Thursday, July 13, 2006

Smoothing Out the AUDynamicsProcessor

I'm editing, compressing, de-essing, Eq-ing, and peak-limiting chapter 2 of The Boats of the Glen Carrig tonight. I have listened to chapter 1 on several different systems: PC speakers, my home stereo, and my Sony MDR-V700 headphones (closed-back, deejay-style, with a lot of bass). I am pretty content with it, although I'm getting a little experience with this compressor and how it sounds on the results of a dry recording of the Logitech headset, and I've decided there is further room for improvement.

I'm not tweaking the sound dramatically, since I want the chapters to sound basically the same (for example, I'm not touching the EQ), but I have changed the compressor settings as follows:

Compression threshold: -65 dB. Setting it lower allows the compressor to start working with a little less abruptness. This interacts strongly with attack time, which I have lowered to 0.010 seconds. This helps a bit with the tendency to lose some of the opening consonants of words.

I've changed the head room setting to 12.5 dB, which seems to smooth out the degree of compression (I still wish this was a "ratio" setting so I could undertand a little bit better what it does). This setting interacts strongly with the master gain, which I've reduced to 9.5 dB.

The complete settings are: threshold -65 dB, head room 12.5 dB, expansion ratio 2.5, expansion threshold -84 dB, attack time 0.010 secs, release time 0.100 secs, mastergain 9.5.

The result keeps the visual indicator a little less "pegged" at either and, but stretching a little more actively, like a rubber band, as the audio runs. It gives me a finished RMS level of about -21.97 dB. That's a bit lower than chapter 1's compressed voice track which comes in at -19.28 dB, but still pretty close, and it is still a big improvement over the starting point at -35.11, so we'll go with it for now.

Chapter two will be available shortly.

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