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There is a great trick that really punches up the drum sound without adding more compression to the individual tracks. It's something I call the New York Compression trick because when I was first starting out every mixer in New York used it on their mixes. Now everyone uses it, so it's not that exclusive to New York City anymore, so we can just call it by its more academic name--parallel compression. In this movie I am going to show you how the New York Compression trick is set up. The trick centers around an additional drum subgroup that has a compressor with some rather extreme settings inserted into the signal path. Once the subgroup is set up and the compressor is kicking, the subgroup fader is gently raised until it's just barely heard underneath the original drum mix.
If you want the drums punchier, just add set more subgroup level. So you can see here I have a drum subgroup set up. This is called from Drum Comp. What I am going to go first is I am going to add a compressor to it--it doesn't matter which compressor. In this case I am going to just add the generic Pro Tools Compressor/Limiter, and I am not going to worry about the settings right now. But I will do is set up a input signal path to that particular subgroup, and in this case I am just going to select bus 23-24.
It could be any two that you select; 23 and 24 just works for me now because they are open. Now I'm going to go down to the first drum channel, which is the Kick-in, and I'm going to select the send for it. I'm going to say Bus 23- 24 and up comes the send. I want to put this about 0. The easy way to get there is you say Option and you click on the fader and it automatically moves to zero, which is kind of nice. There is another trick. In order to assign this particular Bus 23-24 at all the other channels, all you have to do is press and hold the Option key and click and drag to the other channels. You click and drag that bus 23-24 send, and it's a very easy way to do things.
Now that I am sending it to the Drum Comp channel, let's have a listen to what it sounds like without that particular New York compression. (music playing) Now let's look at the compressor. (music playing) We want some rather extreme settings, so I'm going to bring this up to at least 10 to 1. Once it becomes 10 to 1, this turns from compressor to a limiter. And it doesn't matter what plug-in you have or what dedicated hardware piece; whenever a compressor is set at a ratio of 10 to 1 or more, it now becomes a limiter rather than a compressor.
Now the whole trick here is to bring up the New York compression underneath the normal drum setting. You can just bring it up once again until you just hear it. (music playing) You can hear how much punchier it's getting. Now let's listen without it and then with it in. (music playing) Sounds pretty good, huh? One last thing.
We are going to make this even more extreme by adding an equalizer to it. So once again, I'm going to insert just a generic 4-Band Pro Tools EQ, and I am going to come done here to 100 Hz and bring it up to about 3 dB or so. You can bring it up a lot more radical if you would like to. And on the high frequency I will bring it up to 10K and bring this up 3 dB or so, and once again you can make this a lot more radical if you like. And let's listen what it sounds like now. (music playing) We have a lot more snap and a lot more low end.
Now let's listen before the New York compression and after New York compression. (music playing) So that's how the New York Compression trick is done.
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