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Subject: Re: Dynamic Range Compressor revisited

Re: Dynamic Range Compressor revisited

From: Jeff Goode <jeffg7_at_gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 08:51:49 -0400

On 9/25/2013 1:38 AM, Ryan Billing wrote:
> All,
> I left a forum post generally outlining what I have in mind, but have
> finally brought the idea to reality and have done some initial testing
> to show myself it generally does what I expect. Find below a summary
> of what I have been hacking at.
>
> The change to the compressor revolves around making the compressor
> sound more natural. The point of a good compressor is to achieve an
> overall perception of loudness on dynamic music without making it
> sound unnaturally processed.
>
> My initial observation of the compressor as implemented is a sound
> that is distorted on the transients and mechanical on the release --
> for me completely unusable except for voice recordings. For most
> users, I think they are just happy there IS a compressor, and that
> they can make dynamic music LOUD in noisy environments (such as a
> car). Probably some people will need to be sold on the idea that there
> is any need for improvement.
>
> The changes of note (to the average user) is this:
> Attack Time -- The goal is to preserve some dynamic life,
> particularly at sudden dynamic onsets.
> Exponential attack/release -- benefit from the natural-sounding
> characteristic found in analog compressors.
>
> To my own ears, the response is "alive", natural sounding. Percussive
> instruments become more bright, real.
>
> More details are in my commit message, and the most detail in the
> code, and comments in the code.
>
> There is one kludge I need to clean up, and that is the bit format. I
> just happened to hard-code the gain for the limiter, but I really need
> to have that final bit shift informed by the DSP format struct or it
> will be broken in any case where the bit format differs from my test
> case (Sansa Fuze V2, ogg vorbis format music).
>
> I mention that because if any of you try this, and it sounds either
> really quiet, or horribly distorted, it's because the format is
> different than how it is hard-coded, and for that I apologize. I will
> fix it in the next push if anybody shows interest in my added
> features. Otherwise I will probably abstain from fixing it unless I
> personally get into trouble with this kludge.
>
> For now, I want to stick my probes out and find out whether there is
> enough interest in this to make it worth my time to clean up the
> details (memory usage, efficiency optimizations, code formatting, etc).
>
> Thank you to any who give this a try.
> Best Regards,
> Ryan

Hi Ryan,
I'm glad you're giving this a shot. I originally attempted a solution
with a look ahead ring buffer to ramp up the compression gradually on
attack, but eventually abandoned this approach as memory hungry and not
worth the marginal benefit. I agree that this leaves the dynamics
"crushed" more than compressed, and the release is simplistic at best.
Personally, I wanted it mostly for an automatic volume control for car
listening, definitely not for critical listening, so ultimately this was
a "good enough" solution worth a few hundred hours of programming. I
apologize for leaving it in this state, but I had to move on. Thanks
for your needed quality improvements and making it right.
Jeff
Received on 2013-09-25


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