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Parallel Compression for Life
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Parallel Compression for Life

Let's talk about parallel compression.

It's 2020. Every compressor plug-in on the market should have a mix control (wet/dry). No excuses.

Not some cute little tiny "screw" control, to keep the interface retro-looking. A proper mix control knob. I don't care if the original hardware didn't have one.

Every company selling compressor plug-ins should go and add mix knobs to any compressor that doesn't already have one. Mix control is trivial to code. It's 2020, your customers want to do parallel compression.

<END OF RANT>
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

Agree. Reaper provides a mix control for every plugin instance, which I use regularly but don’t know for sure if there’s a downside to a mix control outside the plugin.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 
gravyface's Avatar
I'm more of a duplicate track or create a buss and do it there kind of a guy myself. I like to process my parallel buss differently, like sometimes bring the top end back a bit after smashing a parallel drum buss.

Last edited by gravyface; 1 week ago at 11:21 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 
thismercifulfate's Avatar
Let’s be clear here: Having a wet/dry control on a compressor is not the same thing as using a compressor in parallel. Much like using a reverb directly on a track with wet/dry, you have very limited control versus having it on its own aux return. Let’s take drums for example:

Often I will route select tracks to a parallel comp, and leave off tracks like the snare bottom, hihat mic. Rather than sidechain hpf-inh, I will put an EQ in front of the compressor and hpf lower frequencies, because often I don’t want to add sustain or distortion to frequencies below 150hz. Often I’ll automate the send levels to the parallel compressor, like pushing the overheads in the chorus and backing off on the verses, to get the cymbals to rage more. Often I’ll set up a parallel distortion track alongside the parallel compressor.

If you simply slap your compressor du jour on your drum bus you can’t do any of the above things. I may catch flak for saying this, but could laziness be behind the desire to simply have a wet/dry knob on every compressor? Again, that is simply not parallel compression. It may take a little extra time to set up routing by doing what I described, but you have infinitely more options and control that way.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Lives for gear
 
tymish's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thismercifulfate View Post
Let’s be clear here: Having a wet/dry control on a compressor is not the same thing as using a compressor in parallel. Much like using a reverb directly on a track with wet/dry, you have very limited control versus having it on its own aux return. Let’s take drums for example:

Often I will route select tracks to a parallel comp, and leave off tracks like the snare bottom, hihat mic. Rather than sidechain hpf-inh, I will put an EQ in front of the compressor and hpf lower frequencies, because often I don’t want to add sustain or distortion to frequencies below 150hz. Often I’ll automate the send levels to the parallel compressor, like pushing the overheads in the chorus and backing off on the verses, to get the cymbals to rage more. Often I’ll set up a parallel distortion track alongside the parallel compressor.

If you simply slap your compressor du jour on your drum bus you can’t do any of the above things. I may catch flak for saying this, but could laziness be behind the desire to simply have a wet/dry knob on every compressor? Again, that is simply not parallel compression. It may take a little extra time to set up routing by doing what I described, but you have infinitely more options and control that way.
I think it could be really useful for those tracks that you don't need to get fancy with. Sometimes, bass or guitar even vox. When you do need all the options, set it all wet and create a separate channel, aux etc etc. Could clean up the mixer a bit.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thismercifulfate View Post
Let’s be clear here: Having a wet/dry control on a compressor is not the same thing as using a compressor in parallel. Much like using a reverb directly on a track with wet/dry, you have very limited control versus having it on its own aux return. Let’s take drums for example:

Often I will route select tracks to a parallel comp, and leave off tracks like the snare bottom, hihat mic. Rather than sidechain hpf-inh, I will put an EQ in front of the compressor and hpf lower frequencies, because often I don’t want to add sustain or distortion to frequencies below 150hz. Often I’ll automate the send levels to the parallel compressor, like pushing the overheads in the chorus and backing off on the verses, to get the cymbals to rage more. Often I’ll set up a parallel distortion track alongside the parallel compressor.

If you simply slap your compressor du jour on your drum bus you can’t do any of the above things. I may catch flak for saying this, but could laziness be behind the desire to simply have a wet/dry knob on every compressor? Again, that is simply not parallel compression. It may take a little extra time to set up routing by doing what I described, but you have infinitely more options and control that way.
+1 on this. I always set up a aux return for parallel comp. Not a fan of the blend knob.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
XAXAU's Avatar
Mix knob is literally exactly the same as parallel

Workflow described above can’t be done with a mix knob, agreed

I do it both ways depending on the situation

I have a Vintage Design VDC which has sc hpf, mix knob and 20dB 1272 makeup gain and it rocks

Usually doesn’t need any eq pre comp

Been doing it since Bob Katz came out with his book in 2002
Old 1 week ago
  #8
The flexibility of the parallel comp track often makes it more appealing to me too. However, I do love having that Reaper blend knob for plugins that do not have that feature.

It just depends on the situations, as to what's appropriate for the track.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Parallel compression isn't just for the drum bus. Agreed, the drum bus may need a complete separate parallel chain -- which absolutely must be done on separate tracks.

But frequently when I'm compressing something (that isn't the drum bus), I'll hear that the knee behavior of the compressor changes at different levels of gain reduction. Sometimes the knee sounds PERFECT with a lot of gain reduction...but then, the sound is too squashed.

If there's a mix knob, the solution is super-easy: add more of the dry signal back in.

If there isn't a mix knob...well, I have to set up a send, and a bus track, and match level, and increase my chances of grabbing the wrong fader during the mix. Just because the plugin developer wanted to keep their interface design 100% faithful to the original retro device.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Gear Nut
I for one don't consider a W/D control necessary on compressors. I'm not saying it would be bad; I just don't demand it because it's a feature I just don't reach for often. There are cases where W/D either doesn't really make sense or would not meet everybody's expectations; particularly when it comes to colored effects such as hardware emulations.

And no, it's not necessarily trivial to code. Even for the compressor algorithms where the audio processing and host communication side would be (relatively) easy, it would still require several modifications to the UI to introduce the control.
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