I was getting a lot of questions about the magical, mysterious, mythical black magic and legendary "Parallel Compression". A lot of people tend to make this technique ultra complicated explaining to others. Problem starts when we add some buses to it.. wait what.. what buses? No worries You won't need a weekly pass to jump on this bus. Anyway lets start.
It applies to any DAW you might be using, from Pro Tools which i used in this example to Cubase, Reaper, Sonar, Logic, StudioOne and the list goes on. Lets GO !!!
Lets start from empty session. I didn't want to open one of the projects with billion tracks so you guys won't feel lost and forgotten.
Simple small session, 3 audio files, 2 buses, 1 master track (i assume i dont have to explain what each track is)
Audio 1- Audio File marked red dot
Aux 1 - Auxiliary track (a.k.a. bus) marked red dot
white dot is my print track since i dont use bounce option in pro tools. More advanced people will understand what i'm talking about. this is optional but not mandatory so don't worry about it.
black dot is a master track.
Make sure you name your auxiliary tracks (buses) so you won't get lost later on. I named Aux 1 "COMPRESSOR"
Send the audio to "COMPRESSOR" BUS using "Send" in your DAW
Insert compressor on BUS track.
Look at track with white dot, it's a send track. REMEMBER to click PRE (fader) option in your DAW.
PRE means the send signal won't be affected if you lower the AUDIO fader down. Signal be sent to the bus before the fader (it all makes sense, its not complicated just read it few times you'll get it)
Adjust compressor settings to whatever is cleaver for you, whatever sounds good, whatever is missing etc.
Right now adjust levels of unprocessed AUDIO and processed "COMPRESSOR" track (MOVE THOSE FADERS) Do whatever sounds good to your ear. there's no rights and wrongs just make sure it sounds good.
Yes, it's that easy. You might want to use extra Equalizer, or something inserted before or after compressor, whatever your imagination wants to use, feel free and experiment with it. There's no rights and wrongs as long as it sounds good.
I hope this little tutorial will help people understand that wonderful technique. It can be used with vocals, drums, pianos virtually anything. I personally use parallel compression on Drums and vocals the most.
In the example i used stock Avid's Compressor and Equalizer, but it doesn't matter which compressor you will you (sorta, since each comp has its own character, sound and so on, even tho they all compressors they don't always sound identical)
Each DAW has a bit different GUI, but remember the crucial words "SEND" "AUXILIARY" "BUS" "COMPRESSOR" "FADERS".
send the audio to bus and that's all, move these faders and get the sound you're looking for.
If you have more questions, or if i made something complicated, feel free to post a comment I'll try to explain the unknown.