Our website will be down for scheduled maintenance on Thursday, October 23, at 11 p.m. Pacific Time and should be back up by Midnight. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Building parallel or "upward" compression

From: Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools

Video: Building parallel or "upward" compression

So I have mentioned parallel compression a few times now. While it sounds like some overly complex math equation, it's actually quite easy to understand and implement. Parallel or upwards compression as it's sometimes called is simply combining an uncompressed signal with a compressed one and blending the two to taste. This sort of best of both worlds approach preserves the dynamics and openness along with the character and frequency response at the unprocessed signal while solving the issue of the overly dynamic track getting lost underneath the mix.

Building parallel or "upward" compression

So I have mentioned parallel compression a few times now. While it sounds like some overly complex math equation, it's actually quite easy to understand and implement. Parallel or upwards compression as it's sometimes called is simply combining an uncompressed signal with a compressed one and blending the two to taste. This sort of best of both worlds approach preserves the dynamics and openness along with the character and frequency response at the unprocessed signal while solving the issue of the overly dynamic track getting lost underneath the mix.

So here is how it works. If we take a look at the drums in the Take Me Down session, what I have or all the drums being submixed into the drum bus and that submix is actually being picked up in two separate places, right, on two separate aux tracks. I have a DrumSbMx and then a DrumSquash track right here. There are other ways you can set this up via sends and returns or just by creating duplicate tracks, if it's just a single track. But in this case this worked out the best and on the DrumSbMx, I don't have any compression.

But on the DrumSquash I'm using a significant amount of this BF76 to really kind of fill out the track. And what I'm going to be able to do is blend of the two to taste. And what this is going to achieve in my mix is going to allow me to fill out and give those drums just that little extra oomph in the dense sections of the mix, so that they don't get lost. So let's listen to each side of this parallel compression setup.

Here is just the DrumSbMx Solo. Mute that. (Music playing) And now here is what the squashed track sounds like. (Music playing) Now let's put the two together and listen any dense section of the song.

So I'm going to go to the chorus. I'll bring out my Memory Locations, and we'll go into a chorus here and I'm going to listen it with and without that DrumSquash track. So here is without. (Male singing: You take me down and my feet will follow, wherever my heart goes.) (Male singing: I'll come around, I'll come around, like I always do,) (Male singing: Look at my feet on the ground, I got my feet on the ground.) (Music playing.) So you can hear what that's doing, just giving that little extra oomph to the drums.

It's filling it out a little bit more, making sure they don't get lost in the mix. It's essentially creating a nice pillowy floor for the rest of the drum's submix to sit on. So nothing gets lost. It's bringing out the sustain of all the different drums. And what I can do is some neat things with the DrumSquash bus is I can bring it up I can automate it up or down for different sections of the song. So I might pull it down in the verse and then push it up and then push it up even more on the last chorus just to give it that extra just kind of everything is to the wall.

Now engineers often disagree about whether or not your overhead or room track should get added to a squash bus or a parallel compression setup and some people opt to just do compression straight up on the drum submix for going via parallel compression there. And it's really up to you, how you want to process it. Some tracks will really benefit from this technique and in this example I'm kind of going for that extreme sustain on my drums, making them sound even bigger than they are and this actually really helps because it was recorded in a smaller room.

And so what actually works out better that I included the overhead in the room into the squash track. So it's going to sort of fill out the sustain of the room and make the drum's sound as if they were recorded in a little bit larger space. So where else can we use this trick? Well really you can use it on anything. Then let me show you a great technique for quickly adding a parallel compressed track. So if I look at my entire mix and let's say I want to do some parallel compression on acoustic guitar, what I can do is I can take and just duplicate this track.

So I'll right-click on the nameplate and say Duplicate. And I'll say go ahead and duplicate it with the Active Playlist. I'll uncheck Alternate Playlist and then I'm going to uncheck Insert. So I don't want to copy in my inserts over because I'm going to apply my own. Then I'll go ahead and leave the automation intact if there is any volume automation there. And what I'm going to get next is a duplicate and I can rename that to acoustic guitar compressed and maybe what I'll do is I'll switch the compressor over, I'll just copy the compressor over to this track and then we'll go for more of an aggressive compressed sound.

So we kind of listen to this track here and bring in a lot of compression. (Music playing) Okay, so I want to avoid any kind of distortion from overdriving the compressor. Sometimes the DigiRack isn't the best compressor for doing these extreme compressed sounds.

I might try instead to use the 1176. Once I have got a nice compressed bed, what I'm going to do is bring it up along side of the dry signal or the uncompressed signal. So I'll pull this down, turn off my automation temporarily and we'll listen. Oops! (Music playing) And you can do this on any kind of track.

You can just set on lead vocal or on guitars. It really works great when you want to retain the original dynamic quality of the instrument. You don't want to crush it and affect any of its frequencies. You want to keep it kind of bright and present, but you still want to get some of the benefits from compression like giving it a nice bed to lie on, so that nothing gets lost. So ultimately parallel compression is a bit of a hot topic these days and what you are going to see is a lot of plug -ins currently and in the future are building in mix or wet/dry parameters into the compressor.

Usually, these were reserve for like reverbs and delays and courses but now they are building them into compressors and what that's going to allow you to do is build a parallel compressor just on a single track. So you don't have to worry about duplicating the track, but you don't need one of these compressors to achieve that. You can simply duplicate the track or setup some sort of busing arrangement like I did on the drums to kind of blend the two to taste. Now, it's not an appropriate or necessary technique for everything, but I think you'll find it's a really handy trick to have in sort of your mixing tool kit.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools
Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools

77 video lessons · 9292 viewers

Brian Lee White
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 14m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. The past, present, and future of mixing
      6m 20s
    3. Strategies for mixing and mastering
      5m 38s
    4. Using the exercise files
      1m 40s
  2. 40m 24s
    1. Mixing "in the box"
      5m 9s
    2. Setting up the studio: Speakers and acoustics
      13m 12s
    3. Staying organized: Effectively prepping the mix
      10m 50s
    4. Managing system resources during mixdown
      11m 13s
  3. 41m 39s
    1. Introducing the Pro Tools Mixer
      2m 24s
    2. Understanding mixer signal flow
      3m 42s
    3. Using inserts and plug-ins
      7m 4s
    4. Working with plug-in settings
      5m 1s
    5. Using sends and creating FX returns
      6m 55s
    6. Submixing with aux tracks
      4m 30s
    7. Using groups while mixing
      3m 46s
    8. Using master faders effectively
      8m 17s
  4. 21m 11s
    1. Conceptualizing the mix and making a plan
      7m 45s
    2. Using volume and pan to balance the mix
      11m 18s
    3. Knowing when to process: Mix problems vs. mix solutions
      2m 8s
  5. 1h 3m
    1. Understanding the mechanics of sound
      3m 53s
    2. Learning the basics of EQ: Frequency-specific level control
      4m 29s
    3. Using DigiRack EQ III
      16m 3s
    4. EQ strategies in mixing: Corrective vs. creative
      7m 18s
    5. EQ workflow example 1: Kick drum
      5m 39s
    6. EQ workflow example 2: Filtering loops
      5m 10s
    7. EQ workflow example 3: The "telephone" effect
      3m 7s
    8. Mixing tips and tricks for EQ
      17m 36s
  6. 1h 15m
    1. Understanding dynamics and dynamic range
      2m 1s
    2. Working with dynamics processors
      2m 57s
    3. Using the DigiRack Dyn III compressor/limiter
      10m 6s
    4. Balancing and shaping track dynamics
      3m 19s
    5. Using gates and expanders
      9m 22s
    6. Using de-essers to eliminate sibilance
      5m 47s
    7. Dynamics workflow example 1: Vocals
      10m 0s
    8. Dynamics workflow example 2: Drums
      9m 29s
    9. Mixing tips and tricks: Dynamics
      11m 37s
    10. Building parallel or "upward" compression
      7m 53s
    11. Reviewing dynamics concerns: How much is too much?
      3m 28s
  7. 47m 48s
    1. Using time-based effects to add depth and width
      3m 22s
    2. Using DigiRack D-Verb
      14m 27s
    3. Using the DigiRack delays
      9m 18s
    4. Mixing with reverb
      7m 59s
    5. Mixing with delays
      6m 19s
    6. Mixing tips and tricks: Creating mix depth
      6m 23s
  8. 18m 8s
    1. Working with the Creative Collection
      9m 8s
    2. Building distortion and saturation
      9m 0s
  9. 37m 33s
    1. Understanding automation
      4m 10s
    2. Recording real-time automation moves
      7m 6s
    3. Viewing and editing automation
      10m 17s
    4. Automating plug-ins
      7m 36s
    5. Automation strategies for mixing
      8m 24s
  10. 29m 31s
    1. Understanding the characteristics of a great mix
      7m 2s
    2. Working to reference tracks
      4m 35s
    3. Avoiding some common pitfalls
      7m 50s
    4. Building healthy mixing habits
      3m 36s
    5. Crafting your mix from start to finish
      6m 28s
  11. 1h 5m
    1. Understanding mastering
      4m 15s
    2. Bouncing the mix
      7m 9s
    3. Working with general mastering strategies
      8m 50s
    4. Using limiting and compression to maximize track level
      10m 57s
    5. Working with multi-band compression
      7m 9s
    6. Understanding sample rate, bit depth, file formats, and dither
      7m 30s
    7. Using Pro Tools for CD track sequencing
      10m 11s
    8. Compressing audio for the web
      9m 41s
  12. 44m 51s
    1. Tips for evaluating plug-in processors
      6m 51s
    2. Using EQ plug-ins
      5m 35s
    3. Using dynamic compression plug-ins
      11m 3s
    4. Using reverb and delay plug-ins
      10m 46s
    5. Reviewing additional plug-ins
      10m 36s
  13. 57m 18s
    1. Effectively using saturation/analog style effects
      13m 40s
    2. Setting up side chains
      7m 5s
    3. Master buss processing
      5m 34s
    4. Creating and using mix templates
      6m 54s
    5. Surround mixing
      6m 22s
    6. Dealing with plug-in delay and latency
      6m 26s
    7. Drum sample replacing
      11m 17s
  14. 32s
    1. Goodbye
      32s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.