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Using compressor plugin while recording!?

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Using compressor plugin while recording!?

Postby SalMarko on Tue Oct 25, 2005 3:09 am

Is there any way that I can use my compressor plugin while recording vocal on my computer directly?I have Cubasis 3.0.
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Postby redheadbass on Tue Oct 25, 2005 7:37 am

Why do you want to?
Use your software compressor after the track is laid. You can tweak it over and over............
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Postby SalMarko on Tue Oct 25, 2005 8:08 am

Yes I can.
But, then I have to record it at low level. I don't wanna record it with clip.Also, when I record it with low level, later I can do compression but also noise will be much harder.
If I had hardware limiter at least, all my problems would be solved.
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Postby redheadbass on Tue Oct 25, 2005 8:19 am

What are you using for preamp and interface?
I've never used cubasis, so I don't know if you can compress while tracking, insert style.
Your vocals must be really dynamic if you need to use "too low" level to avoid clipping.
Maybe a Cubasis user can answer your original question.
Good luck.
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Postby SoulFood on Tue Oct 25, 2005 8:31 am

i don't think you can replace an outboard compressor with a plugin...

if you want to use the compressor as a protection against peaks... you have to have a hardware one
I feel so smart when i ask you guys for advice!
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Postby Rutace on Tue Oct 25, 2005 8:49 am

the whole point of an outboard compressor is to have the signal compressed before it hits the AD interface. If you feed a signal that has over 0dBs into the interface with the intention of compressing it afterwards, the interface will clip. No compressor plug in can avoid that.
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Postby SalMarko on Tue Oct 25, 2005 8:56 am

Thanks guys!
Now I'm to depressed, but now I know at least what I have to do.
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Postby keano on Fri Dec 30, 2005 1:56 pm

Actually you can do it and I have done it. I use UAD-1 LA2A set for very low compression just to touch on peaks. Later on if I need more compression I will add it.

No right nor wrong.
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Postby SoulFood on Sat Dec 31, 2005 3:31 am

this is a plug-in... it will not help at all with peaks!
if the signal is too strong, the AD will damage it, and you can have the best plug-in out there, it will still just compress the bad signal...
I feel so smart when i ask you guys for advice!
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Postby keano on Sat Dec 31, 2005 5:03 am

I have never had problems? My peaks seem fine but hey maybe I am wrong. Would I be safer using a compressor set low going in and using plugin compressor later or just going in clean and adding compression plug later?
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Postby SoulFood on Sat Dec 31, 2005 6:41 am

it is completely possible that you don't have any digital pops... you don't overload your ADC.

if this is so... you don't NEED (you could still use it :wink: ) an outboard compressor.

I'd just like you to know the difference of outboard and plug-ins. they are two different tools.
I feel so smart when i ask you guys for advice!
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Postby GSpotSoldier on Sat Dec 31, 2005 8:13 am

So if your running Cubase SX3 you can use the Insert function to insert the Dyanamics Compressor.
This is from the manual
As the name implies, insert effects are inserted into the audio signal path - this means that the audio will be routed through the effect. You can add up to eight different insert effects (five in Cubase SL) independently for each audio channel (audio track, group channel track, FX channel track, VST Instrument channel or ReWire channel) or bus. The signal passes through the effects in series from the top downwards, with the signal paths shown in this figures (for Cubase SX and Cubase SL, respectively):
So would it be wise to do this. Should i roll with an external compressor for my MXL 2006 mic. Or could i just use this option?
I got Cubase SX3 and Nuendo 3.0 also Adobe Audition 1.5 that I will be using for mixing and laying vocals.
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Postby jonnyc on Sat Dec 31, 2005 1:27 pm

keano wrote:Actually you can do it and I have done it. I use UAD-1 LA2A set for very low compression just to touch on peaks. Later on if I need more compression I will add it.

No right nor wrong.


YES! There is a right and wrong here, sometimes that phrase applies but not in this case. What soulfood is saying is correct. Before the audio can ever get to the computer which is where the plug in is it has to go thru the interface/soundcard. If the sound going into the interface is clipping then no matter how much of a plug compressor you put on it its still going to clip, its science, its a fact. You may be able to monitor with the plug compressor but that still doesn't mean it won't be clipping at the converter.
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Postby jonnyc on Sat Dec 31, 2005 1:42 pm

GSpotSoldier wrote:So if your running Cubase SX3 you can use the Insert function to insert the Dyanamics Compressor.
This is from the manual
As the name implies, insert effects are inserted into the audio signal path - this means that the audio will be routed through the effect. You can add up to eight different insert effects (five in Cubase SL) independently for each audio channel (audio track, group channel track, FX channel track, VST Instrument channel or ReWire channel) or bus. The signal passes through the effects in series from the top downwards, with the signal paths shown in this figures (for Cubase SX and Cubase SL, respectively):
So would it be wise to do this. Should i roll with an external compressor for my MXL 2006 mic. Or could i just use this option?
I got Cubase SX3 and Nuendo 3.0 also Adobe Audition 1.5 that I will be using for mixing and laying vocals.


Hey G seems to me you're asking the same thing about the compressor right? I believe what the manual is describing as the audio path is from the computer back thru the DAW out to your monitors, basically on the way out and inbetween your compter and your interface the plugin is inserted. And the order you place them in on your sequencer is the order the computer processses, but again from everything I know and hell I could be wrong, you cannot compress on the way in with a plug in.
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How to use compressor plugin while recording!?

Postby mag on Sat Dec 31, 2005 4:24 pm

yow i do that all the time but with protools, don't know if it'll work with cubase. Here's what i do. In 001 the mic comes up on AUX tracks 1 & 2,
let's say you're using one mic and it comes up on AUX 1, then you would bus the output to itself (bus 1) , then the audio track you're recording on,
you would bus the input to 1, then any plugin you put on AUX track 1 will
effect what ever your recording.
Keep volume low just incase u do it wrong, thing might get loud.
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Postby SoulFood on Sat Dec 31, 2005 5:37 pm

mag... no you can't, and you're not doing it (i don't mean to be rude or anything here :wink: )

This is your signal path:

source - mic - preamp - ADC - computer - plug-in

If you think a little, there is no way a plug-in could effect the sound coming to the computer.

Many people get confused because you can monitor the compressed signal as you're recording (hm... live?). and you can hear it's compressed. and it is! you're right! BUT it was compressed after the ADC. so a plug-in could never give you any protection from overloading the ADC (clipping)
I feel so smart when i ask you guys for advice!
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Postby Blue Bear Sound on Sat Dec 31, 2005 5:52 pm

SoulFood is 100% correct.........
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Postby Fragcon on Mon Jan 02, 2006 3:15 pm

so pretty much what ive learned from reading this is hardware clipping is bad :D
but if you are recording your inputs the right way you wont clip. just make sure the inputs levels are set low enough where you wont get clipping. You can raise the gain in the software later if you need too although I guess this adds noise.
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Postby tenchijin2 on Mon Jan 02, 2006 3:26 pm

Exactly, although the amount of noise you'd be adding might be negligible. The little bit of noise is FAR better than clipping.
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Postby GSpotSoldier on Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:58 am

I have been researching the E-mu 1820M
I emailed Emu Support and asked if the Compressor used in the sound card acted like a Hardware compressor- or - if I needed an outboard compressor. I asked if the software Compressor in the card affects the source(vocals) Pre-AD. This is what they said

Theoretically, they should both work, but each person has
there own opinion on how they like this. In any case, if you feel you don't
want the outboard gear, you don't need it.


Here is their email address for technical support.
EMU.Support@customercare.creative.com

Could someone email them and present the question and post their reply here.

They are pretty much saying the compressor function (effect) on the sound card acts like a hardware compressor, affecting the signal pre-AD, which would mean you dont need an outboard compressor.

I dont see how that is possible though, given what I have learned this far.
Is it possible the DSP "compressor" function in the sound card, acts as a hardware compressor, eliminating the need for an outboard compressor to Prevent clipping.
Well I thought I was smart and all being a Master Automotive Tech turned Electronics Engineer, with 1 year left of school, on top of 2 years of Psychology. But when it came to getting serious about my love of makeing R&B/Rap music and beatz, I had to turn here to get some knowledge from you other smart people. This is a mighty fine website. Rest in Peace to my fallen comrades, gone but never forgotten.
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Postby MASSIVE Mastering on Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:40 am

If it is a DSP compressor, it is, by design, a Digital Signal Processor.

Not that it would surprise me that someone at E-Mu would try to skirt the issue... :roll:

But someone answer me this - With the HUGE amount of headroom available in 24-bit digital recording, why, oh why, oh why would anyone record anything at a level that might, even under extreme circumstances, get anywhere NEAR full-scale?

There is NO reason for it... There is NO advantage to it... There is NOTHING to gain - It doesn't "make the noise louder" (or quieter), it doesn't INCREASE noise, it doesn't add distortion. It doesn't add to the "volume potential" during the mixing & mastering phases.

It DOES allow for additional dynamics. It keeps a signal MUCH closer to the electronic "sweet spot" of the gear being used to bring it in. You don't think that most analog gear (preamps, interfaces, etc.) is designed to actually sound good 12dB hotter than nominal, do you? It DOES afford the signal the precious headroom that allows the mix to sound more focused and clear when it's finished.

With all the headroom available in 24-bit audio, there's no excuse to "cook it" on the way in - Or during the mixing phase for that matter.

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Postby tenchijin2 on Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:28 am

YOu didn't ask the question specifically enough. I'm not sure why you asked in the first place, since the answer is right here.

Hardware and software compressors do the same things to the sound, but at DIFFERENT POINTS IN THE CHAIN.
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Postby MASSIVE Mastering on Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:24 pm

Yes, but the point was whether that unit compressed (limited) BEFORE or AFTER conversion - There is a HUGE difference as to where it happens.

There is little difference that either way is an incredibly bad idea.
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Postby GSpotSoldier on Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:59 pm

Well I am still learning here, and this is the question I asked them

E-mu 1820M- http://www.zzounds.com/a--3745/item--EMU1820M
The big question is: Do I need an outboard compressor to compress the vocal signal from the mic, or does the compressor built into the card(which if I am reading correctly acts as a hardware compressor)act as a outboard compressor would?

With the 1820m sound card, does the DSP compressor in the card act like an outboard compressor. In other words does it affect the vocal signal from the mic, or put another way, is the signal chain something like this Mic<Compressor function in the sound card<from the soundcard to my Multitrack Sequencer(like Cubase SX3). What i am trying to get at here is for instance does it have the same flow as outboard hardware. Like Mic<preamp<compressor<audio interface<sequencer(Cubase).
Basicly, do I still need an outboard compressor?

You see, let me put it this way to. Does it act like a hardware compressor or does it act like a compressor plugin?

Again-
So in essence the big question is: Do I need an outboard compressor to compress the vocal signal from the mic, or does the compressor built into the card(which if I am reading correctly acts as a hardware compressor)act as a outboard compressor would?

This was the first reply
Yes, and the rest is a matter of opinion and choice. Many engineers
like the sound of the outboard gear for a matter of having different choice
of tools to use. They both work the same, but may have a different
effect depending on your style of work.


Here is my second reply
So is the answer 1: YES I need an outboard compressor cause the DSP compressor function on the card affects the signal post-ADC
Or is it 2:YES the DSP compressor function on the card acts as a
outboard hardware compressor pre-ADC, eliminating the need for
an outboard compressor

This was there reply
Yes, the pre AD effects hardware compressor. And Yes to outboard
compressor, if you feel that the software compressor does not do the
job
for you. Theoretically, they should both work, but each person has
there
own opinion on how they like this. In any case, if you feel you don't
want the outboard gear, you don't need it.


Very confuseing, and probably not meant to be misleading, but it is.
Which is why I would ask the question.

I did read some threads that said that plugin type compressors are post ADC, but I downloaded the Emu 1820M and this is what it said that threw me off.
The PatchMix DSP Mixer is a virtual console which performs all of the functions of a typical hardware mixer and a multi-point patch bay. With PatchMix, you may not even need a hardware mixer. PatchMix DSP performs many audio operations such as ASIO/WAVE routing, volume control, stereo panning, equalization, effect processing, effect send/return routing, main mix and monitor control and allows you to store and recall these “Sessions” at will.
So that is why I emailed them and that is why I asked here. Thanks alot for helping me understand all this though. Still learning.
Well I thought I was smart and all being a Master Automotive Tech turned Electronics Engineer, with 1 year left of school, on top of 2 years of Psychology. But when it came to getting serious about my love of makeing R&B/Rap music and beatz, I had to turn here to get some knowledge from you other smart people. This is a mighty fine website. Rest in Peace to my fallen comrades, gone but never forgotten.
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Postby pianomiano1 on Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:49 pm

If some of you still think you can use your compressor plugin as a type of outboard/hardware compressor than test it out. Setup your "compressor" and record a loud sound into the mic making sure it barely clips on your preamp. If you playback your soundfile you'll see that the clip is still there.

As dozens have people said already, you cannot use a plugin compressor to prevent clipping. Clipping happens at the audio to digital conversion in the chain. Since a plugin is applied after the A/D converter (after all, a plugin is digital itself and can only be applied to a digital signal) then that plugin can do absolutely nothing to prevent clipping.

So technically, yes you could use it during tracking, but it's just like placing the plugin in the insert during mixdown, and it's not as effective as a real hardware compressor. One of the main reasons why people use a compressor in digital recordings in the first place is prevent clipping, something a plugin cannot do. So suck it up and buy FMR's RNC for 200 bucks or something!
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