Saturday, December 20, 2014

Review and Tutorial: Fabfilter PRO C

Hello everyone and welcome to this week's article!
Today we're going to talk about another Fabfilter product, the Pro C Compressor.
By now, after all the articles I've done, we all should know what a compressor is and how does it work: basically it's an automatic volume control that lowers the lowest peaks according to how we set it, and raises the quieter parts.

Plus it's an important tone shaping tool.

I have particularly liked this specific compressor because of its flexibility, which is similar to the Pro Q 2's: the interface is clean, easy, and at the same time there are tools to visually monitor what's going on that usually are not featured on other processors of this kind: I'm talking about the dual graph:

- the left one is pretty common on many compressors, and tells us when and how strong the compressor kicks in, and it is possible to choose between a soft and a hard knee.

- the right one is less common and it shows us 3 things: the original waveform, the amount of gain reduction we're applying, and the new waveform. This helps us a lot checking out if we're crushing the dynamics of our track too much, or on the contrary if the settings we're applying are uneffective.
The last part of the graph is a metering tool that tells us the level of our track and the gain reduction applied.

Beside the common controls that we can find on any other compressor (attack, release, ratio..), the Fabfilter Pro C features also some less common function:

- Automatic Release control, that changes adaptively according the part, and that is particularly useful if used on complex tracks

- Automatic Make up Gain to compensate the usual loss in volume due to the compression

- 3 Modes: Clean, Classic and Opto, which reacts differently, since they're modeled on different types of compressors.

- the A/B comparison function: we can set the compressor with two different settings and a/b compare them to choose the best one.

- the Parallel Compression function: we can experiment using some more extreme setting on our track, and then use the Dry Mix control to decide the amount of dry signal to blend with the processed one. This way we can add some body to the track leaving part of the transient to pass through uncompressed. This is particularly good with a snare drum, to keep the snap (the transient) intact, or with a whole drum buss.

- a Sidechain Function in which we can decide wether to use separated left and right gain control, or to use it Mid/side.

- a Midi Learn function to automate the settings: we need to push the Learn button, then move the knobs we want in real time while the song is playing, and the Pro C will record our movements and change the settings real time the same way we did, automatically.

There are even more functions to talk about (for example this plugin can be used as an effective Deesser too), and many presets to choose from, but it's already enough to say safely that this is the most complete Compressor ever made, and one of the most transparent sounding ones, too.

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