Dear VU-1. For equalizers I do NOT use tones… just the visual recall from Session Recall and all my equalizers are detented. Or in the case of the Bettermaker mastering EQ it’s digital recall of analog.
My method is to play a -14 dBFS 1 kHz tone which is always residing in my DAW session.
For compressors and expanders that are not detented, like the Pendulum, I only set the threshold and output gain with tones. I’m comfortable setting attack and release visually as they do not have to be precise within a tenth like TH and output.
First step of course is to get the sound you like. You can use test tones to help match left and right gains at that time. My new multiturn pot mod makes it easy to match the gains and thresholds of each channel without needing tones. And/or listening to ensure the vocal is (typically) centered. If you don’t have my multiturn numeric pots, then once you have dialed in a sound, send the 1 kHz tone into the compressor, note the return level on your meters. Then turn down the threshold all the way and note the amount that the output has increased. That’s the gain reduction. Then tweak the two output levels to match left and right perfectly. Note that level for recall, on your DAW meters or loudness meter or RMS meter. Then turn up the threshold until the outputs reduce equally by the amount of GR that you had previously noted. Now log that output level.
For restore, start with the tone from the DAW, threshold all the way down, and set the output level of the comp to produce the logged reading. Then turn up the threshold until the output reduces to the other logged reading. Done.
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