Operation – Drawmer MX30 Pro Gated Compressor / Limiter User Manual

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The unit should be connected in line with the signal to be processed via suitable insert
points. Ensure that the insert send and return level on your console matches the MX30
input/output sockets that are being used.

For single channel use, each channel may be considered as completely independent
and set up accordingly. For use with stereo signals, such as complete mixes or
submixes, the unit should be switched to Stereo Link mode and all setting up done using
the left-hand channel controls, except the Bypass buttons, which are always

Setting up is simpler if the Gate is initially turned off and the Peak Limiter threshold set
to maximum. This allows the compressor/limiter to be set up in isolation. The ratio
setting depends on how firmly the signal dynamics need controlling; as a rule, higher
ratios provide a higher degree of control but also tend to be more audible in operation
when high levels of gain reduction are required. The integral soft-knee feature of the
MX30 renders these effects far less pronounced, but this factor should still be taken into
consideration when setting up. In general, a higher compression ratio may be used than
on a conventional compressor without compromising the sound quality.

Setting up is now simply a matter of adjusting the Threshold control until the desired
amount of gain reduction occurs. This is judged partly by ear and partly by observing the
gain reduction meter. Usually, a maximum gain reduction of between 6dB and 10dB will
be adequate. If more gain reduction appears necessary, it is worth considering applying
a conservative degree of compression during recording and then further compression
while mixing.

Compressing during a mix does increase the subjective level of tape and other
background noises during pauses and quiet passages but, unless the noise
contamination is serious, the Gate section will be able to attenuate it to a very high
degree without compromising the wanted signal.

Compressors are often accused of dulling the sound being processed, and a little
explanation is needed to understand exactly why that is. W hat happens is that bass
sounds, which contain most of the energy in a typical piece of music, cause the
compressor to operate, and so any quieter, high frequency sounds occurring at the
same time as the bass sound will also be turned down in level. That is why the cymbals
and hi-hats in a heavily compressed drum track seem to dip in level whenever a loud
bass drum or snare drum beat occurs.

At this point, the Gate Threshold may be set up and you should try both release time
settings to see which is least obtrusive in operation. For all but sharp percussive
sounds, the longer setting is likely to give the best results. Set the threshold using a
piece of program material that contains pauses, and adjust the threshold to be as low
a dB level as possible while still attenuating the noise during pauses. Listen carefully
to how the sounds come in after the pauses and how cleanly they fade away again: if
you can hear the gate changing the sound in an unacceptable way, then the threshold
is probably set too high.

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