3 Steps To Get A Killer Compression

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Here comes the fourth episode! Thanks for your patience with all May days off in France I just couldn’t write a single line! πŸ˜‰

However, what I’ll try to explain in three steps today is: how to get a killer over compressed sound like Justice, Revolte, etc…

Step 1: Choose The Right Drums

Everyone knows a good electro track is before all: good drums! So take time to create rich and punchy drums & beats.

Step 2: Choose The Right Overdrive

Most of dirty electro tracks today have, among over-compression, a crunchy and noisy effect on basslines, synths or guitars…

There are of course a lot of effects to put some overdrive on your tracks… But if I could only pick one plugin, it would definitely be the GuitarRig by Native Instruments. You need a huge configuration to make it work properly, but the result is here: awesome!

  • Select the kind of distortion/overdrive you want to apply (eg: guitar, bass, etc…) in Bank Menu.
  • Select the preset in Sound Menu.
  • You can also setup everything manually from amp to reverb on the right…

Don’t hesitate to try it on your drums or synth!

Step 3: Choose The Right Compressor

Again, there are a lot of compressor in the market. So I will talk about what I know and use heavily. In fact most of the time, I use the natural compression of my sidechain effect.

But when I want to add a powerful crunchy and pumpy effect, I use the CompressorX by Timeworks. It simulates analog compression and really rock it, giving a warm and powerful feeling.

Compressor X is amazing. Where do we start? This is more compression control than you should need in this lifetime. […] this unit has it all, I am able to emulate Urei’s 1176’s, DBX 165a’s, Manley variable MU’s, Digital comps, you name it. This thing is amazing. Try it, see for yourself what it can do. (source: www.sonictimeworks.com)

As long as we compress differently, I will give you a different setting that the one I recommand in the 3 Steps To Get A Killer Mastering, but this fits better for a Justice-like musical style, and that’s what it’s all about, right? πŸ˜‰

So, add the CompressorX to your master or a bus with the drums (at least the kick). This will replace the sidechain. You will compress the overall mix, and your track will react with noises and overdrive to your compression and distortion.

Then set the CompressorX as follow:

  • Put the Out button a bit on the right (not too much this would crush your channel)
  • Put the Threshold button a bit on the left in order to make the track pump.

Be careful with thos settings this can quickly make your mix more dirty than you really want it to be. Don’t hesitate to test it on several speakers (hifi, headphones, etc…) and compare with other tracks…[/lang_en]