Compressors these days has a wide variety of designs, forms and techniques, introducing multiple applications. As if the original concept of compression isn’t complex already, especially for a student like myself. Parallel compression is one of these different techniques of compression that sounds fancy but is actually super simple. This blog will look at the concept, how to execute it, and we will put the technique to the test with a rock vocal track!

To put it simply, parallel compression is the process of duplicating a track, and smashing the duplicated track with a compressor, and blending it with the original track to taste. Why might one use this technique? There are a number of reasons, but the main one is that it adds crispiness, presence, edge and it can bring out the little details and imperfections in something like a vocal track that make it more organic and BIGGER!

As an example, I’ve taken a verse vocal from an original song and used parallel compression. I’ve taken the vocal with nothing but a 7-band EQ cleaning up the track, although it was tracked running through a Teletronix LA-2A Compressor with fairly minimal gain reduction. I created duplicate of the track and boosted the highs and lows in the EQ to add some different frequencies to the sound, particularly the harsher high frequencies.

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 6.00.21 PM.png

On the duplicate I’ve gone for the Native Instruments Supercharger plug-in as I can get quite a lot of aggression out of it. I’ve turned the compression knob all the way up and attenuated the input trim to compensate. Ive also selected the “Dirt” button for some added grit.

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 5.59.52 PM.png

Lastly I’ve brought this track down by roughly 8dB from its original mix level, the balance with the original is purely subjective to your mix and the style. For this sound 8dB felt appropriate enough to bring out the crisp, sparkle and presence in the vocal.

Test Examples:

Original:

Crushed:

Blended:

Something a I hope achieve this trimester is to achieve a much higher knowledge level of compression and techniques I can use with it.

Bibliography:

Parallel Compression | Sound On Sound. (2016). Soundonsound.com. Retrieved 27 June 2016, from http://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/parallel-compression

Behind The Mix – Advanced Compression. (2015). Theproducerschoice.com. Retrieved 27 June 2016, from http://www.theproducerschoice.com/blogs/articles/6516523-behind-the-mix-advanced-compression

Two “Secrets” to Effective Parallel Compression. (2016). YouTube. Retrieved 27 June 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3i-cY4EQMoU

 

 

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