Become a member
Become a member
Continuer avec Google

or
Log in
Log in
Se connecter avec Google

or
learning

How to Make Good Use of Presets

A guide to mixing music - Part 53

To close the chapter regarding dynamics processing once and for all, I'll give you my take on making good use of presets for this type of processors.

View other articles in this series...

As I already mentioned in the chapter dedicated to EQing, the main problem with presets is that the creator of the preset knew absolutely nothing about the signal you want to process. Furthermore, he or she couldn't read your mind and, thus, had no clue about what was your vision for the mix you're working on. However, unlike with EQs, that's all not that bad with dynamics processors, as long as you take some precautions...

Preset and match

While it's impossible for anybody to pretend to perfectly master the spectral content of a signal he or she has never listened to, it's a bit different when it comes to considering exclusively the dynamics of a well-identified instrument. In fact, if an electric guitar is correctly played and recorded, the impact of the way a musicians plays is, in a way, "minimal" regarding signal variations at the microdynamics level. Actually, a guitarist playing a funky rhythm part or a power chord will sound similar to another one playing the same. The distinction between the signal's attack and decay will be almost the same. So, chances are a preset aptly named "Power Guitar in your Face" will have adequately set attack and release times when you want to process a power guitar in your face, as long as it was conceived by a designer worthy of the name. Without going into any technical details, the same applies to the ratio and knee settings, and they should work more or less the same. Obviously, if it works for a guitar, it also works for any other instrument, as long as the preset is clearly designed for the purpose. But don't put words in my mouth, I never said the settings (time constants, knee, ratio) would be perfect. My point is that presets can be an excellent starting point and won't require too much time and effort to get a satisfactory result.

What are the precautions I mentioned in the intro?

Well, there are several ones, but the single most important one has to do with the threshold level. The creator of the preset couldn't possibly know when the signal you are processing "attacks" the plug-in. Consequently, the threshold of a preset is set in a more or less arbitrary way and, hence, won't be appropriate most of the times. To avoid such inconveniences, the first thing you should do as soon as you load a preset is to set the threshold to 0dB. Now start playback and set the threshold according to your needs. That may sound simplistic, but trust me, it makes all the difference in the world!

Another thing you should consider is the filter section of the sidechain. I don't think it's necessary to linger on the topic after what we said about it in the EQing chapter. But here I go again: The creator of the preset had absolutely no clue about the spectral content of your signal, so the filters are set at random. And it's up to you to adjust them to your signal.

Finally, if a preset messes with the dry/wet setting, you will most probably have to readjust it.

To finish, I would like to mention a couple of things. First, I wrote this article with compressors in mind. Nevertheless, all of this applies to noise gates, too. Second, even if the presets of dynamic processors can prove adequate, I still encourage you to take the time and explore yourself the settings that suit your signal best. At the end of the day, this is the best way for you to hone your skills and win confidence, which will not only be good for the production you are currently working on but also for all the ones to come.

← Previous article in this series:
Expanders, De-essers, Limiters and Dynamic EQs
Next article in this series:
Take a Break →

Vous souhaitez réagir à cet article ?

Log in
Become a member
cookies

We are using cookies!

Yes, Audiofanzine is using cookies. Since the last thing that we want is disturbing your diet with too much fat or too much sugar, you'll be glad to learn that we made them ourselves with fresh, organic and fair ingredients, and with a perfect nutritional balance. What this means is that the data we store in them is used to enhance your use of our website as well as improve your user experience on our pages (learn more). To configure your cookie preferences, click here.

We did not wait for a law to make us respect our members and visitors' privacy. The cookies that we use are only meant to improve your experience on our website.

Our cookies

Cookies not subject to consent

These are cookies that guarantee the proper functioning of Audiofanzine and allow its optimization. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

Website preferences

We store your preferences so that you do not have to re-enter them every time your come back (forums options, dark or light theme, classifieds filter, standard or buzz news, newsletters popups...).

Log in

This one makes sure you don't have to re-enter your credentials every time you visit Audiofanzine.

Analytics

This data allows us to understand the use that our visitors make of our website in an attempt to improve it.

Advertising

This information allows us to show you personalized advertisements thanks to which Audiofanzine is financed. By unchecking this box you will still have advertisements but they may be less interesting :)

We did not wait for a law to make us respect our members and visitors' privacy. The cookies that we use are only meant to improve your experience on our website.

Our cookies

Cookies not subject to consent

These are cookies that guarantee the proper functioning of Audiofanzine and allow its optimization. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

Website preferences

We store your preferences so that you do not have to re-enter them every time your come back (forums options, dark or light theme, classifieds filter, standard or buzz news, newsletters popups...).

Log in

This one makes sure you don't have to re-enter your credentials every time you visit Audiofanzine.

Analytics

This data allows us to understand the use that our visitors make of our website in an attempt to improve it.

Advertising

This information allows us to show you personalized advertisements thanks to which Audiofanzine is financed. By unchecking this box you will still have advertisements but they may be less interesting :)


You can find more details on data protection in our privacy policy.