Yesterday, I posted a little ear training exercise. Most folks guessed the compression was the main difference between the two clips, but JP nailed it by guessing parallel compression.

You may remember a few articles and videos I posted last summer on parallel processing — Parallel Processing: Bass, Parallel Processing: Drums.

To review, parallel processing is simply processing two copies of the same signal in different ways in order to produce tonal results that would be otherwise impossible with only one copy of the signal.

In other words, parallel processing allows you to utilize the benefits of a certain effect without overdoing it. Let me explain.

Here’s a screenshot of how I have the drums set up (click to enlarge):

I have the regular processing on the individual pieces of the kit: EQ, compression, gating. then I run them all through a Submix Aux track.

If you’re wanting to compress the drums, you can certainly do it on one aux track. However, sometimes compression can kill the attack and transients of your drum track. That’s where parallel compression can really help.

With parallel compression, you create two aux tracks. In this session I have one aux with no processing at all. On the second one, I put the SSL bus compressor plug-in, and set it to do some EXTREME compression (See pic at the beginning of this post). Then I blended the two together.

The first clip from yesterday was the kit by itself (the first aux track):

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For the second clip, I blended in the over-the-top compression of the second aux track.

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Wanna hear just the compressed drums? Here it is:

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With Clip #1, the drum kit sounds fine. With Clip #3, it’s pumping and breathing like crazy. The transients of the kit are muffled, but the body and ring of the drums and the sound of the room are all brought out.

By blending them together (Clip #2), you get the nice body and beefiness of Clip #2 without losing the transients of Clip #1.

Pretty cool, huh?

Straight from the HSC Production Club

This is an example of the kinds of things we cover in depth in the HSC Production Club. These are actually clips from the song I use for the Production Club material called “Treading Water.”

I’ve still got a few spots available if you want to join us. Over the next 12 weeks I will be unloading all sorts of info on my Club members.

Go ahead and sign up. You will love it. If you don’t, I’ll give you a refund faster than you can say “parallel compression.” 😉

Click here to find out more. The doors close Saturday night, February 6th, at midnight. You won’t be able to join after that, and I probably won’t be accepting new members for several months.

Got an opinion? Questions? Leave a comment.

  • CamBam

    I guessed Compression! Nice job Jon-Paul on guessing parallel compression!

  • Always impressed with the results one can get by using parallel compression on drums and even bass! Great audio examples Joe.

  • Oh yeah! Go it right! (I'm JP by the way)… I guess helps being a drummer to hear the difference. I really enjoy playing with parallel processing on my drum tracks. For the longest time I always wondered how they got those big drum sounds and ever since coming upon Joe's parallel processing demos (bass and drums), it really opened my eyes to the possibilities. Funny, we never touched on that aspect of mixing in recording tech school when I was there 15yrs ago.

  • Always impressed with the results one can get by using parallel compression on drums and even bass! Great audio examples Joe.

  • Oh yeah! Go it right! (I'm JP by the way)… I guess helps being a drummer to hear the difference. I really enjoy playing with parallel processing on my drum tracks. For the longest time I always wondered how they got those big drum sounds and ever since coming upon Joe's parallel processing demos (bass and drums), it really opened my eyes to the possibilities. Funny, we never touched on that aspect of mixing in recording tech school when I was there 15yrs ago.