Login / Register
 
"parallel comping" and others... Can you define?
New Reply
Subscribe
Mr. Kelly
Thread Starter
#1
23rd April 2010
Old 23rd April 2010
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: North Central MA
Posts: 528

Thread Starter
Mr. Kelly is offline
"parallel comping" and others... Can you define?

Hi all,

I've been seeing many posts refering to parallel compressing. Can you tell me what this is? I've never heard the term. I suspect I may already be doing this, but not totally sure!

Are there other methods of compressing that float your boat? Anything interesting we may not see much on here?

Plus, I've also seen many talk about side-chaining a couple of tracks. How would you do this in a DAW? Do you need a dedicated comp that can do side chaining? I read yesterday in an article that there was a fellow who would "link" tracks together on his board to achieve a similar effect. Any tutors? Any interesting tricks?

Thanks for your input!
#2
23rd April 2010
Old 23rd April 2010
  #2
Gear maniac
 
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 259

kleraudio is offline
Well, I believe parallel compression is when you compress a track and keep another of that same track dry and mix the two together to taste...

Example: A kick drum.... You have your dry signal, then you also make your compressed signal....

You mix the two how you like em... Usually this way you can get the punch your looking for and still keep some of the room characteristics...

I may be totally wrong here, but thats what I do sometimes.... I "think" thats called parallel compression..

Jim
#3
23rd April 2010
Old 23rd April 2010
  #3
Lives for gear
 
audiogeek's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Portland, ME
Posts: 1,641

audiogeek is offline
Parallel compression is having two identical regions, running perfectly parallel to one another (starting at the same sample) and (heavily) compressing one of them, not the other. This gets the best of both worlds; all the life and dynamic punch of an uncompressed track, with the smooth body and audibility of a compressed track... Mix to taste.

Often people simply send their tracks to an aux bus and strap a compressor across that, but even the slightest latency in your processing will start to create audible phase artifacts when played in conjunction with the original track. I find it's much more clean to simply duplicate the track and compress in the manner described.

Obviously, if attempting this on drums, you'll need to bounce your drum mix to a stereo track to parallel compress. Thusly, this only really works if you are confident your final drum mix is the 'keeper' before you bounce it down.

For side-chaining, instantiate your comp or gate across the track that you want to duck or key. In most dynamics plugins, there should be a field to select 'key input' or 'side-chain input'... select a bus. Create a send on the track that you want to trigger the comp or gate, and send it to the same bus. Presto.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by shipshape View Post
All the haters. Have a beer and move on to porcupine Tree or something. We are here doing the absolute best we can. It's hard work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Actually it's considerably less expensive to hire the best musicians and record live in a first class studio than spending months making records Sgt. Pepper style in a cheap studio.

Last edited by audiogeek; 23rd April 2010 at 03:04 PM.. Reason: forgot about side-chaining
#4
23rd April 2010
Old 23rd April 2010
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,538

DaVinci is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiogeek View Post
Parallel compression is having two identical regions, running perfectly parallel to one another (starting at the same sample) and (heavily) compressing one of them, not the other. This gets the best of both worlds; all the life and dynamic punch of an uncompressed track, with the smooth body and audibility of a compressed track... Mix to taste.

Often people simply send their tracks to an aux bus and strap a compressor across that, but even the slightest latency in your processing will start to create audible phase artifacts when played in conjunction with the original track. I find it's much more clean to simply duplicate the track and compress in the manner described.

Obviously, if attempting this on drums, you'll need to bounce your drum mix to a stereo track to parallel compress. Thusly, this only really works if you are confident your final drum mix is the 'keeper' before you bounce it down.

For side-chaining, instantiate your comp or gate across the track that you want to duck or key. In most dynamics plugins, there should be a field to select 'key input' or 'side-chain input'... select a bus. Create a send on the track that you want to trigger the comp or gate, and send it to the same bus. Presto.
all of which illustrates why every comp should have a parallel or mix % knob like the rocket, bombardier, the glue, etc.... makes things much simpler, and there's no real reason not to have the feature.
Mr. Kelly
Thread Starter
#5
23rd April 2010
Old 23rd April 2010
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: North Central MA
Posts: 528

Thread Starter
Mr. Kelly is offline
Thanks all... As usual, a great supply of ideas and thoughts...

As suspected, I do parallel comping all the time! Great for vocals/kick/snare/acoustic instruments.

Any other uses that people like?

How about side chaining? Any descriptions of how you'd set it up in a DAW???
#6
23rd April 2010
Old 23rd April 2010
  #6
Lives for gear
 
blacklight_uk's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 522

blacklight_uk is offline
Serial compression is a great one for vocals especially. Set up two compressors on a track - the first to catch the peaks (FET or VCA) and the second a slower acting design (like an Opto).

Gives you nice, smooth compression but you still get the character of the compressors you're using. Even with pretty aggressive settings it sounds natural.
__________________
Josh McArdle
#7
23rd April 2010
Old 23rd April 2010
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Daedalus77's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2006
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 1,747
My Recordings/Credits

Daedalus77 is offline
Mike Caffrey has a great video (or two) explaining two-stage parallel compression—quite cool—on his studio website: Do a search for Monster Island. (BTW, this is related to an article he published in TapeOp a couple years back on the same subject.) Check it out.
__________________
"Where there is much desire to learn, there of necessity will be much arguing."
— John Milton (1608-1674)

"The aspiration to truth is more precious than its assured possession."
— Gotthold Lessing (1729-1781)

www.fugitivesounds.org
#8
23rd April 2010
Old 23rd April 2010
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Rick Sutton's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,269

Rick Sutton is offline
When mixing on an analog board you can easily parallel compress a drum kit by using a stereo aux feed to the compressor and returning it just as you would a reverb return. The Manley Vari-Mu is my comp of choice for this.
Single track, like bass guitar, acoustic etc., are often routed parallel with patch cords and returned on faders. No latency/phasing problems when doing this analog.
#9
23rd April 2010
Old 23rd April 2010
  #9
Lives for gear
 
mikethedrummer's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 1,092

mikethedrummer is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Kelly View Post
Thanks all... As usual, a great supply of ideas and thoughts...

As suspected, I do parallel comping all the time! Great for vocals/kick/snare/acoustic instruments.

Any other uses that people like?

How about side chaining? Any descriptions of how you'd set it up in a DAW???
There are videos all over explaining side chaining, IMO that'd be a lot easier than me saying click on that little key lookin thing, etc.
Side chaining works by compressing a track when told to do so by another. So every time you hit the kick drum, the bass drops out of the way by a DB or two. Works great with vocals and guitars as well.
Also hear a really cool application for it the other day, there are parts in songs where right before a pause or as a pick up note to a louder section, the drummer will hit the snare and floor tom really damn hard, but come playback its not nearly as "epic" as we would want it, so sidechain either the rest of the mix, guitars, bass, to really have the floor tom take over for that part.
#10
23rd April 2010
Old 23rd April 2010
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Joined: May 2008
Location: Mountain View, CA
Posts: 12,682

Dean Roddey is offline
Just for the sake of experimentation you can also play around with EQ'ing the heavily compressed on, to keep the heavy bits that are doing the most good for the drum sound and lose some of the bits that aren't.

I don't do heavy stuff much, so I don't do much of this kind of thing. But I've played with it in SONAR for learning purposes. One thing that worked kind of nicely was doing a pre-fader/pre-fx send of the direct mics only (no room/overheads) to a parallel comp bus and then they could get their own compression and EQ, separate from the EQ of the un/less-compressed direct mics.

That way, the overheads and rooms, which might already have a fair amount of compression, are not compressed again, and only the direct mics are parallel compressed, and they can have their own completely separate processing. And it also would allow cymbals not to be parallel compressed, which sometimes doesn't sound so great. That was a pretty flexible way to do it.

But, it meant I couldn't put any processing on the original direct mic tracks, because there is no actual pre-fx send in SONAR, only pre-fader. So the direct mics would be routed to their own separate buses (kick, snare, toms) and the processing applied there, plus a pre-fader send to a single parallel compression bus for that.

Anyway, more experienced folks might have reasons for which that would suck. But I throw it out there in case, since I found it to be a pretty flexible way to do it that provided a lot of control over the various elements. And having only the much dryer direct mics parallel compressed provided lots of punch, without muddying things up too much.
__________________
Dean Roddey
Chairman/CTO Charmed Quark Systems, Ltd
www.charmedquark.com

Be a control freak!
#11
23rd April 2010
Old 23rd April 2010
  #11
Lives for gear
 
blacklight_uk's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 522

blacklight_uk is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
Just for the sake of experimentation you can also play around with EQ'ing the heavily compressed on, to keep the heavy bits that are doing the most good for the drum sound and lose some of the bits that aren't.

I don't do heavy stuff much, so I don't do much of this kind of thing. But I've played with it in SONAR for learning purposes. One thing that worked kind of nicely was doing a pre-fader/pre-fx send of the direct mics only (no room/overheads) to a parallel comp bus and then they could get their own compression and EQ, separate from the EQ of the un/less-compressed direct mics.

That way, the overheads and rooms, which might already have a fair amount of compression, are not compressed again, and only the direct mics are parallel compressed, and they can have their own completely separate processing. And it also would allow cymbals not to be parallel compressed, which sometimes doesn't sound so great. That was a pretty flexible way to do it.

But, it meant I couldn't put any processing on the original direct mic tracks, because there is no actual pre-fx send in SONAR, only pre-fader. So the direct mics would be routed to their own separate buses (kick, snare, toms) and the processing applied there, plus a pre-fader send to a single parallel compression bus for that.

Anyway, more experienced folks might have reasons for which that would suck. But I throw it out there in case, since I found it to be a pretty flexible way to do it that provided a lot of control over the various elements. And having only the much dryer direct mics parallel compressed provided lots of punch, without muddying things up too much.
+1 I do this all the time. Once you get your head around the routing it gives you a lot of scope for moulding the drum sound. There are many folks who will tell you that you should treat the drums as a single instrument, but it doesn't quite work that way in heavier stuff. I like the kick and snare to be really tight and focused, straight down the middle, with OH and rooms pushed back and wide. It goes without saying that you'll need to buss them to a mono aux, rather than a stereo one, but I've seen it done by accident (and I've done it myself). You lose volume (due to pan law?)

As far as parallel compression for drums, I much prefer the sound of it on close mics. If I'm sending OH and rooms it's because I'm looking to bring the ambience to the front a little more. With kick and snare though, you're bringing up the ring of the snare and the thud of the kick. I've found it works a lot better if you strap a gate across the parallel compressor's aux to stop bleed being amplified and also so that the compressor doesn't start bringing up the noise floor during breaks/quiet parts.

It's always worth rolling off a fair amount of the low end when doing this or you end up amplifying low end rumble which sounds pretty terrible. A low pass filter can also help tame cymbal splash if you're bussing rooms/OH, but EQ before compression.

There's also Motown compression - parallel compression but with high frequency boosts on a singer to accentuate them (usually around 8k). Apparently it sounded better on AM radio that way. Would be great if anybody knows more about it?

New York compression is another form of parallel compression for drums involving EQ cuts in the mids. I've used it a number of times and I find it lends a certain "Hi-Fi" or "Boom-Tizz" sound to drums. I like a pretty big scoop centered around 500Hz.

The best thing, as always, is to experiment!
#12
23rd April 2010
Old 23rd April 2010
  #12
Gear nut
 
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 145

arkmabat is offline
#13
23rd April 2010
Old 23rd April 2010
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Faderjockey's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2002
Location: Baltimore
Posts: 2,128

Faderjockey is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
all of which illustrates why every comp should have a parallel or mix % knob like the rocket, bombardier, the glue, etc.... makes things much simpler, and there's no real reason not to have the feature.
Agreed... This is why we were the first to put it in a hardware unit or pedal.

Now you see it more.. Of course we are smaller so only few caught on to use doing it.. But we've had a few other companies borrowing are comp design now..

Should have been done long ago.. Needed it more back in the analog days.
When there was limited ch's on consoles.
__________________
www.barberelectronics.com
New Reply Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook  Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter  Submit Thread to LinkedIn LinkedIn  Submit Thread to Google+ Google+ 
 
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
pasarski / Geekslutz forum
7
MatsonMusicBox / So much gear, so little time!
5
thethrillfactor / Mastering forum
37
Matt Grondin / So much gear, so little time!
4

Forum Jump

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.