Saturday, March 19, 2016

How to Set Up a Vocal Compressor Chain

When vocals are mastered, one of the steps involves using a vocal compressor chain. This makes it possible to send the vocals through several compressors to improve the quality and sound of the audio. Compressors are chains of filters that work to remove unwanted high and low frequencies. Most compressors have a combination of high-pass and low-pass filters. The high-pass filter will allow frequencies above a certain frequency to "pass" through without being removed. Low-pass filters work in the same way, but they cut off frequencies below a designated threshold. This is useful for removing high hissing and low thumping artifacts.

Step 1 Open your audio editing program. You can use Audacity, Sonar, Peak Pro or any number of similar audio editing programs.

Step 2 Navigate to the "Effect" menu and select the "Compressor" option. In some audio programs, this menu will be labeled as "Audio Effects." GarageBand and Logic Studio have the compressor listed under the "Edit" menu.

Step 3 Create a "Dynamic Range Compressor" first in the chain by setting the following values in your compressor. "Threshold" should be set to -12 decibels. Set "Ratio to "2:1" and change the attack time to "0.2" seconds. This step in the chain will ensure that the dynamics are "even" throughout the recording.

Step 4 Select the "High-pass Filter" from the "Effect" menu or similar function. Highlight the entire audio file and set the cutoff frequency to 1015 using the slider. This will allow all frequencies above the bottom 1015 hertz to pass through the filter unchanged. Do the same thing for the "Low-pass Filter" and set the value to 1015 hertz. This will allow any frequencies below the top 1015 hertz to pass through the filter and removing any high-pitched hissing.

Step 5 Choose the "Normalize" function from the "Effect" menu. Normalizing the audio brings the volume up to the loudest poi