Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Omnipresser is your friend.

As a student of electronic music in Santa Cruz in the early 80s — that strange moment when analog technology was being eased out and the digital replacements (but not substitutes) were not quite on line — one of the most powerful devices in the studio was the Omnipressor, an audio compression device with some intriguing capacities, one of which was an extreme knob setting of infinite compression.  As you might imagine, we got a lot of mileage out of infinite compression, which could be used for the feedback equivalent of perpetual motion.  Too much mileage, actually, as within a brief period of time, the use of the Omnipresser to create continuities and saturated sound textures became a studio cliché.  As someone soon joked: the Omnipresser is your friend, but don't let it get too friendly.

I've written about the dangers of the over-use of audio compression before (read here and here and here).  Gordon Mumma has passed along a useful NPR report on the prevalent flattening of dynamic levels in commercial music production, here.

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