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  #1  
Old 06-29-2006, 09:57 AM
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Default your compressor choice for acoustic fingerstyle?

I think it's time I got a compressor/limiter. I've got some sensitive mikes that occasionally distort when my dynamics change, basically ruining everything; but when I back the mikes off and twiddle knobs to try and handle my loudest signal, I lose the proximity effect from the mikes to the degree that the sound gets rather sallow.

It seems like the common solution is to put a compressor/limiter in the signal chain, set it so that it just intercepts the real spikes that would cause distortion without overly coloring my sound, and play on fearlessly. Some have advised not to do this b/c you can always add compression later, in mixing, but that doesn't help with my distortion issue - I'm not interested in compression as a sound coloring technique, so much.

So - I am holding this 20% off coupon from Guitar Center...uh huh....

I know folks like the RNC, but just from the price it seems like this is not up to the level of my ADesigns tube pre, and I don't want to taint my signal path. Also, I'm not at all clear on whether a tube compressor is preferable when the goal is basically taming transients. Is the response time fast enough?

If I'm willing to spend $400, i.e. $500 value given the coupon, what should I get? I need FOUR channels for my mikes, BTW....

Any strong opinions? I searched the forum and didn't see much in the way of specific equipment preferences for fingerstyle. TIA! Help me spend this dough!!
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Old 06-29-2006, 10:39 AM
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Hi zenpicker,

There's a great compressor/limiter that you can use for recording made by dbx. It's called the dbx 166A. It's extremely flexible recording and would serve you very well vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, or anything that you would need to use a compressor on. You can get one for about $300.

Another thing that you might try to do is to solve this problem is to use EQ adjustments rather than only the compressor. For acoustic guitar I often have that boomy low end frequency at around 200Hz or so, that I need to tame a little before I can get a decent recording level especially if I want to get up close to the mic. Try finding the frequency where the guitar is the most boomy and then cut this a little in the EQ first. A parametric EQ is very useful for that sort of thing. A lot of mixers have this kind of EQ built in.

After you have cut this frequency, then you might be able to boost the overall signal level giving your guitar a more even sound.

I hope this helps, -- Fife
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Old 06-29-2006, 10:43 AM
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Fife - good thought, thanks. But I think my distortion occurs between my pre and my computer interface (a Yamaha i88x), so by the time I get to my (software) EQ I'm already toast. I guess I could get a hardware EQ but it seems like a compressor is simpler....?
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Old 06-29-2006, 11:01 AM
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I use a dbx 266xl, and it's ok. If I were looking at something new I'd likely get a RNC.
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Old 06-29-2006, 01:20 PM
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Compressor choice for acoustic fingerstyle?

None

At at least in solo guitar setting, I'm not a fan of compression at all
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Old 06-29-2006, 01:54 PM
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I agree. I've never liked the way compression sounds on acoustic guitar. It kind of squashes all the dynamics that make solo guitar sound so intimate.

I'd opt for using eq or repositioning of the mic to fix a problem like this.

-- Fife
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Old 06-29-2006, 04:39 PM
Mr. IJaK Mr. IJaK is offline
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Sounds like it's clipping. Turn the preamp, gain or whatever down, then turn the master volume later on in the chain up.

The whole point of acoustic is the dynamic range. You can go from a whisper to a growl in no time, and with no effects. You compress it, you lose that. You also invite a higher probabilty of feedback.
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Old 06-29-2006, 05:27 PM
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i'll chime in and agree with the trend of the last several posts. my suggestion is to diddle with the knobs a bit more. with the more percussive stuff, it is definitely a challenge to find a balance where you have a good signal but no clipping. but... you can do it. at the worst, you lower levels and bump the gain in the mix stage, and add compression if you must after the fact. but i'd try to avoid it beforehand... as with any effect, when it's on it's on.

definitely a challenge tho. a lot of my new stuff is ultra-thump and i know i'm going to have a bear recording it. my plan is to back off a bit both on the playing and on the levels, and leave things to better hands in the mix/master.

good luck widdit.
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Old 06-29-2006, 06:16 PM
sdelsolray sdelsolray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zenpicker
I think it's time I got a compressor/limiter. I've got some sensitive mikes that occasionally distort when my dynamics change, basically ruining everything; but when I back the mikes off and twiddle knobs to try and handle my loudest signal, I lose the proximity effect from the mikes to the degree that the sound gets rather sallow.

It seems like the common solution is to put a compressor/limiter in the signal chain, set it so that it just intercepts the real spikes that would cause distortion without overly coloring my sound, and play on fearlessly. Some have advised not to do this b/c you can always add compression later, in mixing, but that doesn't help with my distortion issue - I'm not interested in compression as a sound coloring technique, so much.
The above posts pretty much identify what you should be trying to do to alleviate the problem, from gain structure tweaks, to playing technique adjustment to compression/limiting. There is nothing inherently wrong with using a compressor or limiter when tracking to mitigate the occasional spike you know will occur in the source performance. Using a clean/transparent compressor or limiter (not a colored one) will hopefully provide a recorded track that does not clip and its use will be invisible. Stealth.
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Old 06-29-2006, 07:21 PM
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JohnZ is hip. The rest of you need to do some research.....

RNC
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  #11  
Old 06-29-2006, 08:58 PM
sdelsolray sdelsolray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc
JohnZ is hip. The rest of you need to do some research.....

RNC
I have an RNC. It's a nice compressor. I've chosen a Drawmer DL241 over it for my uses (solo fignerstyle). It's cleaner, quieter, more tweakable, plus it has a gate and limiter and operates either in dual mono or stereo mode with balanced connections.
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Old 06-29-2006, 09:08 PM
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Thanks, all. I confess to having somewhat abandoned the gain staging approach because I just couldn't find that reliable sweet spot that would reliably avoid clipping...guess I'll fuss with it some more before getting into a compressor. I just don't want to constrain my playing due to the technology....
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  #13  
Old 07-13-2006, 09:17 PM
Smurf42 Smurf42 is offline
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A limiter might be more along the line of what you need......
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  #14  
Old 07-13-2006, 09:54 PM
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Just another thing to consider. Mic placement. Have you spent the time working the mic posistion while someone else plays your guitar? Small moves can make big difference in balance.

max
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  #15  
Old 07-14-2006, 02:54 PM
mattinbeloit mattinbeloit is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by min7b5
Compressor choice for acoustic fingerstyle?

None

At at least in solo guitar setting, I'm not a fan of compression at all
amen! There is almost always a way around using a compressor unless you are doing live stuff. In the studio, I play around with positioning and tell people to do a take until they get it right. I've never had to use a compressor on an acoustic guitar, I use them lightly on vocals but if it can be avoided I tell them to do another take. Many times, it is just nessisary for the vocals on a lot of songs, but again, you can split it up into takes and when you get to a loud part, record that take a little softer and match volumes. I'm not trying to discourage you from getting a compressor, I just don't really see the need for one on an acoustic guitar. If someone want to explain to me their reasoning for doing this that would be great, im curious .
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