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  • Joe A
    Posts: 1413
    Joined: Oct 1st, 2013
    Gain Compensation in Plug-ins
    Neil Gilmartin writes: Quote: I was recently producing my first track in Logic and, when adding compression, I wasn't always sure whether I should be reducing the Make-Up Gain or the Output volume in those cases where compression made the signal louder. Is it generally the case that you reduce Output when you've added any type of Distortion because this distortion is added to the signal after the compression stage, but if you haven't added any saturation you generally reduce the make-up gain instead? Although if I were to do this, I'm not bringing up the quieter sounds as much as I could, so perhaps it's not quite so clear-cut. On a related note, when you are toggling plug-ins to check for volume, do you generally use your ears as your guide or the signal level on the meter? Our ear is much more sensitive to RMS, right, whereas the signal is going to be much more sensitive to peaks? So I was thinking perhaps the signal is a more reliable guide. Thank you very much for your insight, as always! End quote Hi Neil - Normally compression would make the signal softer, since it reduces the level of the loudest parts of the signal, so you'd usually apply makeup gain to bring the overall level back up to approximately the same level. Since compression will have changed the dynamic range, the makeup gain will ultimately be determined by ear, in context of the mix. The same applies to A/Bing effects -- your ear is the ultimate guide.
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  • Joe A
    Posts: 1413
    Joined: Oct 1st, 2013
    Re: Gain Compensation in Plug-ins
    Neil Gilmartin writes: Quote: Cheers, Joe. I should have pointed out that I added soft distortion on my compression, which is why the signal was sometimes louder despite gain reduction happening. I was wondering whether I should turn the output down or the make up gain down to compensate for the loudness that the distortion adds in. Thanks for your response to my other question too: my ears are my guide from now on. End quote Hi Neil - I would apply gain compensation in each plug-in -- the makeup gain in the compressor, and whatever output gain is available in the distortion plug-in -- so that the output level of each plug-in is more or less at unity gain. That way you can bypass each effect individually to get a sense of what it contributes to the overall sound of that track, without any distracting level jumps.
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  • Joe A
    Posts: 1413
    Joined: Oct 1st, 2013
    Re: Gain Compensation in Plug-ins
    Neil Gilmartin writes: Quote: Oops! I think you’ve misunderstood my meaning because I didn’t express myself clearly enough. I am not adding in a separate Distortion plug in. I am using the Soft Distortion setting within the Logic Compressor itself, which is bumping up the volume despite the gain reduction from the compression part of the plug in. In this situation, I’m not sure whether to turn down the Make Up Gain dial or the Output dial to get the same volume when AB-ing. End quote Ah! Yes, it's a quirk of the Logic Compressor's analog modeling option that some settings add apparent gain. In that case I usually compensate for the gain difference from the Soft Distortion setting (around 3dB) with the Output level control, and then apply Makeup Gain. That way if I decide to change the Distortion setting I can just dial back the Output compensation without altering the Makeup Gain setting, which would be based on the other Compressor controls' settings.
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