- The general idea is to make a copy of your drums in one track (group) and compressing this track the hell out of it. Then this compressed track-group plays along with the original drums.
Thus the name: Parallel Compression
Usually the copy is some db lower than the original.
First, let’s see how to set parallel compression in your daw so you’ll understand how it works and get the general idea and then I’ll tell you how I use it so you can try it out and see what works best for you.
We assume that you have some tracks including your kick, snare, toms, hi-hat etc…
1) Create a new track and send all your drum-tracks to this new track.
2) Now that you have a copy the only thing that changed is volume. It’s much louder.
3) Put a compressor there with a 10, 12 or even 15 ratio. Threshold should achieve -10 or more gain reduction. Yes they are extreme settings and that’s what we want to achieve. You can also try a really Fast attack to “chop” the sound. Don’t worry if the sound sucks in solo, cause it does wonders in the mix.
4) Bring the whole fader down to -inf of your track-group and listen to your whole mix.
5) While listening bring up slowly the fader of your track-group. Adjust till you find the sweet spot.
- I usually send the kick and the snare to this track-group and leave all the others drums alone. I find parallel compression works best to the kick and the snare but this doesn’t mean that you can’t experiment.
- A nice idea is to put an equalizer to the group as well. Extreme settings can be applied here too. Boost about 8 or more db the at bottom end and at the high end and see how that affect the whole sound.