Download this 40-minute workshop by Matthew Weiss, now for FREE! We just sent a download link to your inbox. I’ve got a video for you about setting the attack time on your compressor, and here’s the main lesson: Don’t make this process too complicated. There was an error submitting your subscription. If you work in another digital audio workstation, it’s likely the case that you have a similar compressor that came with your software. Start with a ratio between 2:1 and 4:1. We don’t have really the ability to sweep between two different things. Here, I’ve pulled up the stock Pro Tools compressor plug-in. But we don’t have a knob for the attack time. Think of the attack setting as the reaction time of the compressor. When the knob is pulled up for the fastest attack, this is going to be extra fast. Post questions below. Now you have a clear idea about the basic parameters, incorrect adjustment of attack and release times can also result to incorrect compression. For example, this a typical compressor behavior with the following parameters: As you can see, the output level reduces if the input is louder than -25dB. Ideally, based on the square wave audio above, the attack times should be less than 8ms to effectively compressed the wave which has a frequency of 62.5Hz. S here are two options. How do you hear the difference between those things? We have to take this knob and either pull it up or push it down for our two options, being it’s either going to be a fast attack or slow attack. In practical applications such as in mastering you can use: (adsbygoogle=window.adsbygoogle||[]).push({}); Copyright © 2009 – 2020 Emerson R. Maningo Music Publishing. This means that a fast attack time can put the vocal further back in the mix…which might be the exact opposite of what we want to achieve. It can be fast attack or slow attack. For example, if you have a close-miked snare drum that sounds very “spitty” you might want to use a fast attack time, say 10 ms or less. Attack time of a compressor decides the contents of the audio signal. Now, what do I mean by this? You can use it on almost anything. This requires very fast attack and release times. This is the Brainworx console. This is their E-Channel. So here is the SSL Channel Strip. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. Then, somewhere on the order of 1 millisecond. Instead, it gradually reduces the compression ratio until it reaches 1:1 again. You’ll hear a very clipped attack. If you’re trying to set the attack time here, I would say limit yourself to maybe three options. Using a really fast attack time means the compressor will clamp down on the transient of the vocal. The original hardware that inspired the CLA-76 is known for its superfast attack time of 50 microseconds, capable of dealing with the fastest transient material. At any rate, when there is an attack time, making it faster reduces the amount of attack that can sneak through, but can make the transient effect of the compressor working more obvious and turn the attack into a quick "pop", and also can overshoot the mark. This attenuation in volume is due to compression. This time is called the release time. Attack/Release times= 0.5* 1/f= 0.5 * 1/8000= 0.1ms It really depends on what you’re using the compressor for. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. … Making the release quick might also slow the attack slightly, though. Based on the above analysis, you can deduce: Attack time= 0.5 * (1/f) = where f is the frequency in hertz Release time has the same formula= 0.5(1/f), A. Let’s listen to how we can compress it. The faster attack time it has, the sound goes smoother and less aggressive. Typical attack and release times for mid frequencies ( 250Hz to 5000Hz). So I think that’s a different and better approach to take. So over here is our compressor section, got lots of different variable knobs, but again, we don’t have a separate knob for the attack time. Try out maybe around 100 microseconds, as your very, very fast time. The Ratio setting determines how much the compressor reduces or attenuatesthe signal. You can picture it out below ( the light gray color are the compressed output): As you can see in the above compressed square wave, you will notice that if the attack and release times are both set less than 8ms, you will get a naturally compressed wave for a frequency of 62.5Hz. So again, we really just have two different options. Categories: Music Mixing. So up here in the top right is the dynamics section. So that’s going to very much simplify your choices that you can make here and really what it boils down to is do you want to compress the transient or do you want the transient to go through? Right? Let’s focus on the attack knob here. You’ll need a slower attack time and a fairly quick release. A fast attack time is typically between 20 and 800us (microseconds) and slower times are in between 10 to 100 milliseconds. Vocals are highly transient and requires fast attack and release times. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. So I talk with engineers all the time and get asked questions, “How should I set this attack knob? On a technical level, the controls of a compressor are pretty simple. (+ 5 Ways to Use It), Black Friday Extended! Out of these, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. I’ve got this plug-in pulled up here on snare drum. The release times could not be actually the same with the attack times since these frequencies are the combination of melodies other instruments: Attack times= 2 ms to 20 ms Release times = 20ms to 200ms. For snare and kick, I used to use this trick all the time. This one requires experimentation. The reason is simple. If you are interested to find out the relationships between the input and output levels based on a given threshold and compression ratio, download this Excel sheet. So it’s really smoothing off that transient. Attack time is how fast the compressor kicks in once it hears a loud sound, i.e. Get 65% Off Mix Essentials. Fast Attack Speed (10 microseconds - 1 millisecond) With a fast attack speed, the compressor kicks in almost immediately, which is great if you’re trying to prevent signals from clipping or tame unruly peaks. This is how Neve approached creating a compressor based on the Neve console. Now start dialing the attack back (slower) until you hear more of … For example, if the compression ratio is set to 1:2 and the threshold is set at -20dB, this means that if the input level is -10dB (needs compression because it is above threshold), the output will be -20dB. The compressor formula assuming a De-Esser behaviour would be: For Input Levels > Threshold: Outputlevel = (Inputlevel – Threshold)/Ratio + Threshold. It’s 0.1 milliseconds, or 100 microseconds. Fast attack. Typical attack and release times for bass frequencies/low frequency band: (10Hz to 200Hz), Attack time= 0.5 (1/10Hz)= 50ms Release time = 0.5(1/10Hz) = 50ms, For highest possible bass: Attack time and release times= 0.5(1/200Hz) = 2.5ms. Solution: Stack two compressors. Assume our signal looks as follows: Sometimes, having too many options can make things worse. Even if you’re using a stock plug-in, just think about setting it fast, medium, or slow. We have a switch. Currently, he is a Professor of Audio Engineering Technology at Belmont University. Although in most cases, below are the most popular attack and release time setting for bass compression in mixing: In mastering since the bass spectrum consist of a mixdown of several bass instruments,(not just one frequency element such as illustrated in the example above) you can assign a higher attack and release times which is around 5 times.The actual setting depends on the audio material being mixed. So let me know what you guys think. That’s the fast time on the SSL. Attack times= 2 ms to 20 ms Release times = 20ms to 200ms. What do we have instead? One further point that is worth noting is that it is quite possible to set the attack time so fast that the compressor cuts into individual cycles of the signal’s waveform at low frequencies. We’ve got lots of different parameters that we can work with to change the sound of the compressor. The truth is in my response and my thought at least is I can’t really hear the difference, I’m not sure really anyone can hear the difference. Let’s look at some examples. Most parts of a drum kit utilize a fast attack time, like the kick and snare, and some kinds of singing, like rapping. C: Typical attack and release times for high frequencies > 8000Hz. Attack times= 2 ms to 20 ms Release times = 20ms to 200ms.