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So something like vocals, or piano, or acoustic guitars that have very dramatic differences in volume in certain sections. If the knee is set to zero, then the transition is immediate from no compression to the compression you dialed in. Whether you have knee pain due to arthritis, exercise, running or a degenerative meniscus tear, there is evidence to support the fact that you should consider a knee compression sleeve as a means of controlling your pain. So now I’m going to play it again. If you have a softer knee, which is what we have now, then it’s going to start kicking in well below the threshold, and therefore, the attack constant is effectively going to be speeding up in a way. Knee. Well, it means ultimately that you can get a smoother and more rounding attack effect, and that can be useful if you’re trying to really soften a snare drum, for example. But when using a higher ratio, say 8:1 or 10:1, increasing the knee can be very helpful since the transition won’t be as obvious. It’s called “knee” because if you look at a gain-reduction graph, the line right after the compressor starts reducing the gain looks like a sharp angle, like the break of a knee. The ratio specifies the amount of attenuation that will be applied to the signal. Knee pain is very common. The Knee on a compressor represents how fast the compression is applied to the signal once it surpasses the threshold. The process is called “soft knee” because of how the compression ratio looks when plotted on a graph. In this post I will go into what the “knee” control does on a compressor. The reason why you might want to play with the knee control a little bit is because it makes the transition from not compression to compression subtler. The one that confused me the most was the “knee” control, since all the others seemed a bit more obvious. Release is exactly the opposite as the attack, it refers to the time it takes the signal to go from compressed to uncompressed, or to its original state. This will create a slow transition but still allow for full compression afterwards. So this is how getting to know and understand your compressor can be really helpful in terms of determining what compressor is best for what source. If you want a slower transition, where the compression slowly kicks in, or if you want to compress the signal slightly when it crosses the threshold but compress it progressively more as the signal gets louder, then this is where the knee comes in. The attack is the time it takes for the signal to become fully compressed after exceeding the threshold level. Your email address will not be published. Anything where you don’t want to kill the dynamics. This is the demonstration of the compressor action. On the road, doing some session work. Using soft and hard knees depends entirely on the instrument you’re applying the compression to, and also on what the song needs. So many knobs and controls that I didn’t know what they all were for. meaning the loud and quiet parts are now closer together in volume and the natural volume variations are less obvious Matthew Weiss here — theproaudiofiles.com, mixing101.co. Download this 40-minute workshop by Matthew Weiss, now for FREE! Until next time. The whole point of this Website is to help you and others learn more about how to produce music, especially from home. So one spot that you very commonly want to experiment with the knee is on something that’s meant to sound homogenous and is also very dynamic. ➥ Get Premium Mix Training From Our Most Trusted Contributors, 5 Compression Tricks You Won’t Believe Actually Work, Black Friday Extended! This will be much more noticeable. It allows you to determine how curved the transition from uncompressed- to compressed sound will be. - youtube Video. Make sure to play around with these settings to get a feel for how they work and when you should use one or the other. In some cases, if the attack time is set too fast, it can create distortion in the lower frequencies by modifying the waveform. Please try again. This tutorial will teach you all about audio compression, but if you're still not sure what it all means and how to proceed, you may want to take advantage of some of the professional audio editing services on Envato Studio. And when you’re setting a knee, it doesn’t have to be exact. When taking a look at the image of the compressor above, the vertical line represents the threshold. Now what I’m listening for is the transparency of the compressor action. So what did that all mean? Alright guys, so that’s the knee on a compressor. What does this mean? Now, the other thing to realize about this knee setting is that this compressor that I’m demonstrating it on has a variable knee. Are you looking for FREE compression VST plugins? So, by now you probably know what both these terms mean. Let’s check that out. Your email address will not be published. If the ratio is set to 1:1, then no compression will be applied. Here’s a list of the best ones I could find. Get in touch: Compression 101: What is Knee? “Knee” refers to how quickly the compressor clamps down on the signal once it surpasses the threshold. Last Updated on February 27, 2020 by Facundo, The first time I took a look at a compressor I got overwhelmed…. Get 65% Off Mix Essentials. There is a “bend” in the line making the compression gradual until it reaches the maximum ratio dialed in. If you plan on applying soft compression, then maybe the knee isn’t as important since the transition will be hardly noticeable. There is a “bend” in the line making the compression gradual until it reaches the maximum ratio dialed in. Using a hard knee on acoustic guitar when it’s strummed really hard is also a good idea, since you want to keep a consistent volume throughout whole track. It’s pulling the quiet signals down too effectively, but let’s split the difference. The diagonal line to the left of the threshold represents the signal before compression is applied, while the line to the right represents the compressed signal. It’s a little bit harder at 4:1, and it’s almost a hard knee completely at 10:1. A limiter works just like a compressor but without allowing the signal to exceed the threshold. It all depends on what you feel the song needs. This would be the level required from the compressor to start clamping down on the signal, which you can configure to your liking. So when you have a hard knee, then your compression is kicking in only when the threshold has been breached, which is at louder parts of the signal. Typically, compressors will offer one, or in some instances a switchable choice between both, a "soft knee" and a "hard knee” setting. Of course, these aren’t strict rules, they are just guidelines. I'd like to receive the free email course. Soft Knee and Hard Knee. This is something I really enjoy doing. We just sent a download link to your inbox. It’s going to do that based on where the compression action begins. It’s a little bit harder at 4:1, and it’s almost a hard knee completely at 10:1. As soon as the signal reaches the threshold it gets fully compressed. Now, you can see here on the graph, it looks like a totally linear line here, and then it just shelves off. Hey guys. It means when you’re above the threshold of amplitude that it allows, that’s when the compressor is working, and as long as you’re below that, then the compressor is not going to do any work at all. On the other hand, hard knees work great on percussive instruments such as drums, especially on the kick-, snare-drums and toms. Not every compressor has a variable knee, but every compressor has it’s own knee action, and so when you have things like the SSL buss compressor for example, you might find that the knee of the action is softer at 2:1. Matthew Weiss is the recordist and mixer for multi-platinum artist Akon, and boasts a Grammy nomination for Jazz & Spellemann Award for Best Rock album. Knee compression sleeves have been proven in many studies to be effective in managing knee pain from osteoarthritis. This is usually measured in ms (milliseconds). Plus, more counterintuitive ways to get fuller yet controlled low-end in your mix. Awesome. I got a little break here during a session, so I want to tell you guys about a compressor setting called the “knee” function. So, by now you probably know what both these terms mean. A soft knee is when you make the transition smooth, even if in the end the compression is really high. That sounds like a fairly decent balance. Related: Do you know the difference between Reverb and Delay? I like using soft knees on stuff like vocals, fingerpicked acoustic or classical guitar, piano, etc. Required fields are marked *. Discover how to make your kick and bass hit hard by cutting (NOT boosting) the right frequencies! Matthew has mixed for a host of star musicians including Akon, SisQo, Ozuna, Sonny Digital, Uri Caine, Dizzee Rascal, Arrested Development and 9th Wonder. The “knee” refers to how the compressor transitions between the non-compressed and compressed states of an audio signal running through it. Rather than just simply use a quick attack, what you might want to do is use a quick attack and also soften the knee. For years now I've been interested in music production. To better understand this, let me explain what each component of a compressor does, especially the ones related to the knee. So I’ve got this lead vocal here, and I’ve got a compressor on it. Now what I’m going to do is soften the knee, and this is saying how far below the threshold does the compressor kick on, and if I set it to like, 20 decibels, that means that the compressor is actually going to start doing subtle amounts of gain reduction well below where the actual threshold is. So, while it makes the tone and action of the compressor a bit more homogenous over the overall signal, because it’s doing that, it also means that when the compressor is really kicking in, it’s not quite as obvious. I hope that you learned something. The higher the ratio the more the sound will be compressed. Ratio = 6:1, Hard knee: Anything below threshold is not compressed (1:1), anything above threshold is compressed (6:1) Ratio = 6:1, Soft knee: Let’s go for maybe about 10 dB. I’m going to explain to you what that is and why you would use it. Those are all places where you might want to work with the knee. The knee setting influences the ratio of the compressor around the threshold level, totally independent of time (that's the part a lot of people don't get, and that is very poorly documented in the manuals). The Basics of Attack Time on a Compressor. This means that if the signal is exceeding the threshold by 10dB, it will be attenuated to 5dB over it. There was an error submitting your subscription. So, as you can see, both the threshold and the ratio are important when compressing and when thinking of applying a soft or hard knee. In this image you can clearly see the transition, this would be a soft knee. If the signal is too low or the threshold is set too high, then the signal will be allowed to pass through the compressor unchanged. If you want the sound to sort of “sneak up” on you, then increase the knee. Both have their place when mixing songs, it all depends on what instruments you are mixing and what effect you’re trying to achieve. A Hard knee is the opposite. I hope tis was helpful, have a fantastic day! Now the other thing about the knee is that it’s going to also affect the attack and release constant of the compressor, and so what that means is the compressor is going to start applying gain reduction at whatever speed you set the attack, for example. That’s called a hard knee. So you can see this time around that the compressor is acting on the quieter signals as well, and while it’s now sort of too much, right? I've worked in a music studio a couple of years back and now I mostly record at home and try to learn as much as I can about producing music and about the gear that is required to do so. A compression ratio of 2:1 means that for every 2dB that the signal exceeds the threshold it will be attenuated to one over the threshold. In normal compression the knee (which is the point where compression begins) is an abrupt angle (how steep depends on the ratio) whereas in soft knee it is more of a curve. So you see that right now, the way it’s set, whenever the vocal gets to a certain level of dynamic, like a certain loudness, then it kicks the compressor in and the compressor starts working. A little bit harder at 4:1, and it ’ s a little bit at! Let me explain what each component of a compressor represents how fast the compression action begins the best I! It all depends on what you feel the song needs it allows you to determine how curved transition! 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