Parallel Compression Question

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by EricIndecisive, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    Hey everyone, I do all of my work in fl studio - stupid, I know, but I like it.

    But something very odd about it is the send channels - If you have a regular track and a send track, whenever you apply compression to the send it gives this really strange phasing sound... even on mono sources. I have also played with pre/post fader to no avail. I can get it to work on adobe audition just fine.

    But that is not the question. Let's say to get around using a send, I duplicated the audio track to 2 unique tracks of the same exact thing, and applied compression to one - is this the same thing? My best friend who goes to berklee said it's not. But I am having a hard time understanding why it wouldn't be? I mean, with a send you are using the same duplicated signal, if you turn one off, the other plays, if they're both on, the volume is augmented. So to me it seems like two separate tracks but just one source.

    He also tells me how pro tools has a 'stereo pan' or something to that effect, where he can take a reverb, and pan it both left and right on the same track. Is this the same thing as say, a stereo enhancer / separator? I just don't get how you can pan a single effect both to the left and to the right... since by my logic that would mean middle.

    Anyways, thanks for any help. I would like to get pro tools, but I really can't justify all the money they want for a software that reminds me a lot of apple.. High price, looks good, sounds good, but all the 'new amazing features' are really years behind what others have been doing. And not even 64 bit support for the most advanced DAW!
     
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    yes,

    Although its more common on drums. Copy a drum track, apply compression to taste and blend. Thats it basically. I use the A-Designs Nail for this as well. Killer on punchy music!
    Parallel Drum Compression - PUREMIX
    These videos are absolutley excellent! The full versions are well worth the investment. The majority here should check them all out. Fab is an excellent engineer.

    Here is another thread about this: http://recording.org/pro-recording-forum/50959-parallel-compression-explained.html

    FL rocks by the way. Not the best DAW but what it does, it does well.
     
  3. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    You're right on the money: the strange phasing sound is indeed caused by partial phase cancelation between your dry and wet signals, probably because the compressor is adding latency that is not corrected automatically.

    What compressor are you using? Try the same setup again, but with a "zero latency" compressor design. My own L3V3LL3R and FL4TT3RY plugs are both zero latency in case you're not sure how to check this...

    If a zero latency compressor works without causing phase problems it means that FLs mix engine is a little bit rubbish and was failing to correct for the latency of the plug: most modern DAWs will do this automatically when mixing (not on live audio inputs though: that's impossible!)

    If a zero latency compressor still causes phase problems it means FLs mix engine is seriously rubbish and is introducing the latency itself.

    I don't know the software well enough to say which of these applies...

    If you want a more powerful mixing environment you may want to consider re-wiring into Reaper, or running FL as a plugin inside Reaper: that way you could continue to use FL's synths and sequencing features, but could pipe all the audio down seperate channels in Reaper in order to mix with full PDC and total routing freedom.

    Reaper's demo is unrestricted apart from a nag screen, and you can buy a non-commercial license for $60 which will be functionally the same as the full commercial license (none of that FL style "some of these features are a demo" nonsense!)
     
  4. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    I just remembered I'd installed FL Studio 10 on my laptop recently ("Fruity Edition", hence my "demo features" comment!) so I fired it up to investigate.

    Setting up a send with no effects inserted works fine. But as soon as I added a basic Fruity compressor or limiter I got major phase cancellation as you described... that's pretty rubbish if you ask me: a modern DAW should really compensate automatically for this kind of latency, and its perfectly possible to design a much better sounding compressor with zero latency anyway (I've done it myself).

    The good news is, when I loaded my own L3V3LL3R compressor instead everything worked fine: phat parallel compression with no phase artifacts. So you can use this technique in FL Studio, but only if you are careful to use zero latency compressors.
     
  5. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Duplicating the track or routing it through a send to a parallel aux track should do pretty much the same thing.

    Stereo panning just puts a pan control on both channels so you can pan them independently like two separate channels. If you pan them both to the center you'd have a mono summed version of your input. You can leave them panned hard apart, bring them in to narrow the image, pan one in a bit to narrow the image and move it to one side etc. It is not a stereo enhancer per se.
     
  6. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    Thanks guys, fantastic answers. audiokid - do you use FL at all? I really like it for tracking and it's intuitive interface. And obviously I do my MIDI drums in there. I actually have a friend with a digital drumkit, and what I am going to do is send him a mixdown of my track so he can drum over it, and I'll combine ezdrummer and addictive drums to get the sound I want. Obviously less than ideal, but neither of us has the room or the type of sound isolation you would need for real drums. But at least I will get a performance and get to tweak it from there, which should be cool.

    IIRS - thanks! I was looking into reaper, but I also have adobe audition 3.0. I mainly use that for editing the actual waveforms, since fl studio is not really meant for that at all. I'll keep looking into reaper though, very cool that it has 64 bit support. Like I said above, I really like FL for tracking and for the way I can create drum tracks. But also when I am done I could always export the individual drum bits, snare, toms, kick, room, etc. and then mix them in another program just like you would real drums. More work, but it's my only way.

    Thanks so much for figuring out why it was giving that phasing problem! That's pretty bad that it does not have the delay comp. I'll try a zero-latency one to test it as well, but I have a feeling I should probably be doing the mixing in AA anyways.

    Thanks for the explanation boulder.. I think I get it haha. Is there a way of replicating this without the stereo send? Would I have to use two different send tracks?
     
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I've been doing a bunch of research on what the best DAWs to use for the Remix business. Fruity Loops excels. I love it. I've had my head in the sand for years. There is so much more than just Pro Tools. Ableton is another DAW that I have, just need more time to get into it.
     
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I've had this issue with lots of stuff when I attempt parallel processing of any kind. It requires that you zoom in to the sample for proper phase lock. As mentioned, there is software that already corrects for latency issues but you still want to make sure things are properly synchronized by zooming in to the most outstanding transients you can find in the waveform. Engineers like to play with knobs and dials and software. So I never consider it a big deal when synchronizing for parallel processing purposes. It's just something you do. It's another knobs, another dial another tweak to get it right. Otherwise the phase cancellation will be miserable sounding. As you've already experienced. And since latency varies with different software, I really don't understand how any manufacturer could make this an automatic process that's 100% accurate? You get accuracy when you focus it yourself.

    I only use autofocus on occasion.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  9. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    The plugin reports its latency to the host, the host then delays all other channels to match. Works perfectly in Reaper (assuming the plug reports its latency correctly).
     

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