What's the deal with effects and pedals? (Also: sound in general)

Thanks for that info @terb I’ll work with that. Also, what is “knee size” (just curious)?

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Thank you @howard.

Since you don’t use ReaComp, what compressor plugin do you use and where/how does one acquire it?

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the Reaper effects guide says :

“The knee size determines the range of volume (rather than a specified amount of time) which the compressor will use in applying the compression ratio. For example, with a ratio of 4:1 and a knee setting of 0 dB, the full 4:1 ratio will be applied as soon as the threshold is exceeded. With a knee size of 10 dB, the ratio will be gradually increased from 1:1 at the threshold level, eventually reaching the full 4:1 when the volume exceeds the threshold by a full 10 dB”

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I use several. I do not recommend you do what I do because it is very complicated. ReaComp is actually probably fine!

For most compression needs pre-mixing, I use a compressor that came with my synthesizer but is also great for general use. Kilohearts is a company that makes VST plugins and virtual instruments, and their plugins are also plugins for each other, called “snapins”, and you use them to make little effects chains. So I like to use their compressor snapin in a snapin host, building little effects chains like pedalboards. Sometimes these are really complex parallel chains. But the compressor itself is very simple.

For mixing, I use one or more compressors in the mixing plugin I have on each track (or bus) to compress the overall track, and also a track limiter (which should not kick in much if I did the compression right). These are after all the effects, amp and cab sims, and so on, and are used more to manage the overall loudness of the track, than tonal compression, though not entirely.

Then there will be a master limiter on the master bus. This is purely used to maximize loudness.

I use a lot of compressors. I had something like 12 on my last mix.

There are many great compressor plugins out there; I wouldn’t recommend Kilohearts necessarily unless you want to buy in to their whole snapin ecosystem. However I have and am very happy with it; it’s replaced my pedalboard completely, along with a few other plugins.

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While I have you guys: this statement above has me puzzled a bit. In Paul Davids video, the compressed signal was lower in volume than the uncompressed signal (initially) and then he brought it up again in volume to match the original, which is when you really hear (and see) what compression does to the waveform.

So, he (Paul) applied volume increase to the compressed signal, while you write above that it is applied to the uncompressed signal!?!

I thought I had understood something… :crazy_face:

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No - we’re saying the same thing. By “uncompressed part of the signal” I simply meant the resulting part that the compressor did not attenuate away - i.e. the resulting signal after compression. I just phrased it poorly.

Makeup Volume is the amount of boost given to that to counteract the volume drop due to compression. And depending on setting, you can cause it to increase the overall volume due to compression.

Or decrease it; some compressors allow for negative makeup volume :slight_smile:

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Got it now - thanks!! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Your little overview over the controls there is a golden nugget to keep!!

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Happy to help, compression is easily my most used effect.

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One more dumb compressor question regarding Reaper…

Should I apply ReaComp to (a) the master track, or (b) the individual tracks, or (c ) all the above?

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For your usage I would just use it on your bass for now exactly like you would a pedal.

Later if you want to learn about mixing and mastering, you can learn about track compression and limiting later. It’s a big subject but broadly speaking, the master bus will get a limiter to prevent clipping (primarily) and help with loudness (secondarily), and each track will usually get a compressor and/or limiter to help with loudness and tone. But this is only important for mastering and mixing your own music, not covers. For covers like you make, you have the bass track and then another track that is already mastered; I would not mess with it much, or as little as possible.

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I have ReaComp on each track + on the master bus, with very different settings. (+ReaXComp on the master bus)

the thing is that compressors will cumulate and you must take that in consideration. I’m like @howard, I use a lot of compressors with light settings.

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Yeah you really don’t want to overdo it; all the compression should be as little as possible.

There is a lot of bad advice out there about this, too.

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also if you want to use ReaComp on the master track, you can use the preset called “Master bus glue” and only set the threshold. it works very well to bring a nice polished touch to your mix.

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Yeah, that’s the one I’ve been using on the master track, and the “spanky bass” on my bass track. As @howard suggests, I leave the track with the original song with bass removed alone.

I’ll play around with some of those settings you guys recommended :metal:

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Big fan of compressors. I usually go with a 4:1 ratio like Terb. Attack and release depends on what type of music you are playing. Howard pretty much covered the theory in his post :slight_smile:

Personally I prefer an 3rd party VST plugin for my compression that simulates the interface of the real deal. The Tube-Tech CL 1B from Softube is one of my favourite compressor plugins https://www.softube.com/compressor-collection and not hard to setup unlike other compressors. I also got the LA-2A and 1176SE/LN plugin from UAD which were included with the audio interface but it kinda sucks that I’m forced to use this audio interface if I want to use those plugins (it’s an ecosystem just like kilohearts).

I agree that these studio processors are much better compressors, but I still prefer an analog compressor pedal in my chain. Altho I would love to have the original LA-2A :heart_eyes:

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oooooooh yes, a huge piece of collection :heart_eyes:

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It’s only $4,299.00, I think I’ll “manage” with the plugin :rofl:.

On the other hand there are nice and far cheaper clones which sound great.

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Before I even looked I knew it was going to be Waves that made the plugin :slight_smile:

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Best Pedal Compressor out there for Bass would be the DarkGlass HyperLuminal Compressor.
It is the most versatile compressor pedal I have heard. Is a Hybrid Pedal that has an analog compressor with a Digital backend that doesnt eat tone. I am not a distortion bass player as Darkglass steers toward Metal. The Hyperluminal Compressor is simply bada$$ and when you have a Darkglass Bass Harmonic Booster (Clean PreAmp) you are unstopable!

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I’m still finding my around it but so far I am mightily impressed by the EBS Multicomp

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