In this short tutorial I want to get into Parallel Compression, which might sound hectic at first, but it’s actually quite an easy way to get your overall drums or even bass, guitars and vocals to sound larger than life.
How it works is to create an Aux track (in Pro Tools or Logic, in Cubase you’ll need to create a Bus), and send your entire Drum Mix – from a Subgroup if you mix like that, otherwise send each instrument ie. Kick, Snare, Toms, OHs etc to this Aux Channel. I prefer labeling this Aux Channel – Drums Squash – as we are about to compress the living daylights out of this Submix.
Keep in mind to send a PRE-fader signal, otherwise if you decide to change the levels of individual elements later on, this will also affect the amount of signal you are sending to the Drums Squash channel.
Now add a compressor to any of the open Effect Insert Slots, and try to over-compress the channel completely, I usually set the Ratio as high as it can go, and the Threshold to the point that it’s compressing the entire mix. Set the Attack Time moderately fast, and the Release Time in conjunction with the tempo of the song. This shouldn’t sound great by itself.
But here’s the trick.
Drop the level of the Drums Squash level all the way, and start bringing it up slowly with rest of the drum mix, and suddenly your drums should start sounding gigantic! Watch out for not making the Drums Squash level too loud as this can adversely affect the effect we are trying to create.
Mess around with the same idea on other instruments, BE CREATIVE!