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Compressor for Glueing and Parallel Compression Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 20th December 2010
  #1
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Compressor for Glueing and Parallel Compression

I am thinking in buying a TFPRO p38 compressor to start using it for parallel compression for tonalisation in mastering.

It might sound stupid but, all these years I have used only one compressor to "glue" the tracks that had to be glued, and I really don't know if it is wise to use a second compressor for parallel compression to add the "necessary quality" that I need at rock tracks.

I mean, are YOU using something similar at your mastering chain?

PS. Will it work to use an analog compressor in buss while all my mastering chain is with digital plug-ins? I mean, will I have any latency problems between the digital and the analog sound?

PS2 IF I use an analog comp. for parallel compressing? Where will I'll have to put it ?Before the glueing compressor...after...only chose one ?
Old 20th December 2010
  #2
I was going to post a question as to how many ME out there actually do anything parallel in mastering. I have NEVER been in a session where the ME approached that level of processing on my mixes. So what's the deal, is this a relatively new process going on?
Old 20th December 2010
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by engmix View Post
I was going to post a question as to how many ME out there actually do anything parallel in mastering. I have NEVER been in a session where the ME approached that level of processing on my mixes. So what's the deal, is this a relatively new process going on?
It's the biggest thing since narrow-band parallel expansion, and is extremely popular on the Internets.


DC
Old 21st December 2010
  #5
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I use parallel compression once and a while, but I actually have two identical hardware compressors in parallel. This does away with any potential phase shift problems and I can actually use compression on both sides, just slightly different settings. So there can be very gentle, upward compression at low levels, giving to downward compression at higher levels. It's not something I do often though.
Old 21st December 2010
  #6
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No parallel processing so far.

No "creative" mastering either altough you never know what the future holds!

Isn't glue, punch and so on a mixer's responsibility?

How long until we are asked to "tune" a vocal or play a few bars that couldn't be added at the mixing stage? heh

What do you mean by "tonalisation"? What is "necessary quality"?

What is it that you are aiming to achieve with parallel processing?
Old 21st December 2010
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riccardo View Post
Isn't glue, punch and so on a mixer's responsibility?
Well, that's two posts reported in one day.


DC
Old 21st December 2010
  #8
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Quote:
How long until we are asked to "tune" a vocal or play a few bars that couldn't be added at the mixing stage?
Don't poke fun, I'VE DONE IT! The really creative (read, abnormal and heavy handed) is largely reserved for rap guys, & so forth. I've never tuned something as a part of mastering though.
Old 21st December 2010
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wado1942 View Post
Don't poke fun, I'VE DONE IT! The really creative (read, abnormal and heavy handed) is largely reserved for rap guys, & so forth. I've never tuned something as a part of mastering though.
Ah! I had the "we forgot the reverb on the piano can we add it now" and "can you tune the pitch of the contraltos in the choir as they get out from this section" in the same session a couple of weeks ago

Vinateg Bedini BASE is out, vintage hardware Antares Auto Tune is the new cool! heh
Old 21st December 2010
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcollins View Post
It's the biggest thing since narrow-band parallel expansion, and is extremely popular on the Internets.


DC
Aren't we to cool for school
Old 21st December 2010
  #11
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Compressor for Glueing and Parallel Compression

Loving my Elysia xpressor here for mastering and 2bus duties. Very flexible n clean!
Old 21st December 2010
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riccardo View Post
How long until we are asked to "tune" a vocal or play a few bars that couldn't be added at the mixing stage? heh
I've had a client ask 'I wish you could fix the bad trumpet note - I guess you can't in mastering?'

I located the note in question which was the top one in a three part trumpet harmony playing over a full funk band.
It took some really careful editing in Izotope RX, but I managed to convincingly replace it with another brass note and blend it seamlessly into the mix.
Client was thrilled and paid me double rate heh

It's not something I would expect to pull off too often.
Old 21st December 2010
  #13
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i overdubbed bass on a recent record....
Old 21st December 2010
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wado1942 View Post
I use parallel compression once and a while, but I actually have two identical hardware compressors in parallel. This does away with any potential phase shift problems and I can actually use compression on both sides, just slightly different settings. So there can be very gentle, upward compression at low levels, giving to downward compression at higher levels. It's not something I do often though.
respectfully,

what is the difference between "upward compression" and "downward compression," apart from whether or not you choose to adjust the output gain?

a lot of people slam that "parallel compression under a microscope" article, but i've yet to see anyone refute the math with actual math.

i'm certainly not anyone important in the business, but i have sent my mixes out to, oh, half a dozen full-time, relatively established mastering engineers, and i don't think any of them have used parallel compression.
Old 21st December 2010
  #15
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I love that fixing it in the mix is almost the "responsible" thing to do these days. heh

"Whadduya mean don't fix it in the mix? I didn't think we were supposed to wait until mastering!"
Old 21st December 2010
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan jetter View Post
respectfully,

what is the difference between "upward compression" and "downward compression," apart from whether or not you choose to adjust the output gain?
Neither have anything to do with makeup gain.

Downward compression:
You set a threshold. Anything that rises above that threshold gets reduced in volume.

Upward compression:
You set a threshold. Anything that falls below that threshold gets raised in volume.
Old 21st December 2010
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by engmix View Post
Aren't we to cool for school
Yes, and a high school dropout. But I think your observation that you have never seen anything close to level of processing you read about on the Internets is a valid question.

Why? Where did it come from? Is it really better? An improvement on the time-honored techniques?

I have no answers other than to say there are definitely more techniques available than ever before, that much I know for sure.


DC
Old 21st December 2010
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcollins View Post
Yes, and a high school dropout. But I think your observation that you have never seen anything close to level of processing you read about on the Internets is a valid question.

Why? Where did it come from? Is it really better? An improvement on the time-honored techniques?

I have no answers other than to say there are definitely more techniques available than ever before, that much I know for sure.


DC
i think the first thing i learned in a recording studio as an intern in 1985 was there was no such thing as a stupid question. That mindset has served me well over the years.

How about sharing some of your thoughts on some of these new techniques.
Old 21st December 2010
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan jetter View Post
what is the difference between "upward compression" and "downward compression," apart from whether or not you choose to adjust the output gain?
It's exactly what it sounds like. Upward compression compresses lower-level stuff upward while leaving the higher level stuff alone. That way, you still have compression, but you don't reduce any peaks. It brings out ambiance and generally doesn't sound compressed because it work on low-level stuff that's somewhat harder to hear.

Downward compression is what everybody knows where the lower level stuff is left with its full dynamic range, unlike upward compression. In stead, the higher level stuff is reduced.

Most likely, you've never had parallel compression done on any of your work but if you did, it'd be very hard to notice if done well.
Old 21st December 2010
  #20
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Tinkal's Avatar
Adam Dempsey : Thanx for the articles, cause some of them slipped from me when I was searching for parallel compression.

Riccardo : I want to achieve the necessary "body" and "aggressiveness" in some rock tracks, so after reading some stuff about parallel compression I thought that it's the best way to do it. In fact the exact thing to do is "add fullness and lift low passages without changing the transients" as Langerfeldt said in some other post about the same subject.

"Isn't glue, punch and so on a mixer's responsibility?"

Yeah! But how many times have you seen a ME remixing a track ?

So my idea was to buy the PFPro p38 (which has a Mix Knob!) to use it as a parallel compressor.
Old 21st December 2010
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcollins View Post
It's the biggest thing since narrow-band parallel expansion, and is extremely popular on the Internets.
As is tonalisation.

Mychal
Old 22nd December 2010
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wado1942 View Post
It's exactly what it sounds like. Upward compression compresses lower-level stuff upward while leaving the higher level stuff alone. That way, you still have compression, but you don't reduce any peaks. It brings out ambiance and generally doesn't sound compressed because it work on low-level stuff that's somewhat harder to hear.

Downward compression is what everybody knows where the lower level stuff is left with its full dynamic range, unlike upward compression. In stead, the higher level stuff is reduced.

Most likely, you've never had parallel compression done on any of your work but if you did, it'd be very hard to notice if done well.
fair enough- but....is that what parallel compression is actually doing?

seems to me that the dry signal is "X"

we duplicate it to get "2X"

we compress the copy, and then end up with something slightly less than "2X"

but i think it's misleading to say that parallel compression does not affect the peaks.

in my empirical observations, i am able to get very close to a null between "regular" compression and "parallel" compression.

if using hardware, there may be some ancillary effects from whatever transformer saturation or nonlinearity occurs from the specific hardware unit in question.

but purely in terms of the math, the gain reduction.....i am not convinced that parallel compression is inherently less destructive than downward compression. this is borne out both from my abstract understanding and my anecdotal experience.

certainly i have not seen anyone use any actual math to refute the "parallel compression under a microscope" paper.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by engmix View Post
i think the first thing i learned in a recording studio as an intern in 1985 was there was no such thing as a stupid question. That mindset has served me well over the years.

How about sharing some of your thoughts on some of these new techniques.
To begin with, I think there is too much emphasis on 'tricks' or 'secrets' and not enough on basics of eq. Or that the compressor is a default device, which magically makes a flat mix 'punchy.'

I've tried parallel compression both in analog and digital and never actually used it. M/S pretty much the same thing, although I do use M/S de-essing all the time. I think M/S EQ and especially compression is best thought of as a last resort, as you will inevitably be changing the mix at a fundamental level. Then again, sometimes you are putting in everything but the kitchen sponge................


DC
Old 22nd December 2010
  #24
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I use parallel compression or parallel de-expansion whenever I feel the track could do with a little extra low level detail and body, and it happens to work in the context. I like the Flux Syrah for this purpose.

It's just another trick in the book, nothing to rave about or be scared about either.

Same goes for M/S EQ, I probably do it on 1 out of 10 mixes. I had this track for the Danish X-Factor album where the strings were just about the only thing in the S channel and they were way too mid-rangy for some reason. Saved that track without affecting the overall mix.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinkal View Post
Adam Dempsey : Thanx for the articles, cause some of them slipped from me when I was searching for parallel compression.

Riccardo : I want to achieve the necessary "body" and "aggressiveness" in some rock tracks, so after reading some stuff about parallel compression I thought that it's the best way to do it. In fact the exact thing to do is "add fullness and lift low passages without changing the transients" as Langerfeldt said in some other post about the same subject.

"Isn't glue, punch and so on a mixer's responsibility?"

Yeah! But how many times have you seen a ME remixing a track ?

So my idea was to buy the PFPro p38 (which has a Mix Knob!) to use it as a parallel compressor.

The P30 seems a good and flexible unit. Since "fix it in the mastering" seems to becoming common as a request you might also consider in the future a "colour piece" especially for rock mixes that if I read you correctly nowadays lack what in the past was a common feature (read an experienced engineer) Something on the vein of a Neve/Chandler/API iron power.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan jetter View Post
fair enough- but....is that what parallel compression is actually doing?

seems to me that the dry signal is "X"

we duplicate it to get "2X"

we compress the copy, and then end up with something slightly less than "2X"
Yes: below threshold, the two signals sum. Above threshold, the compressed signal contributes less to the net output. Very fast attack on the compressed signal, and generally at least 2:1 ratio, is ideal. And hence why dialling it into the dry signal can work far better than dialling the dry into the comp signal, or even using 50/50 blend as a starting point. I haven't needed this technique in years but have used it with success in the past, even within SADiE.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #27
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If you think about a perfectly clean compressor without any "color", parallel compression is the same as reducing the ratio.

Mixing a 1:infinite compressed signal 50:50 with a dry signal results in a 1:2 ratio behaviour.

The "crush n blend" technique (~90% dry - ~10% needle to the left) generally results in very low ratios (1:1.2-1.5). So it might seem to be upward compression as the compressd signal dominates more on the quieter passages, but if you look at the resulting transfer function, it's just as downward as using a standard compressor with a very low ratio (which, oh suprise, also works very well on the masterbus).

One of the main advantages I see (and that's the reason why i really like to use it) it, that you can level-match the compressed signal to the dry. So you can do blend (= vary the ratio) without a change in volume, which makes it easier to find the optimal setting. Also cool for compressors with stepped ratios
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