Parallel Compression – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Recording Techniques Glossary

What is Parallel Compression?

Parallel compression, also known as New York compression or parallel processing, is a technique used in audio engineering to achieve a more dynamic and impactful sound. It involves blending a heavily compressed version of a signal with the original uncompressed signal to create a more balanced and powerful sound.

How is Parallel Compression Used in Recording?

In recording, parallel compression is often used on individual tracks or the entire mix to add depth, punch, and clarity to the sound. By blending the compressed and uncompressed signals, engineers can retain the natural dynamics of the original signal while still achieving the desired level of compression.

When Should Parallel Compression be Used?

Parallel compression can be used in a variety of situations, such as:
– Adding punch and impact to drums or percussion tracks
– Balancing the dynamics of vocals or instruments
– Enhancing the overall mix by adding depth and clarity
– Creating a more cohesive sound by blending different elements of the mix

What are the Benefits of Using Parallel Compression?

Some of the key benefits of using parallel compression include:
– Retaining the natural dynamics of the original signal
– Adding depth and punch to the sound without sacrificing clarity
– Balancing the overall mix by blending compressed and uncompressed signals
– Enhancing the impact and presence of individual tracks or the entire mix

How to Set Up Parallel Compression in a Recording Session

To set up parallel compression in a recording session, follow these steps:
1. Duplicate the track or bus that you want to compress.
2. Apply heavy compression to the duplicated track.
3. Blend the compressed and uncompressed signals using a mix knob or fader.
4. Adjust the blend to achieve the desired level of compression and impact.
5. Fine-tune the settings of the compressor to suit the specific needs of the track or mix.

What are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Parallel Compression?

When using parallel compression, it’s important to avoid the following common mistakes:
– Over-compressing the signal, which can result in a loss of dynamics and clarity.
– Not blending the compressed and uncompressed signals properly, leading to an unbalanced sound.
– Using the same compression settings for every track, instead of tailoring them to the specific needs of each track.
– Neglecting to A/B test the parallel compression to ensure that it enhances the sound without compromising the original dynamics.