Using Dyna-mite the Wrong Way
Niklas Odelholm, June 2011

Full Mix

Full Mix

There are a lot of things you can do with the Valley People Dyna-mite. You can use it as a standard (but totally obliviating) limiter and expander, but you can also use its sonic qualities to achieve results that the original designers didn't anticipate.

One standard way of abusing a compressor is to set a slow attack, so that the compressor doesn't catch the first attack in a sound. This will create a punchy tone, since the start of the note (or hit) will be unaffected by the slow compressor. Classic trick. Doing it with the Dyna-mite is even more fun, since it's so brutal.

So how do you abuse a gate? Easy. Just set it so hard that it cuts away the beginning of the sound. (Wait a minute, isn't this the opposite of the compressor trick? Doesn't this make it sound weaker, not punchier?) If you set it aggressive enough, it will create a "click" each time the gate triggers. And this click can be extremely useful on a bass drum track. (Ahh, I see!)

Solo'd Bass Drum

Solo'd Bass Drum

Bass Drum
Let's get some more "click" in the bass drum. Set up the Dyna-mite as an aggressive gate (MODE=Exp, DET=Gate) with a somewhat smooth release time (for example with the BD Gate Hard preset). The gate will cut the first samples of the bass drum, and thus creating a "click" in the beginning. Doesn't sound that nice when solo'ed, but does the trick in the mix!

If you need longer a longer sustain in the bass drum, you can blend it together with the unprocessed track.

Solo'd Snare Drum

Solo'd Snare Drum

Snare Drum
You want the sound of a drummer hitting that snare hard, but the drummer didn't hit it that hard. So obviously you reach for the Dyna-mite. Set it up as a limiter (MODE=Limit), with the "AVG" (slow) detector mode. This can be achieved with the Limiting Snap preset as a starting point. In this example I've also added a gate (Gate Snare preset) in front of the limiter to remove some of the hi-hat bleed...


The sound examples in this article is a mix containing drums and bass, where the bass covers most of the bass frequencies thus making it hard for the bass drum to be heard. The snare will also cut through the mix, even at modest levels, without interfering too much with the vocals, guitars, etc.

Vice President/Products. He's the one designing the products as well as doing a lot of signal processing and modeling. With a strong opinion about features, design and probably almost everything there's really no easy way to stay out of conflict when he's around. When he's not at work he can probably be seen behind a bass or piano at a jazz club or fiddling on semi-polynomial equations for creating optimal compression with minimal harmonics (let us know if he's done with that).