- Michael Krusch
Part 6 of our review of the different compression modes in the Schwerkraftmaschine
This mode forms the basis for our popular Vari Tube Recording Channel.
We came up with something clever for the VTRC compressor.
The goal was to let it be controlled by just one switch, with the capability to adapt to all typical solo instruments, especially vocals.
Which poses a bit of a dilemma:
Set the compressor timing to short, and it reacts quickly to any changes, especially explosive sounds. Unfortunately the voice's dynamic nuances can get lost in the process. The signal becomes compressed and narrow.
You can select a slow timing to promote breathing, but then the compressor tends toward pumping. Spikes in the signal can force it down, leaving audio artifacts as it recovers.
To retain the best of both processes while avoiding the downsides, the Vocal Leveler features two separate control circuits.
One slower to compensate for longer changes to the level, similar to using the automatic feature on the DAW.
And another quicker one, capable of capturing short spikes in level.
But which then releases quickly once the spike is done.
The final result is a comparator circuit that compares the control voltage on both control circuits and reproduces the higher of the two on the compressor.
In this way, the compressor can keep the level relatively constant, react briefly to a spike and then continue on from the previous point.
The solo signal then retains its microdynamics, has balanced average levels and is prominent in the mix without having the feel of being compressed flat.
If you hear the vocal track on its own, you'd think it hasn't been compressed at all. If it works well in the mix and can be heard clearly without having to turn it up, then you know that the compressor has done its job well.
Move the slider for a before/after comparison.
But compression isn't the only thing you'll hear. There's also the Schwerkraftmaschine's soft, round, 'golden' tube and repeater sound.
Even if this program was developed with vocals in mind, it also works well on other solo tracks, from electric guitar and bass to violins and brass instruments.
Don't be afraid to give it a try.
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