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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Aug-16 > Advanced use of the Compressor

Advanced use of the Compressor

Delve deeper and you’ll find that Logic Pro X’s Compressor plug-in has a long list of tricks up its sleeve. Mark Cousins digs in and gets squashed…

Technique Logic In Depth

We first took a look at the revised Logic Pro X Compressor back in MusicTech issue 149, exploring the key processes involved in setting up and using the plug-in. However, given the inherent flexibility of Logic Pro X’s Compressor (which is as good as any third-party alternative you could care to mention) combined with the fact the engineers use compressors in some fiendishly inventive ways, it’s well worth a closer exploration of the plug-in’s deeper features. We’re going to look at three techniques: frequency-conscious compression, New York compression and EDM Side Chaining. Together, these show just what a versatile performer the Compressor plug-in is…

Frequency-conscious

If you’ve mastered the basic parameters of compression – ratio, threshold, attack and release – you’ll soon start to appreciate that a compressor’s response can vary between different types of input signal, as well as variables like the model of the compressor. True mastery of compression, therefore, is about fine-tuning this performance – whether it’s picking the right model type, for example, to flatter the sound you’re processing, or making the compressor more or less sensitive to characteristics of the input.

One key facet of a compressor’s response is frequency, or more specifically, how different frequencies can push a compressor into applying gain reduction. This is often particularly evident on drum compression, where the kick drum dictates the movements of the compressor more than any other part of the kit. The reason for this behaviour is that the kick is supplying a disproportionate amount of sound energy, largely because our ears are much less sensitive in that part of the frequency spectrum. While the effect is interesting, the resultant pumping sound might not be the result you want to achieve.

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About MusicTech

It's the MusicTech Mobile Music issue! With the iOS platform, you can get versions of everything music-production related, and we feature the best of them in the new issue of MusicTech. We've broken it down into five categories: DAWs, Synths, Interfaces, DJ/Beats and Sound Design – Martin Delaney guides us through it all. Also in this issue we have reviews of Reason 9 plus gear from Thermionic Culture, AKG and ROLI, and software from IKM and iZotope. There's modular news and reviews of Euroracks from Studio Electronics and AJH plus tutorials on songwriting, compression and using Ableton Link. An issue not to be missed!
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