guitar. But just a touch, to my ear, brings the music forward a bit, fattens it up, smooths it out. It's subtle, but it can be an improvement. If you have your solo guitar music professionally mastered, the mastering engineer will almost certainly use some degree of compression in the process.
__________________
Doug Young
----------------
Music on Pandora
You Tube Channel
website: http://www.dougyoungguitar.com
Fingerstyle Christmas Tunes: A DADGAD Christmas
Hymns Book: Hymns for Fingerstyle Guitar
CDs: Closing Time, Laurel Mill
Pickup tests: http://www.dougyoungguitar.com/pickuptests/
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 06-09-2018, 12:10 AM
Joseph Hanna Joseph Hanna is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Topanga Canyon, CA
Posts: 2,588
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
I use a touch of compression on nearly all of my solo guitar recordings, for what it's worth. It has to be *very* light, or you will hear it, and it will sound bad. With vocals and some other instruments you can be more heavy-handed, but not fingerstyle guitar. But just a touch, to my ear, brings the music forward a bit, fattens it up, smooths it out. It's subtle, but it can be an improvement. If you have your solo guitar music professionally mastered, the mastering engineer will almost certainly use some degree of compression in the process.


Me as well.

Lately Iíve grown very fond of Izotope Ozone 8. Although I love the wide band analog style compressor that comes with, Iím REALLY impressed with the dynamic EQ which is inserted before the mastering comp. A tad complicated to detail in a post but thereís plenty of vids that do a good job of explaining. Itís really a game changer for compression. Essentially itís a real time dynamic eq that attempts to corral eq peaks (in very small increments) so that the mastering compressor has a better change of not over-reacting to those minuscule bursts of overs. It makes for a MUCH smoother task for the compressor.

Honestly everything Izotope does is superior. Waiting for an Izotope reverb and Iíll be totally in the box
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 06-09-2018, 12:11 AM
rick-slo's Avatar
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Posts: 13,142
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
I use a touch of compression on nearly all of my solo guitar recordings, for what it's worth. It has to be *very* light, or you will hear it, and it will sound bad. With vocals and some other instruments you can be more heavy-handed, but not fingerstyle guitar. But just a touch, to my ear, brings the music forward a bit, fattens it up, smooths it out. It's subtle, but it can be an improvement. If you have your solo guitar music professionally mastered, the mastering engineer will almost certainly use some degree of compression in the process.
Light compression kicks in mostly on transients and my ears tell me that some transient detail is compromised by this. Most of my listening is through very transparent headphones. On a rare early recording of mine that had any overs I might have used a limiter to take those out. None of that over the last few years.
__________________
Derek Coombs
Website -> Music -> Tabs -> CDs and Youtube
Guitars by Mark Blanchard, Albert&Mueller, Paul Woolson, Collings, Composite Acoustics, and Derek Coombs
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > RECORD

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:26 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=