Let’s talk about upward expansion. There is four different types of dynamic processing and upward expansion is one of them, and in my opinion a very good technique to achieve more fullness to your sound. And it seems that people never talk about this, so I think it’s time.
How It Works
An upward expander takes signal above threshold and increases the gain acting like the opposite of compression.
Let's say that we have a normal compressor and have a signal above threshold and apply for example a ratio 2:1 then signals at 2dB above threshold would rise by 1dB. But if we invert that ratio so the ratio now is 1:2 every 1dB above threshold the output will rise by 2dB. So it increases dynamic range by making loud parts or peaks louder.
The parameters works in the same way as when you are setting up a normal/downward compression;
- The attack sets how long it will take before the upward expansion begins.
- The release will set how long the upward expansion is applied.
- You also have your ratio that is sets your ratio and the make up gain that will work more like a “make down gain”.
Get Better Transients
One use case is to use this technique as a transient designer/shaper, to get more attack on my overhead channel. So I just set my threshold like I normally would do for applying regular compression. Less attack-time will get me more transients, in this example I use a fast attack and a pretty high ratio. Don’t forget to reduce the make up gain.
So if you can’t afford that cool expensive transient shaper, just use this technique instead. Because a transient shaper works in a similar way.
If you choose a slower attack time and a longer release time then you can use this technique to bring out more tone and body from drums. It’s not the most efficient way to do get more tone to your drums. But it works.