Parallel Compression

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by havinga-studios, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. Anyone familiar with the technique Parallel Compression and have any ideas they would like to share on this technique. A friend of mine who has a fairly established studio was telling me about this technique.
  2. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member


    I do lot's of things in the studio and onstage without really thinking "what's the definition of this" or "when I set up the mics like this it's called ______".

    What about parallel comp peaks your interest?
  3. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Bent, that's the thing about compression: it has no peaks. :lol:
    OK, that was terrible.

    I'd imagine parallel compression involves splitting the effect send, to 2 separate compressors configured differently and then bringing them back together in some ratio. Dunno why you would do that though. Maybe to give a semi-rough sound to the voice?

    And when I do stuff onstage like tilt mics a little, I think "why do I bother".
  4. Parrallel Compression (in theory) is where you duplicate a track. Run one track without compression, and then track a second vocal track (possibly a copy) with a hard compression of say 10:1 at around -15 db threshold. You then add this to the mix with your original uncompressed vocal. I was suggested around a 30% (not sure what that would be in Db's). I was told you mix the combo till here when it suits your need.

    I am going to experiment with this, this weekend for my son's project. Again part of my goal to get that A7X vocal sound.
    I guess what kind of music styles or voices does it suit for is the kind of feedback as well if anyone has a rock solid science tip on this. This is all new to me. I have been using Antares plugins but I find they sound robotic and cheap when it comes to making the vocal cut through.
    Also I have eq'd the vocal to get that radio sound or just eq'd it to fit in its own freq. spectrum but it seems there is still that one thing missing. Maybe its just skill I need.
    Anyways, without rambling on anymore, I'm exploring ways of getting that magic vocal.
  5. u guys are hilarious with these 1 sentence puns.
    where do you come up with this stuff?
  6. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Ah right, I've heard of that. Actually I tried it one time, only with other stuff as well.

    Recording of our Church band live, doing a song. I used the 2 board effect sends to capture the main sound, with a pre-done stereo image (and horrible EQing) and mixed in the guitar/vocal monitors later (after shifting them to fix phase issues). I put a reverb on the vocal monitor signal, with the vocals still coming largely from the effect mixes.

    Just remeber, you don't have to stick with comp/verb/EQ with vocals. You could try distorting one of the vocal signals with a plugin, might get you something interesting.

    And as for the wit, it's a gift I use all too often. It's a joke a minute but a laugh an hour with me.
  7. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Nice one, Monkey!

    "No peaks..." Hahaha!

    :lol: :lol: :lol:
  8. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Probably because you read a post where I said that it's a good thing to do?

    [/feeling all high and mighty]
  9. Halifaxsoundguy

    Halifaxsoundguy Active Member

    I did this on a song before, I bused all the drum channels to a stereo track them compressed the $*^t out of it and introduced it to the overall drum sound for effect. It was neat. I just can't remember why I did it, I think it was for the sake of experimenting. When I was in Recording school we did lots of experimenting like building forts around kick drums and amps, then miking at various spots in the fort. I can't tell you how many times I built a fort because I didn't have a vocal booth.

    As adults, we don't build enough forts. Fort building Rocks!
  10. "No Peaks", I get it, I think you better hire the "king of dry" Seinfeld for some of those dry one liners, lol.
  11. yes HalifaxSoundGuy, this was another example of Parallel Compression that was mentioned to me.
    Obviously going to recording school has its benefits. I have to hear about these things from other guys in the field that do this for a living.
  12. Halifaxsoundguy

    Halifaxsoundguy Active Member

    As I think back, I believe I read in in an EQ or Mix Magazine.

    I don't know anyone who builds forts for a living, but that would be an awesome career like Lego Designer or Mattress tester!
  13. I don't anybody doing Mattress testing or Lego Designing but actually I do know someone that works at the Fort in Fort Langley, BC. Not sure if Fort building is part of his title. I think that was done for him already. Thats the closest job to fort building I know of.
  14. Halifaxsoundguy

    Halifaxsoundguy Active Member

    This is the program I took and it was awesome.

    This is not a take your money school. Because its a community college, its mandate is to make sure that every student passes instead of seeing how many they can pipe through in a year.

    The school was moved to a brand new Facility which houses all the New media courses throughout Nova Scotia. All the courses work together through out the year.
  15. In Nova Scotia of all places, very cool. Not exactly what I would of expected out there. Last time I was there, I ended up taking a crab cage with me home as a keepsake.
  16. AwedOne

    AwedOne Guest


    In case you didn't get your original question answered...

    Here's how I do parallel compression in Cubase 4:

    1. create 4 group channels named DRY DRUMS, COMPRESSED DRUMS,
    DRUM RVB, & DRUM SUB. route these channels to DRUM SUB

    2. route the outputs of all your drum mics to DRY DRUMS

    3. create sends for each drum mic channel as follows:

    dry drums
    compressed drums
    drum rvb
    and set the send slider to 0db

    4. put your favorite compressor plug on the COMPRESSED DRUMS
    channel, favorite drum reverb plug on the DRUM RVB channel, and
    I usually put an Envelope Shaper and EQ on the DRUM SUB channel.

    5. Set up effects plugs like you normally would for kick, snare, toms, and
    overheads, etc. I like to use a gate, compressor, and limiter on the BD,
    a small bit of compression on the snare, an Envelope Shaper plug on
    the toms, and nothing on the overheads and room mics. This is where
    the "parallel compression" comes from.

    6. Using the faders on the group channels mix in to taste the

    There are other ways accomplish the same thing, but this is what I use and there is a noticable improvement in the sound of the drum tracks.
  17. There was a great article about parallel (2-stage) compression a few issues back in Tape Op. I'll scan some pictures of the article if you're interested.
  18. thanks awedone for posting that and yes Patrick, that 2 stage compression would definitely interest me, thanks ahead for the info.
  19. So is this also common practise for vocals?
    It seems so far, that this is used alot on Drums.
    Great info by the way Awedone and I will surely try this with my Cubase 3. Hopefully I should have the same flexibility with routing.
  20. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Parallel compressini results in a form of upward compression.

    Conventional compressors are downwards compressors, ie: they turn down loud signals and leave quiet signals unaffected. Upward compression does it the other way around: quiet signals are boosted while loud ones are not affected (or hardly affected).

    You can use the technique to transparently reduce dynamic range (eg for classical recordings) or to increase ambience levels, or simply to make things sound fatter and meatier.

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