The Two “Secrets” of Effective Parallel Compression

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Justin Colletti is back on the SonicScoop video blog, this time with some quick tips on getting the most out of your parallel compression technique.

In the short video below, Justin reveals two of the most important factors in getting great results out of this technique, with the approach also called “New York-style compression”.

  • Bobby

    Great points. Do you use a linear phase EQ to boost the lows and highs? Do you have a favourite compressor to use to get a lot of character in parallel? Cheers

  • Mord

    What?!! These are not concepts worthy of such dogmatic “rules”, and you’re being extremely presumptuous about the goals for the use of parallel compression. Yes, you can do parallel compression with fast attack, and yes, you can boost lows and highs, but to imply that NOT doing so is somehow “defeating the whole purpose” is just silly. The main benefits of parallel compression are to add whatever characteristic the compressor is exaggerating back into the dry mix. Maybe you want a compressor with a slow attack and medium release so as to add exaggerated peak punches back into a mix… Maybe you want a medium attack and fast release so as to add a slightly exaggerated transient and some drum-room “splash” into the dry mix. The approach you describe is surely useful, but not the only valid use of the technique as your presentation here implies.

  • Justin C.

    No dogma or rules here.

    It’s just my opinion that you’re not getting any real benefits from compressing in parallel if you’re using a slow attack. You can get the same basic results without parallel processing: Just compress more with a slow attack. πŸ™‚

    It’s only when you combine the dynamic stability of a fast attack with the transient integrity of an uncompressed signal that you’re really getting a unique effect from parallel compression.

    As far as adding lows and highs, the reality is that you will tend to increasing midrange relative to lows and highs when you fold in a heavily compressed, un-EQ’d track. This is not the goal for most mixers.

    There are other options to deal with this: You could instead do a mid scoop to the parallel track or the sum of the two instead to keep midrange buildup from being an issue, but I prefer this results from this technique.

    I didn’t invent itβ€”It’s a classic old trick often referred to as “New York-Style Compression.” Give it a try. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to use it.

  • Justin C.

    Thanks Bobby. I’ve come to determine that the benefits of of phase linear EQ are somewhat oversold. It makes a negligible difference when it comes to peaking and shelving filters, and only a very minor (and easily accommodated ) difference when using hi- and lo-pass filters. Fab Filter has a great video out about that:

  • πŸ™‚ Just do what sounds best to you – not what looks best to you.

    I hang on the “old” rules πŸ˜‰
    For my personal understanding, >Mord< is talking about an effect compression – cool stuff as well πŸ™‚ .
    Its all about what you want to achieve.

    But the parallel thing for me is the pavement, the concrete bottom, you can pull in to your needs.
    To be honest – using both techniques with some fader writes is really tasty^^ Just my opinion.
    Thanks for your work Justin