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Dynamic processing

Coursera's Introduction to Music Production Assignment 4.
by

Timur Krekov

on 1 April 2013

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Transcript of Dynamic processing

Dynamic processors Compression means that any signal that tries to exceed a set "threshold" level will not be allowed to increase as much. In other words the compressor turns down the maximum passages so they won't be as loud. Compression is used to even out the volume of the music so that all passages are more even. Compressors Limiters In limiter the signal will not be allowed to exceed the threshold level at all.
Limiters are used to prevent distortion by setting the threshold control just below the distortion level. The limiter then prevents any peak from getting to the level where it would distort. Gates Gate turns off the signal when it falls below the threshold level. A range control is included so that signal can just be turned down rather than completely off.
Gates are used to get rid of noise and leakage when the instrument is not playing. This is done by setting the threshold level lower than the level of the signal but higher than the level of the noise or leakage. Expansion means that any signal that falls bellow the threshold level will be made to go even lower in level than it would without expansion.
One use of expansion is to "undo" the over-use of compression. Another use would be to make low level sounds (like mechanical sounds of instruments) less noticeable. Expanders Downward compression Upward compression Reduces loud sounds, leaves quiet sounds unchanged. Boosts quiet sounds, leaves loud sounds unchanged. Dynamic processing controls The threshold control adjusts the level where the dynamic processor will start to work. In a compressor or limiter when the loud passages at the input exceed the threshold level set, the unit will turn down these loud passages. In an expander or gate, the unit will turn down any incoming signals that are below the threshold level. The threshold is usually adjustable by a control marked "threshold." Reducing the threshold level means that more peaks of the signal will trigger the compressor to turn down the gain; increasing the threshold level means that an expander or gate will turn down more low-level signals. Threshold Ratio The ratio control determines how much the signals that are being compressed or expanded will be turned down.
If a compressor has a 2:1 ratio, the compressor will turn down the gain so that if the input signal is 2dB above the threshold level, the output increases only one dB.
At a 4:1 ratio the input signal has to be 4 dB above the threshold for the output to increase 1 dB.
When the ratio control is set to 10:1 or more, the compressor is called a limiter because the unit is effectively preventing the peak levels from increasing any significant degree above the threshold level.
Expanders also have ratios. An expansion ratio of 1:2 means that if the input signal drops 1 dB below the threshold level and the gain will be reduced so that the output is 2 dB below the threshold level. If an expander has a very high expansion ratio, it becomes a gate. Attack & Release Attack time is how fast the dynamics processor will react to a signal crossing the threshold level, going up. In a compressor it is the time it takes the compressor to reduce gain on a high-level passage. On an expander, it is the time that the expander takes to restore full gain after the audio level comes up after a low level passage. Release time is how fast the dynamics processor will react to a signal crossing the threshold level, going down. In a compressor, it is the time it takes the unit to restore gain after the high-level passage is over with. In an expander, it is the time the expander takes to turn down a low level passage (below the threshold level). Very generally speaking, fast attack times are good. Release times should be adjusted for the frequency and how percussive the signal is. Compressors for bass signals must not be set to a very short release time or the gain will be changed within one cycle, causing distortion. Generally speaking, the fastest release time that sounds natural is the best for both compression and expansion. Knee Knee controlls how abruptly or gradually the compression ratio is applied to the signal when the signal is near the set threshold level.
A Hard Knee means that the full compression ratio is applied to any signal above the threshold level.
A Soft Knee means that a mild compression ratio is applied to signals approaching the threshold level and that the ratio is increased as the signal rises above the threshold level; the full compression ratio is applied to signals well above the threshold level.
The soft knee makes the gain reduction less obvious - sort of like turning down the volume of a stereo slowly rather than abruptly. Soft knee is used in applications where you are using a compressor to even out volume changes in an instrument. Hello again! I am Timur from Moscow, Russia. It's for cousera's Introduction to Music Production course, assignment 4. Let's talk about concept behind dynamic processors and their main parameters: threshold, ratio, attack and release Bye! Thanks for reading all those characters! That's pretty boring presentation today.
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