Dynamic Processing

Word ducument on various dynamic signal processors.

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Dynamic Processing notes
Dynamic processing is typically the manipulation or changing of the volume of a signal.
This is done by number of signal processors. A few of them that you need to know are gates,
(tremolos,) expanders and compressors.
-Compressor
A compressor reduces the dynamic range of something. If you think about taking a perfect
cube of clay, and squashing it, you've reduced the height of the clay, leaving a rectangle, which
you've compressed . This is similar to the concept of a compressor.
Two important parameters on any compressor are the ratio and the threshold . The
threshold could be considered, returning to our analogy of the clay, as the height you try to squish
the clay, and the ratio as how hard you try to squash the clay.
A few other parameters that you will need to understand would be the attack time ,
release time and the make-up gain . The attack time is how quickly the compressor starts acting
on the signal/audio once it gets louder than the threshold . And the release time is how quickly the
compressor stops compressing the signal once it is below the threshold .
Finally, because you've reduced the dynamic range, you now have all of this headroom (as
you've reduced the height of the signal/clay). So by doing this, you can make the music louder by
increasing the gain, and by how much you do this is known as the make-up gain .
-Gate
Works with similar parameters to a compressor, but almost works the other way around.
A gate essentially works in the same way a compressor does, except for squashing the clay from
the top, you do it from the bottom. So, if you take a signal/piece of audio, and the audio falls
below the threshold , the gate will completely, or partially, cut the audio and creating silence:
-Unchanged Audio -Gated Audio
T he same parameters (except for make-up gain) still apply. Threshold is the level in
amplitude at which the signal will be gated. The ratio is how much the signal will be gated by. And

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Gate will act on the audio, and the release time is how quickly
the audio will stop gating the audio.
-Expander
This form of dynamic processing is the exact opposite of a compressor. As opposed to
reducing the dynamic range of a signal, an expander expands the dynamic range of the signal. And
in fact it is almost a weaker version of a gate. In fact, it can take a compressed signal and almost
un-compress is, if the controls are set correctly.…read more

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