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 Forum index » Clavia Nord Modular » Nord Modular G2 Discussion
G2 Compressor module
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Afro88



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 6:00 pm    Post subject: G2 Compressor module Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've been playing around with the G2 compressor lately, and I've decided I don't really like it. It seems overly clicky and harsh, and I can't seem to get it to do what I want. And no, it's not a case of me not knowing how to use a compressor properly - I know how to use a conventional compressor perfectly well in my mixes.

Ideally I would like a compressor like the DigiCompressor that comes with Protools. Nothing fancy, just something that works like you normally would expect a compressor to work. I heard that some of the modules in the G2, like logic compare and max/min can be used to build a compressor? Is this correct? Does anyone know how I could go about this?

Also there was a discussion about what the "Ref Levl" control on the G2 module is a while ago, but it was never properly explained. Perhaps this is what's causing problems with my G2 compressor usage?

Thanks
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I don't know the answer, but some thoughts came up :

For a DIY compressor I'd try something with an envelope folllower, a positive level invertor and a multiplier module. When the input goes louder the amplification should be made less.

Between the gain control input of the multiplier and the output of the invertor some shaper module could be added.

When you want to go fancy you could split the envelope output into different regions for which different amplification factors are used.

What might work with the existing compressor is to split the input signal into different frequcncy bands and then treat each with different compression settings before summing them again.

Or use a filtered version of the signal that you connect to the side chain input

Another thread about compressors was : http://electro-music.com/forum/topic-4645.html&highlight=compressor

Jan.
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Kassen
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hmmm, apart from the lacking noisegate, how is the G2´s compressor not like a "conventional" one? Looks perfectly normal to me. I don´t like it nearly as well as the G1´s compressor with the build in limiter but you can´t have it all all the time. Lots of stuff can be done with sidechaining, if you´d name what you find lacking we´ll see how far we get. I´ve never seen or heard the protools one, b.t.w., could you throw a schreenshot or something?
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Afro88



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
Hmmm, apart from the lacking noisegate, how is the G2´s compressor not like a "conventional" one? Looks perfectly normal to me. I don´t like it nearly as well as the G1´s compressor with the build in limiter but you can´t have it all all the time. Lots of stuff can be done with sidechaining, if you´d name what you find lacking we´ll see how far we get. I´ve never seen or heard the protools one, b.t.w., could you throw a schreenshot or something?


Oh, all the features are there, that's not what I'm getting at. I just dislike the sound of it. For example, when I run drums through it, and tune it how I would normally tune the digicomp (or even Rcomp or C1), it just sounds so harsh and clicky.... maybe I'm just being overly picky Laughing

I would be interested in building my own and seeing how that goes. Thanks for the info on this Jan, I'll see how it goes.

Oh, by the way, it seems to me that if you set the "ref lvl" control to the same as the threshold, it behaves more like you would expect it to. Then use a level amp for your makeup gain.
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mosc
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I think it is a great idea to build your own if you are trying to learn about a certain module, like the compressor in this case. Here's where the meter module would come in handy. It would help you see what's going on as you develop your module. For example, it would be nice to see the output of the envelope follower.
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

If you are used to using studio outboard compressors I can understand why you feel the G2 compressor is not quite there. I have heard the G2 compressor like a week ago and it surely wasn´t bad, but I wouldn´t call it good either. I might be wrong but I think the NM1 comp sounds a bit better.
I am pretty sure the Clavia people can improve it a lot. It might just be the case that they haven´t actual knowledge from how compressors were used inside patches in the "old days". Having experienced that they might remake/improve the G2 compressor.

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3phase



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
If you are used to using studio outboard compressors I can understand why you feel the G2 compressor is not quite there. I have heard the G2 compressor like a week ago and it surely wasn´t bad, but I wouldn´t call it good either. I might be wrong but I think the NM1 comp sounds a bit better.
I am pretty sure the Clavia people can improve it a lot. It might just be the case that they haven´t actual knowledge from how compressors were used inside patches in the "old days". Having experienced that they might remake/improve the G2 compressor.


For me the NM1 compressor dont sounds better...they are pretty much the same for me...
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Very Happy

Well, you might be right.. they aren´t that much apart anyway..

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Fozzie



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Afrokid wrote:
Oh, by the way, it seems to me that if you set the "ref lvl" control to the same as the threshold, it behaves more like you would expect it to. Then use a level amp for your makeup gain.


The enigmatic "ref lvl" Confused . JKsuperstar had a nice theory about it (http://electro-music.com/forum/topic-4168.html&highlight=compressor), but I'm still not really convinced what it does exactly.

Last edited by Fozzie on Mon Mar 14, 2005 9:20 am; edited 1 time in total
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mosc
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have observed that there are areas where people have very strong opinions about certain things that are in the realm of vague and ambiguous. I mean, analog/digital, tube/transistor, analog/VA, Moog/Buchla, etc. Compressors is another area that people have very strong opinions. I don't have a lot of experience with the exotic outboard compressors that people pay a fortune for. We heard a lecture at Modular 2003 in London where it was implied that the best compressor ever made was a Western Electric model made in the 1930s. I'm sure that everyone's opinion about compressors is valid, but these are opinions. Good compressors have lots of adjustments and as you turn the knobs they sound different.

That said, it seems that most people think there big differences in the gain control stage. Lots of high-end compressors use Cadmium Sulphide photo cells with an incandescent light bulb. The brighter the bulb lights up, the more attenuation you get. There is a certain lag in the response to the light bulb in both the on and off directions. There may be a similar lag in the photo cell, but I've measured lots of these and found these delays to be negligible WRT audio. There are other exotic devices used, including LEDs and photo diodes, vacuum tubes, photo resistors, photo transistors, etc. At any rate, if you are going to use and electronic gain element, as in the DIY G2 compressor, you want to be able to adjust the rise and fall of the attack and release individually of the envelope follower, and you should experiment with the slope (lin, exp, etc) as well. Also, add some delay in to the envelop follower and experiment with those settings. Finally, I'm sure people like certain legendary compressors because of the distortion they introduce as a byproduct.

You can spend a lifetime studying compressors. IMHO, there are better things to do. I think the internal G2 compressor is quite fine for use in synthesis.

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King Rat



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm looking at my G2 now, and for the life of me I can't find the cadmium sulphide light bulb.
I've tried closing the curtains and switching off all the lights and then playing something really loud, but to no avail.
Is this a bug?
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mosc
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

King Rat wrote:
I'm looking at my G2 now, and for the life of me I can't find the cadmium sulphide light bulb.




We'll have to add that one to the wish list. Laughing

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I posted a little bit of an OT item that generated a thoughtfull responses, so I split it off to another topic, here:

http://electro-music.com/forum/topic-5643.html

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Kassen
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
I am pretty sure the Clavia people can improve it a lot. It might just be the case that they haven´t actual knowledge from how compressors were used inside patches in the "old days". Having experienced that they might remake/improve the G2 compressor.


This, frankly, strikes me as one of the most insightfull things I´ve read recently. It´s not that I think Clavia is doing a bad job, it´s that I think this is a admirebly clear way of thinking.

Clavia apears to be struggeling, torn between being mathematically correct (which is good for predictable behaviour in complex patches) and modules that sound good. One possible solution could be to have two version for modules that are especially affected by this devide?

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

THX, Kassen. I am not sure this has more insight to it than mere common sense. I might be wrong, but the way I see it, Clavia must have done a whole lot of research into actual modular synth use. The fact that they have a compressor, distortion, reverb and delay clearly shows that they haven´t looked blindly at the more or less shrinkwrapped huge modulars but to rather how people have been setting up patches in real life including the use of outboard gear should indicate that Clavia is more than willing to go that extra mile.
I also see that Clavia is a bit torn between the mathy way of doing things and the wild analog feelgood tradition. And I think this is a good thing really. They are trying to see both sides of this. In this case I would like to see Clavia look into the compressor again and come up with some variations ( including some takes on a true limiter ) that takes the "feelgood" factor into consideration.

I am not really a purist that would see all things digitally clean and neither have everything coloured by that elusive "analogue warmth". That "AW"thing is a bit annoying really. I would simply have some of the behaviour available that you get in various analog circuit designs.

That said, I have previously stated that there are many cool analog synth modules released these days, but frankly.. I would love to see some "real innovation" in the analog modulars. Clavia has shown far more innovative skills than most of the modern analog modular industry has.
An obvious gesture would be to do what Clavia has done, like including decent modules that the geeks have been missing for 30 years.

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mosc
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The Clavia Nord Modular architecture is sufficiently open that one could build virtually any compressor or limiter one would want. These are really very simple devices to design. Rob has developed several warmth tricks that are both based on solid technical reasoning and sound good. One could add in those if the warm sound was desired. I've designed hardware compressors from transistors, op amps and OTAs. All that can be done in the NM arcitecture. If I'm wrong, tell me what's missing.

(Oh yes, the incandescent bulbs). Laughing

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
The Clavia Nord Modular architecture is sufficiently open that one could build virtually any compressor or limiter one would want.


Decent quality multiband compressors need phase-linear crossovers and you can forget about those on the nord because those will go through the zero page memory....

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
The Clavia Nord Modular architecture is sufficiently open that one could build virtually any compressor or limiter one would want.


Well, I can see you have a point there.. but wouldn´t it be more DSP friendly to have Clavia construct readymade module of like compressors?

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Ah, multiband compressors. Nobody in the 50s and 60s used those. The great vintage compressors were not multiband. They weren't even stereo. In fact they had lots of hiss and hum by today's standards.

Phase linear crossovers. Not many on the planet I'd think. Still, even if you had some, when you dynamically adjust the gain you kiss goobye the concept of phase linearity. Dynamic gain adjustment is a non-linear process.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:

Decent quality multiband compressors need phase-linear crossovers and you can forget about those on the nord because those will go through the zero page memory....


Hèhè, this one sounds pretty 'phase-linear' to my ears. Just look at how the filters are arranged. Its basically the same way as lp filters are used to get bands in e.g. the Dolby A noise reduction system.


6-BandCompressor.pch2
 Description:
A six band compressor

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 Filename:  6-BandCompressor.pch2
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The Why Project



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

One day, we'll have FFT-based compression, using ultra-intelligent
algorithms to compress only what's really needed...

Compared to that, today's compression side-chain control will seem like
using an axe for your morning shave!

Greetz,

The Why Project
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mosc
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hey, it's in stereo too!
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
Ah, multiband compressors. Nobody in the 50s and 60s used those. The great vintage compressors were not multiband. They weren't even stereo. In fact they had lots of hiss and hum by today's standards.

Phase linear crossovers. Not many on the planet I'd think. Still, even if you had some, when you dynamically adjust the gain you kiss goobye the concept of phase linearity. Dynamic gain adjustment is a non-linear process.


I have two 70´s ones here and I can tell you they are indeed more noisy then the neighbours I used to have (they sound better too). However, I fear that in the 60´s there were no G2´s either which I feel makes that considderation slightly moot-ish. ;¬)

You are of cource completely right about the phase linearity of gain reduction, in fact I pointed out the same thing in a argument I got involved in not too long ago. I even tried explaining that compressors were inherently a form of A.M.. That didn´t go over too well and in the end I had to give up. However, particularly for mastering purposes I think there are benefits in having phaselinear crossovers in multiband compressors. Just because the process is non-phase-linear at times does not mean we should just throw all phase considderations out of the window all the time.

These devices exist, particularly in software, they are usefull and not available in the G2, I just had to point that out as the universe´s defendant of being logically complete and correct :¬). I have a freeware one somewhere if you´d like one too.

In fact I´m not even sure the G2 is a suitable tool for making realy good compressors, I am however sure that it´s a great system for fooling around with the principle and doing some interesting tweaks and tricks with it. There´s a whole area of waveshaping on the internal controll signals that leads to all sorts of wonderfull stuff. I´ll have a peek at Rob´s attempt later.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen, you were right about that AM comment. I am sorry I did not join in when that was discussed. It can be argued that it might not be the best example of AM modulation, but I did in fact see this mentioned in an old textbook.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, the discussion was on another board. It wouldn´t have been worth it for you to join in. It did come at a good moment since a rather crappy compressor at a gig I had played a week before had gotten me started thinking about compression anyway, sadly I didn´t get round to introducing any of my new thoughts in that discussion because my "partner" could not get his head around the phase problems....

Anyway, it´s clearly AM, albeit a unusual form. Concequently the shape and length of the attack and decay parameters are capable of affecting the spectrum though that´s of cource not noticable most of the time.....

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