A Chorus is a device that makes the signal sound wider more harmonious, It does this by mixing the original signal with a slightly delayed or detuned signal.
It is a very simple concept but it is so effective.
This is how a simple Chorus works and below are the basic controls
Dry/Wet - Blends the original signal in with the chorused effect.
Delay - This sets the delay time between the original signal and the chorused effect signal, a long time makes the chorus more loose and short time's make it more centred and focused.
Intensity - This has 2 settings a Amount in milliseconds and a Rate/ LFO in Hertz, you look to get a sweet spot when using this as a high rate and low amount results in a nice chorus and a low rate and high amount results in thick detuning.
Feedback - This sets the amount of signal fed back into the chorus input.
The pictures below show some modern and classic emulation's plugin of chorus's used in the music industry.
A De-esser is mainly used on vocals , It reduces sibilant frequencies via volume, sibilants such as S's & T's are most common.
The De-Esser works like a compressor or a dynamic EQ, only it zones in on the selected frequencies, usually the frequencies are between 4-10khz but some plugins may give you more area to work in as shown below in the UAD version its 2-16khz.
With De-Essers usually being used on vocals there is nothing stopping you from using them on other instruments such as Hi Hats, It can be used on the mastering chain to control unwanted high frequencies.
Frequency - Allows you to select the frequency that you wish to use for the sibilants, between 2khz - 16khz on the above version.
Threshold - Activate's the De-Esser above the threshold set value, the UAD version above has a set ratio of 7:1 and a range between -40dB to 0dB.
Solo - Allows you to solo what is being affected by the de-esser, can also be used to zoom in on the frequencies whilst turning the frequency knob from 2khz to 16 kHz.
Speed - This is a set attack / release time, a bit like the compressor/ limiter. The version above is
Fast: Attack = 0.5ms, Release = 30ms
Slow: Attack = 2.0ms, Release = 120ms
A limiter is like compression only that it stops the signal volume going over a set level. It usually has a really fast attack time to stop transients from getting through, the limiter therefore can be used to squash signals closer and closer to 0dB without clipping, this can make a mix sound louder and this is done by reducing the dynamic range of the track. It is usually used at the end of the signal chain on mastering to bring the levels up to a level where the engineer, musician, artist or producer feels like it sounds right.
Limiters usually come with a fixed ratio of inf : 1 and with a attack time set to 0.00ms but as more limiters have been released more are getting more flexible in the option you can use to suit your mix, (as shown in the picture below)
Threshold - A level in dB at where the limiter is activated, anything above the threshold value will be flattened/ shaped to the same level.
Attack - How quickly the limiter reacts to when the signal is above the threshold level is set, or in the oxford limiters case, The ATTACK fader allows the attack time to be increased to achieve an improvement in the sonic qualities of the peak reduction process, by allowing peak transient events to escape hard gain reduction. Since the plug-in has internal headroom, these overshoot peaks are retained and are not clipped.
Release - This is how quickly the limiter reacts to incoming signals in volume, as the release settings on a compressor, there will be a sweet spot between too fast and too slow.
Output Trim - output trim will reduce the overall volume after it has been hit by the limiter, this is good for uploading music to Soundcloud, YouTube etc where the uploading process reduces the overall volume from 0db level.
They are other parameters within the limiter as these above are the main values to get you up and running, further more to this you can learn more about the oxford limiter by visiting the UAD website.
Compression at first too me a while to get your head around but the more I dove into it and the more I understood what the controls did/do and how it is shaped my music I understood how important compressors are. Originally Compressors/ Limiters was used to protect over modulation, this could occur when a signal that was being encoded onto the radio signal, A compressor automatically reduced the volume level when the signal went over a threshold, you can still hear this today on the radio when a presenter shouts or there is a loud noise, the compressor catches the volume over the threshold and reduces it regarding to what setting its has been set too, and then gradually or sharply comes back up to normal levels.
Below shows the main controls for Compression/ Limiters and a brief explanation on what they do.
CONTROL'S OF A COMPRESSOR/ LIMITER
Ultimately it's personal to how you use compressors, giving a overall reducing by 2-4 dB with a 2:1 ratio gives a gentle glue to a overall mix whilst a 15dB reduction and 10:1 ratio will give a slammed feel and bring out the tails in your mix, Its a personal thing.
EQ is short for Equalisation, It is used to boost or reduce certain frequencies in a sound. Traditional analogue mixing desks have 3 bands a low, mid and high, this allows the mixing engineer to mix the low, mid and high bands independently to transform the sound into what the engineer want's.
There are numerous types of EQ available these include shelving eq, graphic eq, parametric eq, linear phase and filters such as low pass, high pass, band pass & cut, dynamic eq & more, all eq's do a slightly different job & it depends on what your needs are.
This is where you set the point of what frequency you would like to alter, cut or boost.
Cut / Boost/ Gain
Cut or Boost the frequency that you have chosen, you may need to adjust the gain afterwards due to either boosting or cutting the frequencies.
Parametric EQ's width (Q) changes the overall width of that which frequencies have been selected. The bigger the value of Q the narrower the area is.
This dictates how steep the slope drops away in dB, a 18dB slope means that 18dB worth of cut or gain will take place over a single octave.
Flanger was produced by running two identical recordings at the same time and by slowing one down to create a small delay between the two, the short delay produces extra harmonic content which is where you get your classic Flanger fx from.
Flanger has a very short delay time between 0.10ms to around 11ms & also incorporate a feedback control.
Rate/ Amount /Speed - How quick the LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) sweeps through the spectrum & extends the LFO's influence via the amount.
Feedback - Increases the intensity of the effect by focusing on the resonant frequency.
Hi pass - Filters out any frequencies below the frequency that is selected.
Width - 0% the waveform is identical to the right and left channels at 100% the waveform is in full stereo.