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WMD Compressor – Part 2: Spiky Synths & Sidechaining [matttech]


 

INTRODUCTION

This is the second of three sets of commissioned demos for the WMD Compressor – a product whose beta-testing and development stages I was involved in. 

This time round the emphasis is on synth compression, with demonstrations of how the module can be used to enhance transient attack, or create rhythmic interest through external sidechain triggering.

Further demos, demonstrating the WMD Compressor’s less obvious uses, will be published soon


 

DEMO 06 – Spiky Synth Compression

This demonstrates how you can add a lovely bite and spikiness to otherwise flat-sounding synth parts.

Four bars of the dry signal are at the start, and then every four bars after that I change the compressor settings, adding more compression each time (lowered THRESHOLD, higher RATIO). ATTACK and RELEASE were set to be very fast.

The second recording is an extended version, where I have set the compressor for some ridiculously spiky compression, and then I gradually blend in the dry signal using the MIX knob, eventually returning to the completely dry signal. On this last recording I have set the ATTACK and RELEASE to absolute minimum to create the spikiest sound possible.

Settings: The DETECTION switch is set to ADAPTIVE, and the KNEE set to HARD.


 

DEMO 07 – External Sidechain Pumping Compression 1

For this recording I wanted to demonstrate how the WMD Compressor can be used to create rhythmic pumping effects, as found in many modern dance music productions. I sent a recording of a click track – following the “4 on the floor” kick part – into the SIDE CHAIN input of the Compressor.

The first run through the riff is dry. After that, the THRESHOLD is lowered each time the riff repeats, and the RATIO turned up. The is altered at points to affect the “swing” and intensity of the pumping effect.

Settings: The DETECTION switch is set to ADAPTIVE, and the KNEE set to HARD. No INPUT or OUTPUT SATURATION was applied.


 

DEMO 08 – External Sidechain Pumping Compression 2

This recording uses the same settings as the previous track – “External Sidechain Pumping Compression 1 (synth)” – but with a clean sine wave-based synth input (There are 2 oscillators stacked an octave apart, the lower one from the DPO, and the higher one from the Dixie mk.2)

This demo is intended to demonstrate the lack of distortion when compressor is pumping heavily.

The first run through the riff is dry. After that, the THRESHOLD is lowered each time the riff repeats, and the RATIO turned up. The is altered at points to affect the “swing” and intensity of the pumping effect.

Settings: The DETECTION switch is set to ADAPTIVE, and the KNEE set to HARD. No INPUT or OUTPUT SATURATION was applied.


 

DEMO 09 – External Sidechain Pumping Compression 3

The settings for this recording are the same as the previous track – “External Sidechain Pumping Compression 2 (synth)” – but this time with OUTPUT SATURATION switched on.

Each time the riff repeats the MAKEUP GAIN is boosted more. The OUTPUT SATURATION was set to 3 o’clock for most of the recordings. On the last version of the riff you can hear the difference when it is turned up to almost maximum. There is a loss of level once you go right up to maximum, so it’s best to keep it just below this. The saturation takes on a brighter tone in this area though.

The technique used in this recording is very useful, as you essentially get voltage-controlled overdrive – The OUTPUT SATURATION only kicks in once the signal has come back up after being ducked by the side-chain. This can be useful to add harmonics to subby bass sounds that can often be hard to hear on smaller speakers, and it also makes it easier to tell what note they are playing.

Settings: The DETECTION switch is set to ADAPTIVE, and the KNEE set to HARD.
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