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Building A Dream Recording Studio (Page 4)
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subego  (op)
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Apr 3, 2014, 12:31 AM
 


Figure 27. Mics are blindfolded before being let into the arena as protection for their handlers and the other challengers.
     
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Apr 3, 2014, 12:43 AM
 
It's looking good. I can't wait for your first recorded dream.
     
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Apr 4, 2014, 12:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
It's looking good. I can't wait for your first recorded dream.
With my luck it will be that awkward one where my grandmother is 20, and totally hot.
     
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Apr 4, 2014, 11:28 PM
 
Speaking of hot, I saw Chris Pine in person today. He's just way too damned "pretty".
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Apr 5, 2014, 06:58 PM
 
Well, I said I wanted to tweak the room, and tweak I did...



Facing the other direction you have an untreated wall. Definitely cutting down on "roominess" without making it sound dead. Totally screws up the room as far as the monitors are concerned (you can see the computer peeking out on the right side of the frame), but the blankets are on hooks and can be taken down in about 10 seconds. Redeployment takes about a minute.

I'm blessed to have film gear. It was really nice to have C-stands for prototyping this setup before I started drilling holes in the ceiling.
( Last edited by subego; Apr 6, 2014 at 01:49 AM. )
     
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Apr 5, 2014, 07:19 PM
 
You know what deserves a mention? That chair. The studio is also a rehearsal space for the band.

It's a 9 person band.

This means almost every inch of the room used to have a chair in it. Mostly chairs which should have been thrown out. I had to sit in one for a rehearsal and my back was so ****ed up afterwards I took the whole next day off.

Enter the chair you see above. $40 on Amazon. It's surprisingly comfortable... and it stacks. After rehearsals, they just melt away into non-studio part of the basement.

Flash Furniture XU-8700-BLK-B-30-GG Hercules Series 1500-Pound High Density Black Fabric Stacking Chair with Sled Base:Amazon:Home & Kitchen


Edit: the one problem is the cellist can't use them because she needs a peg leg for that cello trap thingus.
( Last edited by subego; Apr 6, 2014 at 04:46 PM. )
     
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Apr 6, 2014, 12:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Speaking of hot, I saw Chris Pine in person today. He's just way too damned "pretty".
We have orchestral musicians in the band and they were talking about a famous composer, I can't remember which one. They were saying he was a "hottie". We Googled images, and it was definitely past "hottie" onto the "wow, he's pretty" end of the scale.

Edit: I'm getting pissed off I can't remember who it is, or find out by trawling GIS. The clues are it was a sketch, so probably pre-photography, but not early enough he was wearing a wig.
( Last edited by subego; Apr 6, 2014 at 01:43 AM. )
     
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Apr 6, 2014, 03:13 AM
 
Ha! Schubert!

     
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Apr 6, 2014, 04:10 AM
 
He's also quite dead.
     
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Apr 6, 2014, 05:12 AM
 
By his own prettiness.
     
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Apr 6, 2014, 06:45 PM
 
Well, here she is...



I'm about 90% wired up. I've already shown the left stack. The right is all the tube gear.

At the top, the one non-tube piece, a Chandler Abbey Road Curve Bender. Below that, a Manley Massive Passive. The bottom two cases each have an LA-2A and a Mercury 66, which is the guts of a Fairchild 660. They're split up because the shock mounts on the cases require a minimum loading, and 2 LA-2As aren't heavy enough. I also figure it's better heat-wise. The 66s are packing something ridiculous like 12 tubes. The LAs have three or four.

I dig these shock mount cases if only for the added ventilation they give the gear. Size and weight-wise, I of course prefer the non-shock mount ones on the left.

Tomorrow I actually start to get using it.
( Last edited by subego; Apr 6, 2014 at 07:50 PM. )
     
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Apr 6, 2014, 07:44 PM
 
In the final rounds of our testing, the Mojave MA-300 paired with the MSS-10 won out, but we had to abandon the VU meter on the MSS-10. It meters a constant tone properly, but the ballistics are just... off. It's a drag, because it was nice to be able to put the preamp anywhere. Now I need to have line-of-sight to the Coleman meters.

I've been using Colemans for, shit, close to 20 years. They work properly. There's not much more you can say about them.
     
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Apr 6, 2014, 08:30 PM
 
Oooh... this will cause some controversy. We had a headphone shoot-out. From low to high:

Sony V6
Sennheiser HD 25 II (this is totally not the headphone to use, I just happen to have a crapload because they're good "field" headphones for location sound work. Light, bulletproof, most of the parts can be replaced, and uncomfortable as ****)
AKG 702
Bose QuietComfort 15
Ultrasone Signature Pro

The band leader thinks the Ultrasones sound the best, but after playing around, wants to track with the Bose. The noise canceling is too seductive. I'm getting a pair of PSBs in here, stat, but I'm going to need to be patient, and let them break in for a bit. My old, 1st gen. iPod Shuffle has been drafted into pink noise duty for most of the last three months. Right now it's doing a bunch of V6s as our "on hand" headphones for people who don't have their own, which in this band is almost everybody.
( Last edited by subego; Apr 6, 2014 at 08:41 PM. )
     
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Apr 7, 2014, 07:36 AM
 
STAX earspeakers, best cans on Earth. Audeze are pretty good too.
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Apr 7, 2014, 11:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Oooh... this will cause some controversy. We had a headphone shoot-out. From low to high:

Sony V6
Sennheiser HD 25 II (this is totally not the headphone to use, I just happen to have a crapload because they're good "field" headphones for location sound work. Light, bulletproof, most of the parts can be replaced, and uncomfortable as ****)
AKG 702
Bose QuietComfort 15
Ultrasone Signature Pro

The band leader thinks the Ultrasones sound the best, but after playing around, wants to track with the Bose. The noise canceling is too seductive. I'm getting a pair of PSBs in here, stat, but I'm going to need to be patient, and let them break in for a bit. My old, 1st gen. iPod Shuffle has been drafted into pink noise duty for most of the last three months. Right now it's doing a bunch of V6s as our "on hand" headphones for people who don't have their own, which in this band is almost everybody.
I've tracked with high-end Ultrasones, and those things were so incredibly real it was unreal.

I'd imagine the noice-cancellation in the Bose would be really weird in live-tracking situations. I think they'd drive me crazy. BUT: I've never tried them.

I do most of my headphone work with ancient Sennheiser HD540 cans, and a pair of Sony-somethings when I need sealed ones.

Honestly: For tracking, it really doesn't matter that much IMO. The guys need to be hearing what's going on, and unless you go with complete trash, whatever they get will be way better than their typical stage sound. For mixing on-the-go, go with the Ultrasone.
     
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Apr 7, 2014, 02:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
STAX earspeakers, best cans on Earth. Audeze are pretty good too.
The Stax have one problem, and one potential problem.

The problem is studio shit gets beat up. I'm already uncomfortable about the Ultrasones getting trashed.

The potential problem is I'm pretty sure the Stax aren't closed, so you'd get bleed back into the mic.


For reference during mixing, Stax would be the way to go. Either that or the HD 800, which I actually have.
( Last edited by subego; Apr 7, 2014 at 02:17 PM. )
     
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Apr 7, 2014, 02:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I've tracked with high-end Ultrasones, and those things were so incredibly real it was unreal.

I'd imagine the noice-cancellation in the Bose would be really weird in live-tracking situations. I think they'd drive me crazy. BUT: I've never tried them.

I do most of my headphone work with ancient Sennheiser HD540 cans, and a pair of Sony-somethings when I need sealed ones.

Honestly: For tracking, it really doesn't matter that much IMO. The guys need to be hearing what's going on, and unless you go with complete trash, whatever they get will be way better than their typical stage sound. For mixing on-the-go, go with the Ultrasone.
That's pretty much what I figured, and my brief experience with the Hear Back is: nifty, but the amp is total garbage. We have a nice amp for tests during mixing.
     
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Apr 7, 2014, 06:51 PM
 
Hah....this is a great project, but I'm still astounded over the rat. It's just a rat. Whack it, say a Sorry to your deity of choice if you feel so inclined, and continue on with your day content in the knowledge you've only partially avenged the bubonic plague.
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Apr 7, 2014, 08:08 PM
 
As far as can be told, the rat has moved on to the next stage of rat existence.
     
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Apr 7, 2014, 08:09 PM
 
Honorable mention in the "glad I have film gear" department:

Dolly Wedges.

     
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Apr 8, 2014, 12:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The Stax have one problem, and one potential problem.

The problem is studio shit gets beat up. I'm already uncomfortable about the Ultrasones getting trashed.

The potential problem is I'm pretty sure the Stax aren't closed, so you'd get bleed back into the mic.


For reference during mixing, Stax would be the way to go. Either that or the HD 800, which I actually have.
They are all open, now. For several years STAX made the 4070 model, which was a sealed `stat specifically for studio work, but now they've been discontinued and finding a set that hasn't been beaten to hell is nearly impossible (they made about 1500). It took me 3 months to locate a NOS pair, but completely worth it. I like the Senns HD800s for gaming and 3D audio, they have a massive soundstage, but to me they're a little too cold for music.
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Apr 8, 2014, 12:37 AM
 
I'll probably cave and get a Stax, but it's made extra hard by hating headphones with a fiery passion.

Speaking of headphones, something which is annoying me about using the Hear Back (though this isn't their fault, unlike the crappy amp) is having to make cat5 cables. God damn what a tedious pain in my ass. I'd buy some, and in fact did, but they arrived coiled like a snake, and are way too stiff to ever lay flat without laying weights* on it. I have an ancient box of bulk cable which is well behaved, but **** it's still a pain in my ass putting connectors on.


*Another honorable mention to some film gear: the "shot bag". Fifteen pounds of lead shot in a flat, foldable bag with a carrying handle. Really has a thousand-and-one uses. I keep two in my trunk to stop shit from rolling around, but you can use them to prop a door open, or weigh down a hamper the cat keeps jumping in.
     
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Apr 8, 2014, 12:49 AM
 
BTW, I'm making a grand total of three cables, and I have all the proper tools.

What a ****ing whiner.
     
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Apr 8, 2014, 04:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
I like the Senns HD800s for gaming and 3D audio, they have a massive soundstage, but to me they're a little too cold for music.
For mixing, you don't want "pretty"; you want "true".
     
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Apr 8, 2014, 07:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
For mixing, you don't want "pretty"; you want "true".
They're too bright and "brittle", with exaggerated treble energy from 6-10kHz, not neutral or "true".
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Apr 8, 2014, 03:27 PM
 
Our shoot-out methodology is to take a song we know well, usually something Beatles or Stones, and pick the one which is closest to how the song should sound, as in a blend of the hundreds of different sources we've heard that song played through.

Of the ones I picked, they're all decently flat, maybe excepting the Sonys. The deciding factor ended up being things other than sound... I mean, we're using Bose.
     
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Apr 8, 2014, 08:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Our shoot-out methodology is to take a song we know well, usually something Beatles or Stones, and pick the one which is closest to how the song should sound, as in a blend of the hundreds of different sources we've heard that song played through.

Of the ones I picked, they're all decently flat, maybe excepting the Sonys. The deciding factor ended up being things other than sound... I mean, we're using Bose.
I'm glad you said this. I was thinking Bose QuietComfort 15s were an odd choice for a dream recording studio, but I had to check myself. This is actually a great way to test what most are listening on. Or at least, the theory in sound-shaping used by most standard audio gear out there. I use a pair of KRK Rokit 5s w/ sub or Klipsch Image S4i in-ear for knowing what's what and the only problems they've had were my own fault.
ebuddy
     
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Apr 9, 2014, 10:44 PM
 
Everybody who does anything even remotely technical should get one of these:



Magnetized and dry erase.


http://www.ifixit.com/Store/Tools/Ma...-Mat/IF145-167
     
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Apr 10, 2014, 12:16 AM
 
I usually use ice cube trays.
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Apr 10, 2014, 01:48 AM
 
That's a really good idea I've never thought of.

I've been spoiled by ice makers.

And project mats.
( Last edited by subego; Apr 10, 2014 at 01:58 AM. )
     
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Apr 10, 2014, 03:27 AM
 
One of the things I am envious about is that whole ProTools for iPad remote control surface dealie. It's pretty sweet.

If only I had followed everyone's advice.

     
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Apr 10, 2014, 02:35 PM
 
This is making the rounds:



It's funny, but damn that cable's been to hell and back. Be nice to your cable.
     
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Apr 11, 2014, 05:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
I usually use ice cube trays.
Yep.

     
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Apr 12, 2014, 06:20 AM
 
Yesterday was reverb day, and the rat got some revenge. One of the cables he nommed on was to the remote for the outboard reverb. Put in a new DB9 cable. Remote powers up, but does nothing. Look at the manual, it has some BS pinout. Go home. Frankenstein the chewed cable back together. The only way I could strip the super thin wires was using the hair's worth of space between the holes on my wire stripper. Needless to say, not the first thing I tried.

Get back. Same thing. Outboard reverb is abandoned. Time wasted: 5 hours.

Plan B is "inboard" reverb. Luckily, no latency problems with the Space Designer plugin. One issue is the monitor is behind where I've built the sound "tent", so there's no way to know what setting you're on while in the tent. I was going to have to call out names as needed.

Then I had an idea.

An idea in no way ridiculous or inelegant (spoilered for minor NSFW content in the background).

 


I put an iPad in front of the monitor and FaceTimed to another iPad in the same room, six feet away.
     
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Apr 12, 2014, 06:26 AM
 
Yay Technology!

The Logic Remote doesn't do that...? Hm.
     
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Apr 12, 2014, 04:21 PM
 
Not that I could find. Smart controls gives you controls, but no name.
     
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Apr 12, 2014, 05:07 PM
 
Big recommendation to that iPad holder (arm not included). I've tried several and I like this one the most. Comes with its own clamp and short arm to clip to the stand beneath the mic, but the holder itself is also threaded for a mic stand, so you can use it on its own. That's the way I prefer it, and how it is in the pic. I carry it to wherever I need, and I have Logic Remote good to go, or Pandora during down times.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B007K7...&robot_redir=1
     
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Apr 12, 2014, 05:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Big recommendation to that iPad holder (arm not included). I've tried several and I like this one the most. Comes with its own clamp and short arm to clip to the stand beneath the mic, but the holder itself is also threaded for a mic stand, so you can use it on its own. That's the way I prefer it, and how it is in the pic. I carry it to wherever I need, and I have Logic Remote good to go, or Pandora during down times.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B007K7...&robot_redir=1
Well, thanks for that!

Actually, the arm is what intrigues me the most — is it crap, since you've excluded it from your recommendation?
I've found the local equivalent (it's marketed in Germany via Amazon by a company called "DRALL INSTRUMENTS"):
iPad-Tischhalterung für Tisch Befestigung - drehbar: Amazon.de: Elektronik

It's the first solution I've seen that looks like it will let me mount the iPad to the rear strut of a double-level keyboard stand, rather than requiring another mic stand.

Since the clips are available after-market, I assume it will be easily adaptable to my next iPad, when Apple released a new one this fall...
     
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Apr 12, 2014, 06:02 PM
 
Nothing against the arm, just never needed it, so I'm not in a position to comment.

The original idea was to have a sound board, and have the drummer work a few sound cues. No mic for him, so something meant to clip under a mic isn't what was needed. It seems decent looking at it.

I don't know if they offer replacement clips for new models, but the current one has clips for all the models available now. Edit: saw you said they are. Cool!

The clips are nice and secure, too. I did the "hold it so the iPad is face down over the couch and try to shake the pad out of the holder" test. It stayed firmly in the mount.
     
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Apr 12, 2014, 06:04 PM
 
Re: rear keyboard stand strut.

What stand do you have? I'll eyeball it and offer an opinion.
     
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Apr 12, 2014, 06:25 PM
 
The clips:
1x Erweiterungsclips für Halterung 'IP1' & 'IP2' auf: Amazon.de: Elektronik

I've got this one:
K&M 18880 Keyboard-Ausbautisch silber
plus this stacker for the second level:
K&M 18881 Stacker A SI

As well as this one:
K&M 18990 Keyboardständer
plus these stackers for the second level:
K&M 18941 Aufsatz für Keyboardständer

I'd like something that attaches to the vertical strut of the stackers.
     
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Apr 12, 2014, 06:42 PM
 
Oh... that should work. I was imagining one of those single strut, triangular jobbies.

If it helps, the max opening of the clamp is 29 mm. If you slide the arm all the way to one end of the clamp, that gives you about 15 cm worth of extension.
     
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Apr 12, 2014, 06:47 PM
 
Oh... when I said "arm not included", I meant the boom arm it's attached to in the pic doesn't come with the holder.
     
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Apr 17, 2014, 01:32 AM
 
Okay. Let's talk compression.

First, am I getting this right? The main reason you'd want to use it is to make a track sound louder without boosting the max. level?

Second, everything I've tried so far sounds boxy. Like I'm, well... compressing it. This is the exact opposite of what I'm looking for. I want it to sound open.

Is this too much compression? Is it the room acoustics coming to haunt me? Something else?
     
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Apr 17, 2014, 03:10 AM
 
I'm leaning towards it being the room.

I'm jacking up the volume on room tone which is too quiet to hear before compression.
     
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Apr 17, 2014, 03:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Okay. Let's talk compression.

First, am I getting this right? The main reason you'd want to use it is to make a track sound louder without boosting the max. level?
Absolutely not - at least not at the recording/mixing stage!

The reason you want to use compression is to reduce the spikes in the signal that make the signal "jump out" of the mix.
See an extreme case here:
Aloe Blacc - Need a Dollar live in the Studio
The individual signals are so compressed to hell that there is actually zero dynamics there — it's actually a terribly boring mix musically, but Aloe's performance saves it, and the heavily compressed feel gives it a bit of a vintage vibe. But check out the piano: it's smashed to hell, but sitting prettily and controllably at a fixed level pretty far back in the mix.

That's an extreme example, but the basic idea is the same even when used subtly and barely audibly

If you have a signal that's already sitting perfectly in the mix and sounding great and balanced without compression, DON'T TOUCH IT.

The other reason for using compression is as a sound-shaping tool: a slammed piano, or a completely smashed drumset can be a great effect.
Check out the drums on this thing (which IMO is just awesome):
Mogwai - You Don't Know Jesus
and the spectacularly broken (but great) piano sound on here:
Rolling Stones - She's a Rainbow

If you're looking to give, say, drums more "punch" without losing the air around them, look into parallel compression: Feed the drum bus (with or without room mics) into a compressor on an aux bus.

There's also compression at the mastering stage, where it ideally should be used to tighten the mix and move things a bit into line — only if necessary (there is no reason a mastering engineer would ever have to compress a well-balanced mix).
In actual reality, this is where compression IS USED TO MAKE EVERY SONG IN THE UNIVERSE THE HELL LOUDER THAN EVERYTHING ELSE YOU'VE EVER HEARD BECAUSE ****ING RECORD EXECUTIVES HAVE SHIT FOR BRAINS THAT'S CLOGGING THEIR ****ING EARS.

Rule of thumb (as with most things audio engineering): unless you're actually using it for effect (which is fine if that's what you want), if you notice the compressor, you're using it wrong.
( Last edited by Spheric Harlot; Apr 17, 2014 at 03:31 AM. )
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 17, 2014, 03:24 AM
 
So, and I apologize if this is stupid, too simplistic, or I'm completely missing you, what I want it for is to clamp down on something, not boost it?
     
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Apr 17, 2014, 06:17 AM
 
Basically. It's about controlling.

If you can't hear something, don't turn it up; turn everything else down. Same principle as with an EQ.
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 17, 2014, 03:48 PM
 
Okay... I apologize again if this is a stupid question...

Any DAW gives you pinpoint level control with the fader. Unless I'm going for some effect, why would I use a compressor instead of riding the levels?
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 19, 2014, 03:40 PM
 
The other thing is there seems to be no amount of compression I can use which doesn't sound "compressed". Any thoughts on the idea I'm jacking up yucky room tone we can't hear uncompressed?
     
 
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