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Aug 31, 2021 - 12:21:44 AM
55 posts since 3/18/2011

Hi there,

Any advice on which compressor type and settings to apply on a banjo track on Logic X (Mac) from the options available?
There are presets for guitars, vocals or bass, but none for the banjo though (how surprising!). I have used some of those presets and also tried to work some of the different types like the FET, or the Opto, etc, but I don't seem to get that "balanced" and "in the face" sound I hear in most recordings. I'm using amateur recording equipment, but I'd like to get as close as possible to that sound.

Thank you in advance!

Aug 31, 2021 - 2:19:40 AM
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145 posts since 12/4/2007

Try parallel compression.

Basically create a duplicate track, add compression and mix it in with the clean track.

To go into the minutia, see this article:

Sep 4, 2021 - 6:46:51 PM
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7157 posts since 2/14/2006

I've heard of three options for banjo -

1. No compression at all
2. Parallel compression
3. Very quick compression

1.  I talked with Rickey Wasson about compression on the banjo before (he mixes a lot of bluegrass these days), and he doesn't like to put any compression on the banjo, since a lot of the "pop" is so natural to the banjo's sound that you don't want to ruin that sound.

2.  If you use parallel compression, mix only a small amount of quick compression with the original uncompressed signal.

3.  If you do use compression on the original signal, the attack should be fairly fast, the release has to be very quick, and the maximum gain reduction should be only about 1 dB.

Edited by - banjo1971 on 09/04/2021 18:51:15

Sep 4, 2021 - 7:29:40 PM
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3238 posts since 10/17/2009

Originally posted by banjo1971

I've heard of three options for banjo -

1. No compression at all
2. Parallel compression
3. Very quick compression

I have heard similar advice.

I have not gotten great at the art of compression, but I know it is not quite one size fits all, each application banjo and player, mic and mic set up are different... and might help to understand some of problem and explanation of what goal is. My understanding (which could be way off):

Some instruments like some banjos have very loud initial transient attack compared to the tone after. The problem is that it will easily clip. Esp that digital distortion sounds harsh, compared to natural compression of analog in tubes transformers and tape. To bring the clipping down, brings the entire sound down: too weak and quiet. So lowering, compressing the transient attack so not to clip/distort, can bring up the rest of the volume to more loud, in yer face. That would be quick attack and release... and perhaps pretty high ratio of maybe 8:1? But that might get rid of too much transient attack sound, which still want to retain. I think the idea of parallel, is one signal path is lightly or mostly uncompressed transient, but overall lowered to not clip; the other is highly compressed, allowing overall volume raised... so combines the sound of both, giving good bite/pop to attack. 

That's the way I understand it, but again might have it all wrong; and welcome better explanation.

Edited by - banjoak on 09/04/2021 19:36:06

Sep 5, 2021 - 3:33:37 AM
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145 posts since 12/4/2007

With using compression and most other effects for acoustic music, dial it in until you hear it, then back it off a bit.

When using parallel compression you can also do some EQ work with the compression track to accent or diminish aspect of the recording.

A lower ratio like 2:1 or 4:1 with a soft knee and a 2-8 dB dip at 350 hz is a good starting place.

Sep 5, 2021 - 8:46:02 AM
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3596 posts since 9/12/2016

I am weaning unnecessary and useless digital visits as much as possible,they do add mud imo. The only thing I like about compression is how it can make a rubber band stretching sound on the attack and sound like lamar greer. On my equipment I look close at gain structure .First the mike needs as much distance to keep the volume increase consistent with the banjo's natural dynamics..A piezo glued on to a head won't get there(but there are tricks). Next the first gain setting needs the same scrutiny -----but remember all things need a bit of power to click correctly.Then it is on to the output volume -------to set the level needed. No compression in sight. This is my opinion--I ask no one to agree

Edited by - Tractor1 on 09/05/2021 08:47:16

Sep 7, 2021 - 6:14:22 PM

11752 posts since 10/27/2006

How much compression on a banjo track?

I generally find that None is about the right amount.

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