Application #2: Parallel Compression Technique
Parallel compression technique is used in how to make loud snare and kick drums in the mix. Generally it can be used to make bigger and fatter drum sound. It can also be used with vocals and other instruments.
The concept of implementing parallel compression is the same as applying reverb on aux send. Parallel compression blends the dry signal and wet signal to produce a strong and fat sounding sound.
The wet sound is VERY compressed with reduced dynamics. However the resulting mixed sound dynamics are restored by blending with the original sound (the dry one). Below are the procedures on how to implement parallel compression:
Step1.) Follow steps 1 to 3 in the previous section except that you need to change the track name as “parallel compression”.
Step2.) In your newly created parallel compression aux track, add a compressor (instead of a reverb for which the previous example is using). For example, select Reaper VST ReaComp and set to “Master bus NY Comp” preset.
Step3.) Configure the aux sends of all tracks that you need to be implemented with parallel compression. Refer to Step5 and Step6 in the previous section for details.
For example, this is the configuration settings for snare aux send to parallel compression aux track:
Enclosed in yellow box, you will see that it send the snare track to track 3 (which is the parallel compression aux track). Make sure to set the dry level to 0dB. The aux send for other track would be configured the same and all are sent to parallel compression aux track.
Step4.) Confirm that all send tracks are received by your parallel compression aux. See screenshot below (in yellow box):
It confirms that it receives all drum tracks for parallel compression (you see two tracks being received, the snare and the kick drum).
Aside from snare and bass drum, you can also implement parallel compression to other drum components such as the tom and hi-hats.
Below is an example of snare and kick drums without parallel compression:
And this is how it sounds with parallel compression applied:
You will know that the one applied with parallel compression sounds stronger and bigger. Experiment further with pre-fx, post-fx and see how the resulting sound changes.
On the other hand; if you are looking for some audio mixing creativity that can enhance the presence of vocals in your mix; try adding parallel compression to it.
Content last updated on July 23, 2012