Compression — Expansion — and those other things

Today I want to dig in to compression and expansion. I understand compression. I am starting to understand expansion. I really don’t understand the difference between “downward compression” (the typical) and “upward compression” (not so typical).

Waves has a plugin — MV2 — that combines an upward compressor and a downward compressor. Warren Huart (Produce Like A Pro Academy) thinks highly of it.

I am confident that the iZotope Neutron 2 processor can function similarly to the MV2. There are 2 compressors, both of which can do downward compression (positive ratios) and upward compression (negative ratios).

Set Compressor 1 to the negative ratio and “upward” threshold, set Compressor 2 to the positive ration and “downward” threshold. Use the output gain control to adjust.

Now we get to try it in practice.

Expanding on Compression: 3 Overlooked Techniques for Improving Dynamic Range

Expanding on Compression: 3 Overlooked Techniques for Improving Dynamic Range:

“When many engineers say ‘compression’, what they mean is “downward compression.” In other words, bringing down the level of the signal above the threshold that you set on your compressor, to make louder things quieter. But all too often, we forget about upward compression, where quieter sounds are brought up to the threshold point; this technique can be quite handy in certain situations for a more transparent effect (it can also be approximated with parallel compression, if you don’t have an upward-compressor on hand).

Reference pointer for my Compression post coming up.

iZotope RX Mastering Tips

10 Common Uses for Audio Restoration in Mastering

4. Removing unwanted distortion Every once and a while you get a project that has audible distortion. It could be undesirable clipping, or it could be something else entirely. All you know, from your vantage point, is that the distortion is undesirable to you.

But it might not be undesirable to the band. Your first move is to call the point person on the production team and ask if that distortion is intended. If it isn’t, your next move is to contact the engineer, if you can, and negotiate a better mix. This option isn’t always on the table, so luckily software like RX has ways to fight this distortion—tools which can, to some extent, repair mangled material.

A lot of the time the De-clip module does the trick, even if the material isn’t clipping per se. The process is relatively simple: highlight the passage that is distorting, have the module suggest its processing, audition the results, and tinker to taste.

Repairing distortion is best done in specific, sporadic places, and not across passages of more than a couple of seconds—and that’s speaking liberally. You may have to spend a bit of time to get all the nasty bits, but it’s still worth it.

Sometimes, the distortion is more of a high-end crackle than a clip. Here, the De-crackle module, tuned to attenuate high-frequency distortions, can often work.

I have a very particular live performance in mind. Recorded a guitar (DI) that was using some form of distortion — pedal or amp, not sure. Unfortunately detracts from some of the songs, can’t really remove the guitar. My case isn’t mastering, I have an isolated track. Need to try the “De-crackle” and “De-clip”. The track(s) don’t clip. Challenging.

Applying in practice. As I suspected the De-clip module doesn’t touch the distorted audio. The clipping got recorded at about -12 dB soooo.

De-crackle made a nice dent in the scratchy top-end of the distortion. Basically maxed out the settings, soloed the crackles, made things better. Nice to know.

How to move Logic’s additional content to a secondary drive — Logic Pro Music

How to move Logic’s additional content to a secondary drive — Logic Pro Music

One of the strengths of the symlink is that the system treats it as a path to a location. This is why it stays intact even when updating your libraries.

The joys of different file systems.

For the most part the “right” way to deal with the Mac file system(s) is to use aliases. They work like a charm. Except when they don’t.

Symlinks to external drives is a great way to help with massive library locations.

Now if there were enough ports on the laptops. 1TB SSD prices are down low. Mostly depends on the device speeds — USB3 enclosures should allow 100+Mbyte/sec transfers, but it sure is nice to have 300+ MB/sec on an internal SSD. Those orchestral libraries take an eon to load.

I guess for my ideal music machine I want 4TB of superfast SSD, 64GB+ of RAM, 8 cores or more. iMac Pro gets close — could I get rid of the screen and add more storage please?