Stress to com­press

Computer Music - - Make Music Now -

When you com­press or limit a sig­nal, you trig­ger vol­ume re­duc­tion – but how does vol­ume re­duc­tion look when it's done to a huge, long bass wave? There's no sim­ple an­swer, as this will al­ways de­pend on your sig­nal, your com­pres­sor, and its set­tings; but when a com­pres­sor clamps down on a bass wave, the re­sult can be to flat­ten it out… if only a lit­tle bit.

When we flat­ten out a sine wave, it starts look­ing a bit more like a square wave – and that flat­ten­ing must, by its very na­ture, mean that ex­tra har­mon­ics are cre­ated; the sine wave is dis­torted. In the quest for sat­u­ra­tion (see Bass on small speak­ers), this might be just the ef­fect you were look­ing for, but if you want as clean and true a sig­nal as pos­si­ble, solo the bass to check any audi­ble ef­fects for your­self, call up an anal­yser to com­pare the sig­nals be­fore and after.

One likely cul­prit be­hind this com­pres­sion-dis­tor­tion is the at­tack time of dy­nam­ics de­vices – raise the at­tack time for bass fre­quen­cies to see if it al­le­vi­ates any dis­tor­tion. Multiband com­pres­sion or lim­it­ing can help you set up a slow at­tack time for your low­est sub bass band only, or even to leave the low­est fre­quen­cies un­pro­cessed what­so­ever.

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