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Parallel compression: should sends be pre-fader? [SOLVED]


Minimoog
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There are no rules that say you have to use pre-fader. You can choose either or, depending. Pre-fader allows you to mix the kick up and down in volume without affecting the way the compressor acts on the bass, so that can help if you're still in the process of mixing your kick or if you want to automate the kick throughout the track.

 

On the other hand if you wanted the pumping effect on the bass to diminish when the kick is lower in volume, then you might want to use a post-fader send.

 

General advice: try to stay away from rules as much as possible - ESPECIALLY rules you do not understand. Understand how your tools work, define your goals with your ears and your mind, and reach your goals using your tools.

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DUH! I saw "parallel compression" and interpreted "sidechain compression". My bad - sorry about the confusion!

 

So in your case, you're using sends for parallel compression of a group of tracks. Great. Then you define whether to use pre or post-fader depending on whether or not you want the parallel compressed signal to follow any volume changes on the original track (post-fader send) or not (pre-fader send).

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  • 8 years later...
DUH! I saw "parallel compression" and interpreted "sidechain compression". My bad - sorry about the confusion!

 

So in your case, you're using sends for parallel compression of a group of tracks. Great. Then you define whether to use pre or post-fader depending on whether or not you want the parallel compressed signal to follow any volume changes on the original track (post-fader send) or not (pre-fader send).

 

Great info from 8 years ago! Thanks David.

Quick question about this. Does Post-PAN matter when Parallel-Compressing?

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Thanks, David. What are the pros and cons with pre-fader and post-fader sends to a stereo compressor?

I suppose it depends why you're sending to a compressor in the first place. I normally don't send to a compressor, if I want to do parallel compression I set the output of my channel strip to a bus, then have two Auxes with their input set to that bus, and insert the compressor on one of the two Auxes.

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Thanks, David. What are the pros and cons with pre-fader and post-fader sends to a stereo compressor?

I suppose it depends why you're sending to a compressor in the first place. I normally don't send to a compressor, if I want to do parallel compression I set the output of my channel strip to a bus, then have two Auxes with their input set to that bus, and insert the compressor on one of the two Auxes.

 

What would be the purpose of the aux without the compressor, if you already have an output bus for the dry channel?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks, David. The routing in your image now makes sense. But for some reason I am still a little confused.

From the image you provided, woudn't Aux 1 be an exact copy of the original audio?

What would this setup achieve, that a regular send into a compressor aux could not?

My apologies, still getting familiarized with routing. I appreciate your time

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Pre-fader allows you to mix the kick up and down in volume without affecting the way the compressor acts on the bass, so that can help if you're still in the process of mixing your kick or if you want to automate the kick throughout the track.

 

What if we want to automate the volumes together with their respective parallel compression, with always the same ratio/amount at any time?

Is that possible for a drum mix with different volume automations, for instance?

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Thanks, David. The routing in your image now makes sense. But for some reason I am still a little confused.

From the image you provided, woudn't Aux 1 be an exact copy of the original audio?

What would this setup achieve, that a regular send into a compressor aux could not?

My apologies, still getting familiarized with routing. I appreciate your time

Yes Aux 1 is the same as the original audio. That is normally my favorite way to route parallel compression and it has a few advantages over using a send, namely that I can control 3 channels:

 

1. The original audio to be parallel-processed.

2. The dry channel.

3. The wet channel.

 

This allows me to change the volume, pan or effects of the dry channel without affecting the wet.

 

What if we want to automate the volumes together with their respective parallel compression, with always the same ratio/amount at any time?

Is that possible for a drum mix with different volume automations, for instance?

Then if you use a send, set it to post-fader or post-pan, and automate the volume fader. If you use my 3 channel suggestion then automate the volume fader of the original audio. Or if you want to automate the output of the effects (for example if you have already dialed a compressor and don't want to affect the level of it input) then sum the two channels into a summing stack, or route them to the same bus, then automate the volume fader of that bus.

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DUH! I saw "parallel compression" and interpreted "sidechain compression". My bad - sorry about the confusion!

 

So in your case, you're using sends for parallel compression of a group of tracks. Great. Then you define whether to use pre or post-fader depending on whether or not you want the parallel compressed signal to follow any volume changes on the original track (post-fader send) or not (pre-fader send).

 

Thanks for your time on all of this, David. My brain is still catching up with all this amazing info.

What would your suggestion be, if we want to our individual drum kits moving (volume automated) while keeping the same amount of compression on EACH kit, using only one parallel comp buss?

Would your 3-channel technique accomplish this?

Am I asking this correctly? LOL

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What would your suggestion be, if we want to our individual drum kits moving (volume automated) while keeping the same amount of compression on EACH kit, using only one parallel comp buss?

Would your 3-channel technique accomplish this?

Am I asking this correctly? LOL

You're using multiple drum kits?

 

I meant one drum kit, while riding the faders for kick, snare, etc throughout the song

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I meant one drum kit, while riding the faders for kick, snare, etc throughout the song

Then yes the 3 channel technique should still work, just output all your drums to the same bus, then proceed in the same way. If you want individual parallel processing for one drum then output it to its own bus then proceed the same way. Hope that makes sense? Let me know if you need a more detailed answer.

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I meant one drum kit, while riding the faders for kick, snare, etc throughout the song

Then yes the 3 channel technique should still work, just output all your drums to the same bus, then proceed in the same way. If you want individual parallel processing for one drum then output it to its own bus then proceed the same way. Hope that makes sense? Let me know if you need a more detailed answer.

 

Thanks, David. I see what you mean. And I had actually thought about trying this out as well (each and every single drum has its own parallel comp and output bus). As opposed to only having one Parallel Comp aux for the entire kit. Have you done this before or is this uncommon?

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Thanks, David. I see what you mean. And I had actually thought about trying this out as well (each and every single drum has its own parallel comp and output bus). As opposed to only having one Parallel Comp aux for the entire kit. Have you done this before or is this uncommon?

It's uncommon and I don't think I've ever processed drums that way, no.

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It's uncommon and I don't think I've ever processed drums that way, no.

Thanks. I've always wondered if theres a simplified workaround for automating a group of dry tracks within the dry group, while simultaneously adjusting the Parallel Comp in proportion.

Seems impossible without parallel comping every single track

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Keep in mind that compressing (whether it's serially or in parallel) the sum of multiple tracks isn't the same as summing the individually compressed tracks. So it's not like the two techniques are interchangeable, meaning that doing individual compression isn't a workaround you can use only to be able to automated the tracks individually or by subgroup. If you want to compress a sum, you have to compress the sum, you can't sum the compressed tracks.
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Keep in mind that compressing (whether it's serially or in parallel) the sum of multiple tracks isn't the same as summing the individually compressed tracks.

 

True. In which case the only option for drumkit automation to work is to probably sum the individual parallel compressed tracks. Which seems like a lot of CPU usage

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