Meer Power
Boring synth stuff

Parallel Compression

Parallel compression is just splitting the drums (or whatever) of track into two paths, leaving one very light and dainty and dynamic, and squashing the living balls out of the other.

It’s much easier to find a good balance between dynamics and loudness with parallel compression, rather than having just one compressor on the drums and spending hours trying to find the exact right settings. As a bonus, there’s a whole bunch of neato things you can do with parallel compression, especially with automation.

Like a lot of things, the one setting you finally decide on for the mix between squashed and unsquashed isn’t likely to be completely ideal for the entire song, unless your music sucks. Automating the level of the squashed, distorted drums so that during big, exciting parts of the track the drums become huge and massive and then laying off it a bit during calmer sections adds a lot of Good Things™. No one will probably notice, but it’s a lot of fun and it’ll make you feel good.

Depending on how it’s done, not all of the drums have to be sent to the squashed bus the same amount. I like to strategically send some drum sounds to the squashed bus more than the light n’ dainty bus so that the overall character of the drums can be changed, without switching the samples around or other time consuming things. Generally, I’ll send anything I think will add a lot of intensity to the drums more to the squashed bus. Usually cymbals, maybe hi hats and if I’ve layered two snare or kick drums together, I’ll squash one of the layers more than the other.

In FL Studio, I like to have a mixer track for each drum sound, and then send them all to two different tracks, compress one to death and sometimes widen the stereo or whatever else, really, and just make an automation clip for it.

Parallel Compression In FL

In Reason, I would have a Combinator with ReDrum or whatever I’m using for drums and a mixer for each drum sound. Putting a compressor on one of the sends and then automating the return level of that send would work pretty nicely. Each of the channels in the mixer can be sent to be squashed a different amount, woo!

Parallel Compression In Reason

 

That’s all. Go forth unto the world and make phatdrums.

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3 Responses to “Parallel Compression”

  1. This might help me. Thanks.

  2. Yep, you’re dead right. Parallel compression or NY compression is a hidden gem/technique to get your drums big and PHAT! I like to use the UAD 1176 for NY Comp duties because of it’s gritty sound quality. Make sure your DAW supports Plugin Delay Compensation or you’re going to have a world of pain. Nice post!

  3. I love how I said this might help me and then never actually used it. Seriously, this might help me. I’m going to actually try it now because I seem to suck at mastering/compressing.


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