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Old 21st May 2003
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Originally posted by Dave Derr

What other submix compressor tricks, like with background vocals, or the guitar/keybard submix etc, have you all heard about or tried with great success?

Also I'm very interested in cases where you mix a compressed signal back up under the original signal, like the trick John Paterno wrote about when mixing vocals. And John, I'd love to hear more of your tricks with busses and signal conditioning (and tricks you've seen with Tchad Blake and Mitchel Froom etc.)
Hey Dave --

For me, it really depends on a few things: Am I mixing tracks that I've recorded or someone else's, and what i'm trying to achieve with the end result. I tend to commit to things during the tracking process (like recording a pumping 'Distressed' drum track along with the rest of the kit), so i find that in the end i do less processing of this kind when it comes time to mix. This was probably my greatest lesson from the Tchad and Mitchell years! Usually it is some kind of effect that I run a few things through -- like BG vocals bussed to an ElectroHarmonix Small Stone and panned off to one side.

When I get other people's tracks, or if someone does some programming against some tracks I've already recorded, it kinda becomes an 'anything goes' situation. With programmed stuff, I've had success running that stuff through compressors or EQ's with some 'character'. Most of the time, all I'm doing is pulling the signal out of the stereo buss, assigning it to the appropriate piece of gear and returning it so I'm hearing it through that piece of gear and the 'special goodness' it is adding to the tone. Depending on what i'm after, i have a few options to choose from. I'll sometimes set up a stereo compressor as an effects return and buss as many things as I want to it -- some things end up in parallel, and some things are exclusively sent through the compressor. This is not exactly the parallel idea, but it does seem to fit in a bit with Michael's approach.

The degree to which i do this ultimately depends on what i'm trying to accomplish in the end...