How to Use Slate Digital FG-Grey for Mix Buss Compression
I think that the mix is strong. I think it’s solid. I just want to do a little bit of augmentation using some buss compression to enhance the sense of groove. That internal hi-hat line that’s really driving things and that string rise could both come out a little bit. That whole movement between the kick and the snare could be just a little bit accentuated.
I’m going to pull up this Slate Digital FG-Grey. The Slate Digital compressors are probably some of the very few software compressors that I actually think work well for mix buss. I’ve tried a lot and they usually don’t work as well as I’d like them to. This one is definitely an exception
I’m going to set the attack very fast, gonna set the release very slow. I’m gonna set the threshold really low and I’m going to set the ratio really high. And what I’m going to do is I’m going to start fine tuning the threshold and the release until I start hearing a pumping movement that really brings out the rise of the string, and the dynamic of the hi-hat line in between the kick and the snare.
[hip-hop instrumental + Slate Digital FG-Grey Buss Compressor]
The easiest to hear is the hi-hat now. You really hear how that hi-hat comes up in between the kick and the snare. But also you’ll hear the strings on the sides kind of rise up in between the kick and the snare as well.
[instrumental + Slate Digital FG-Grey Buss Compressor]
The next thing I’m gonna do is I’m gonna start slowing down the attack. The attack is basically the control of how much punch you want the kick and the snare to have. And it being a hip-hop record, we want a pretty substantial amount of punch to these drums.
[music + Slate Digital FG-Grey Bus Compressor]
That’s letting the leading attack of the kick in particular come through. The snare is very loud and it’s gonna be hard to get the total attack of the snare to come through. Just because there’s so much of it hitting the compressor. But even the snare is not totally squashed now. And now I’m just gonna start backing off the ratio until I’m no longer getting this totally squashed sense of the record. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the ratio ended up being like 3 to 1, 2 to 1. Maybe even less. Generally speaking, higher ratios on the bus — not really the best way to go.
[beat + FG-Grey]
Let’s apply some make-up gain so that we can match it to where we started with the record.
[music + FG-Grey]
[song with and without buss compression]
I feel like the compression is still a little bit on the extreme side. Even though the ratio is very low, because the threshold is so low and because of the way we set the attack and the release, you really hear the pumping. You really hear a lot of sustain information showing up into the mix. So one of the really cool things about this FG-Grey program is you have a wet to dry mix knob which I think is awesome because bus compression is about subtlety really. You don’t want to totally change the mix with what you’re doing. So what I’m gonna do is find a point in between 100% wet and 0% to where the record feels the best. And get that blend of sort of openness without the compression and movement with the compression.
[music + FG-Grey Bus Compression]
Let’s A/B one more time.
[with and without buss compression on the mix bus]
It’s not cut and dry that one is better than the other. In the version without the compression you have a more prominent snare drum. Which, you know, this is Hip-Hop. That matters. With the compression there’s a little bit more movement inside the record. Listen to that piano stab.
You hear that come out more prominently. So it’s those little internal things that start becoming exaggerated. And those little internal things that push and pull. I mean even from the first down beat.
You feel a little more of that arc going right into the record. So that’s what you gain. And obviously, you know, finding that negotiation of where you’re getting enough snare and where you’re getting enough movement and everything like that. That’s all part of the decision making process of the mix engineer.