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#385722 - 12/22/16 01:06 PM [Beginners Forum] Compressor Basics For RealBand / Band-in-a-Box / PowerTracks
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A compressor levels volume and is an essential tool. PG Music provides a very good compressor that can be used during recording, mixing or mastering. The link below provides some guidelines to using PG Music's compressor:

++ PG Music's Compressor Guidelines ++
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#386332 - 12/25/16 11:24 AM [Beginners Forum] Re: Compressor Basics For RealBand / Band-in-a-Box / PowerTracks [Re: Jim Fogle]
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railway mark Offline
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Thanks for sharing this, Jim! In my time dabbling with RealBand, I didn't realize that it included an upward compressor. They're nice for leveling things out so that you don't feel like you have to "grab a fader" and also help to bring out detail.

It's interesting that "sensible" software designers tend to err on the side of transparency and moderation with it comes to compression. The SAWStudio DAW includes a look-ahead compressor so good that you don't even knows it's there when it's running: it just evens out the mix beautifully. It sounds like PG Music took a similar approach when integrating compression.


Edited by railway mark (12/25/16 11:25 AM)
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#430056 - 09/17/17 08:30 AM [Beginners Forum] Re: Compressor Basics For RealBand / Band-in-a-Box / PowerTracks [Re: Jim Fogle]
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Warren Keller Offline
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Jim, Why are the Threshold and Ratio knobs linked? I'm trying to use the PG Dynamics Compressor as the article describes, but as I lower threshold to only affect the quiet parts of the solo, the ratio changes too, and vice versa. I needed a 2.5:1 'Ratio' to boost the weak beginning, and the 'Threshold' came up to -35 dB. That being said, it seemed to achieve the result I wanted, with the soft parts getting louder and the loud parts not getting louder. Thanks!


Edited by Warren Keller (09/17/17 08:40 AM)
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#430058 - 09/17/17 08:41 AM [Beginners Forum] Re: Compressor Basics For RealBand / Band-in-a-Box / PowerTracks [Re: Jim Fogle]
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rharv Offline
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Warren, I don't see that happening, have you loaded a certain preset to observe this?

I do sometimes see the Output Gain dial move, but only if I have the AutoGain check box enabled.
I do not recall seeing the Ratio knob move.
Then again I'm old and may have forgot!
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#430118 - 09/17/17 06:34 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: Compressor Basics For RealBand / Band-in-a-Box / PowerTracks [Re: Warren Keller]
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Warren,

As Rharv stated the Output Gain knob should not move unless the Auto Gain checkbox is checked. When the Auto Gain checkbox is checked the Output Gain knob will move as the compressor Ratio and Threshold knobs are adjusted.

Auto Gain adjusts the Output Gain knob to keep the output level at an approximate good level.

This action is explained in the Help file opened when the question mark button is depressed.


Attachments
dynamics.jpg


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#430120 - 09/17/17 07:00 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: Compressor Basics For RealBand / Band-in-a-Box / PowerTracks [Re: Jim Fogle]
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Warren Keller Offline
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Ahh, guys, I used the 'Audio Effects/Compressor' rather than the 'PG Dynamics' plugin. I'd generally stick with a plugin, but since the track had so much disparity, I wanted to apply/fix rather than depend on the plugin later. At any rate, it's the 'Audio Effects' Compressor that was exhibiting that behavior, with the two knobs working in conjunction.

I got the feeling it was an upwards compressor, while the plugin is a downward compressor, is that right?

And one more thing guys, I can open Help directly from the menu, but clicking any of the '?' or "Help' in a dialog, takes me out to a Microsoft website with error. Anyone know why? This happened both when I was running RB from the external drive, and now that I'm running from the C drive. Thanks guys!
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#430124 - 09/17/17 07:43 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: Compressor Basics For RealBand / Band-in-a-Box / PowerTracks [Re: Warren Keller]
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VideoTrack Offline
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Originally Posted By: Warren Keller
...And one more thing guys, I can open Help directly from the menu, but clicking any of the '?' or "Help' in a dialog, takes me out to a Microsoft website with error. Anyone know why? ...


1: What exactly is the Microsoft error message?

2: Can you provide a sample of the steps that you took to get to the '?' or 'Help' in a dialog?

Presumably, this Help button is the one that works:


Attachments
2017-09-18_12-37-09.jpg


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#430143 - 09/18/17 12:47 AM [Beginners Forum] Re: Compressor Basics For RealBand / Band-in-a-Box / PowerTracks [Re: Jim Fogle]
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My guess is that those are the old format help files that Microsoft no longer supports. You used to be able to apply a special patch in Windows 7 and Windows 8 to use those help files, but Microsoft dropped support completely from Windows 10 (no patch available). If you are running Windows 7 or 8, PM me and I can send you the patch file.
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#430144 - 09/18/17 01:37 AM [Beginners Forum] Re: Compressor Basics For RealBand / Band-in-a-Box / PowerTracks [Re: jford]
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Good point John, I think you're on the money. Without knowing what version the O/P is running makes it hard to guess.
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#430175 - 09/18/17 08:07 AM [Beginners Forum] Re: Compressor Basics For RealBand / Band-in-a-Box / PowerTracks [Re: Jim Fogle]
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And if that's the case, those files need to be updated accordingly to support Windows 10 going forward.
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#430187 - 09/18/17 08:31 AM [Beginners Forum] Re: Compressor Basics For RealBand / Band-in-a-Box / PowerTracks [Re: Jim Fogle]
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Warren Keller Offline
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Right, the help drop-down menu takes me to the help file no problem. But again, if I click the question mark or help buttons within dialog boxes it takes me out to the web to a Microsoft support page- "Error opening help in Windows-based programs feature not included or help not supported." It goes on to say that it's not supported in Windows 10 and that developers shouldn't rely on .hlp files and rather to transition to CHM, HTML, or XML.

Let's get back to those compressor questions when you get time. :>) Thanks!


Edited by Warren Keller (09/18/17 08:48 AM)
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#430226 - 09/18/17 02:16 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: Compressor Basics For RealBand / Band-in-a-Box / PowerTracks [Re: Jim Fogle]
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rharv Offline
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From the manual -

The PG Dynamics compressor is a downward compressor with make-up gain.
A downward compressor works by making loud signals softer. After loud passages have been made quieter by the
compressor, you can apply make-up gain to raise the final audio level.

If I recall, you are correct that the hard write Compressor is upwards.

From searching help and looking at the hard written effects section:
The RealBand compressor is an upward compressor. An upward compressor works by making quiet signals louder.

So you reached the correct conclusions
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#462001 - 03/13/18 03:28 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: Compressor Basics For RealBand / Band-in-a-Box / PowerTracks [Re: Jim Fogle]
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Warren Keller Offline
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I'd think that upwards compressors are the noisier of the two, pushing weaker signal to match stronger? I finally have a pretty good handle on the real-time downwards plugin! Anyone care to say more about the Expander/Gate and its settings? Thanks!
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#462014 - 03/13/18 04:08 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: Compressor Basics For RealBand / Band-in-a-Box / PowerTracks [Re: Jim Fogle]
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rharv Offline
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Expander/Gate needs to be listened to in SOLO mode.
Sometimes you may not really notice in a mix when it is cutting out some sound and making it un-natural .. until later.

I avoid any Expander/Gate use whenever possible (disable).

It has a very defined use.
Mostly used in rare audio editing that is non music related for me (cleaning poor recordings, like removing background noise from a conversation recorded in a vehicle for example), or even more rare, when inverting a signal to cancel other noise.

Gates can be nice in live settings, but really shouldn't be needed much in a studio setting. IMHO


Edited by rharv (03/13/18 04:09 PM)
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#462165 - 03/14/18 03:10 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: Compressor Basics For RealBand / Band-in-a-Box / PowerTracks [Re: Jim Fogle]
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wish Offline
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Thanks Jim for the thread.
Should we use a compressor for backing tracks with no vocals?
I use Audacity to normalise and another program (MP3..something?) to try and get the volumes all the same.
Thanks
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#462168 - 03/14/18 03:48 PM [Beginners Forum] Re: Compressor Basics For RealBand / Band-in-a-Box / PowerTracks [Re: Warren Keller]
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rharv Offline
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Originally Posted By: Warren Keller
I'd think that upwards compressors are the noisier of the two, pushing weaker signal to match stronger? I finally have a pretty good handle on the real-time downwards plugin! Anyone care to say more about the Expander/Gate and its settings? Thanks!


When a downward compressor limits the sound there is also a gain dial to bring the volume back up (to compensate for lost volume).
What do you think happens to the noise floor once you start pushing the gain up on a noise level that has not been compressed? It goes up too .. just sayin'.
A compressor isn't about noise removal, that should already have happened with gain staging and signal routing.
Unless you got handed noisy tracks to work with, there's usually no reason to have them. <grin>
The gate/expander is meant to help condition the sound pre-compressor, but when used together with the compressor right after, the settings between the two can be tricky, you have to listen close so you don't cause some un-natural or sterile sound. Too much Gate making the compressor choppy, weirdness like that.
And every track will be different, so it's hard to recommend any settings. Try some presets. See what gets close then tinker with it.
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