Paralell Compression on Electronic Drums

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Creativemind
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Post 01 Nov 2016

Hi Everyone !

I've only tried this technique once before and wanted to ask those who have had good results from this technique (Parallel Compression) why it made no difference to my 2 909 kicks the other week when I tried it. Well I say no difference, no difference apart from loudness.

I overly compressed the exact same 909 kick sample on a parallel channel and brought it in gradually. I was listening through 20/20 headphones and didn't really hear anything improving the overall kick/s of the song.

I was told it would dramatically improve the kick in my track but not really.

Was it because the samples may have been compressed already or because I should've done something else to the parallel channel too? Or should I have used a different kick sample on the pparallel channel?

Thanks!
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Koncide
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Post 02 Nov 2016

Maybe you're using compression for the wrong reasons?

Compression, whether parallel or not, is a tool that should only be used for something specific, namely, taming dynamics. Maybe your kick sample just doesn't need compression of any kind?

Always ask yourself why you're compressing. If it's just to make something sound "better", it probably won't work. Try to be specific

You could also try boosting the bass and treble frequencies on the parallel channel you're compressing. This is apparently "true" New York style parallel compression. You boost between 3-6db on everything below 100hz and above 10,000. I find this does sometimes add character to my drums.
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Creativemind
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Post 03 Jan 2019

I've just tried your technique using the M-Class EQ.

I used the low shelf and hi-shelf and boosted 6dB on everything below 100hz and everything above 10, 000hz. Didn't notice a dramatic difference. This was on a 909 kick drum.

Even when I listen (through 20/20 headphones, KRK) and bypass / un-bypass, I only hear a very very subtle difference, hardly at all, nothing stands out as better.

What it is, I can't get my drums to really power the track along like I hear in old skool house tracks I like.
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Last edited by Creativemind on 03 Jan 2019, edited 3 times in total.
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aeox
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Post 03 Jan 2019

Creativemind wrote:
03 Jan 2019
I've just tried your technique using the M-Class EQ.

I used the low shelf and hi-shelf and boosted 6dB on everything below 100hz and everything about 10, 00hz. Didn't noticed a dramatic difference. This was on a 909 kick drum.

What it is, I can't get my drums to really power the track along like I hear in old skool house tracks I like.
Example?
Random songs/ideas go here:
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Loque
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Post 03 Jan 2019

To make a guess, the frquency range is occupied. Free it, use a dnymic EQ or side chain compressor on the other stuff, to let your kick come through. To stop guessing, provide an example.
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Creativemind
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Post 03 Jan 2019

aeox wrote:
03 Jan 2019
Creativemind wrote:
03 Jan 2019
I've just tried your technique using the M-Class EQ.

I used the low shelf and hi-shelf and boosted 6dB on everything below 100hz and everything about 10, 00hz. Didn't noticed a dramatic difference. This was on a 909 kick drum.

What it is, I can't get my drums to really power the track along like I hear in old skool house tracks I like.
Example?
Well I can share an example on Soundcloud but it might be compressed and not accurate but you say example like I can just post it on here, you can't.

Anyway, here is the kick drum uploaded to Soundcloud. 8 beats without the M-Class EQ and 8 beats with it applied. The settings on the EQ are the same as the picture above. A 6.3db boost below 101.5Hz and a 6.3db boost above 10.9khz using the low-shelf and hi-shelf respectively which I'm presuming will be everything below 101.5Hz and everything above 10.9Khz?

You can also see how the Soundcloud wave doesn't alter when it's on visually showing not much change too.

:reason:

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aeox
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Post 03 Jan 2019

Creativemind wrote:
03 Jan 2019
aeox wrote:
03 Jan 2019


Example?
Well I can share an example on Soundcloud but it might be compressed and not accurate but you say example like I can just post it on here, you can't.

Anyway, here is the kick drum uploaded to Soundcloud. 8 beats without the M-Class EQ and 8 beats with it applied. The settings on the EQ are the same as the picture above. A 6.3db boost below 101.5Hz and a 6.3db boost above 10.9khz using the low-shelf and hi-shelf respectively which I'm presuming will be everything below 101.5Hz and everything above 10.9Khz?

You can also see how the Soundcloud wave doesn't alter when it's on visually showing not much change too.

Example wasn't the right word choice. What I meant was, what was the track you were referencing? You said "What it is, I can't get my drums to really power the track along like I hear in old skool house tracks I like."
Random songs/ideas go here:
https://soundcloud.com/ae-ox/polar/s-Ocxtj

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Creativemind
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Post 03 Jan 2019

Well this track uses a 909. The drums aren't exactly outstanding in it though.



The drums in this are good but probably aren't a 909.

:reason:

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Creativemind
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Post 03 Jan 2019

Or this:-

:reason:

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aeox
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Post 03 Jan 2019

Creativemind wrote:
03 Jan 2019
Or this:-

Okay I see.

Now do you have an example of a song you're working on where the kick isn't sounding right for you? I heard the kick examples above, but that doesn't mean much solo'd. Need to hear it in a track.
Random songs/ideas go here:
https://soundcloud.com/ae-ox/polar/s-Ocxtj

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Creativemind
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Post 03 Jan 2019

This isn't the one I was thinking of especially but is on Soundcloud.



The kick just sounds flat (it's a 909 kick) and doesn't sound booming. Tried parallel compression and such like and even just simply turning it up but if you boost it too much it goes distorted.

By the way, you listening through headphones or on speakers?

On the first note of the chord in that sequence as well, d'yer hear a click, bit like a click in a daw?
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PhillipOrdonez
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Post 03 Jan 2019

I haven't heard your examples, but felt like commenting:

It really depends on what you want to achieve. For kicks, a common technique is to use saturation on the parallel channel, specifically around the region below 120hz. Try some tape and you'll see.

When doing parallel compression, I never do it only on the kicks. I parallel compress the entire drum bus, and what that is good for is for making the drums punchier, specially when equalising the parallel track.

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Creativemind
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Post 03 Jan 2019

PhillipOrdonez wrote:
03 Jan 2019
I haven't heard your examples, but felt like commenting:

It really depends on what you want to achieve. For kicks, a common technique is to use saturation on the parallel channel, specifically around the region below 120hz. Try some tape and you'll see.

When doing parallel compression, I never do it only on the kicks. I parallel compress the entire drum bus, and what that is good for is for making the drums punchier, specially when equalising the parallel track.
Thanks, will try that out.

I would try the tape setting on Scream 4 but the compression parameter isn't in a reading that means anything, that 0-127 rubbish again.

I don't have any other tape saturation, just Saturation Knob which is just usual saturation isn't it.
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BRIGGS
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Post 03 Jan 2019

Pulverizer was made for this.
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aeox
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Post 03 Jan 2019

Creativemind wrote:
03 Jan 2019
This isn't the one I was thinking of especially but is on Soundcloud.



The kick just sounds flat (it's a 909 kick) and doesn't sound booming. Tried parallel compression and such like and even just simply turning it up but if you boost it too much it goes distorted.

By the way, you listening through headphones or on speakers?

On the first note of the chord in that sequence as well, d'yer hear a click, bit like a click in a daw?
808 State - Pacific State has a solid bassline working with the kick. The thing about your track, the bassline and/or kick seems an octave too high. That's the first thing I would change to get better results.


I suck at explaining things via text, especially since production related stuff is so situational. I find it counter-intuitive a lot of the time.

There are so many variables. Though as posted above, saturation is essential for mixing in my opinion. Using it correctly before EQ and/or after EQ depending on the situation is really crucial for getting some sounds you might desire. Especially kick/basslines where you might have a high pass on the kick and saturation afterwards. Whereas if you used saturation BEFORE doing a high pass to cut some very low frequencies out, you might end up with a muddy distorted sound.

This is why it's important to have intent when you are sound designing, mixing, etc. Knowing what you are doing is half the battle! It's more of a intuition thing after a while, rather than strict rules.


Practice recreating songs that you like, it will help you a lot and train your brain to listen to the nuances of the frequencies in music.

Here is my half-assed job(not proud of it by any stretch of the imagination :P ) trying to mimic the "Pacific State" song (minus some sampled sounds that I couldn't recreate with synths)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/lpbm803wy1ryl ... eason?dl=0

Though it's not very good, I think you still can get the idea. Especially look at the kick and bassline. The use of saturation and EQ, and where in the signal chain those things are being used and how it affects the sound. You can change the location of the SSL EQ in the signal chain by using "INSERT PRE" at the top of the mixer channel under "SIGNAL PATH"

In my recreation of that track, the kick could probably even use some more cutting of the low frequencies to get a more desirable sound.
Random songs/ideas go here:
https://soundcloud.com/ae-ox/polar/s-Ocxtj

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selig
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Post 03 Jan 2019

I agree with Aeox - your kick is around 100Hz and should be half that to really "thump". Same for the bass - your mix is basically almost totally ignoring the bottom two octaves of the audible spectrum! This would actually make a GREAT intro for a song that kicked in on the first chorus with the "real" kick/bass line, since it would setup a great wham-bang moment IMO. But for the main kick/bass, it's entirely anemic sounding IMO, which is more about the tuning than the sound, at least you would have to address that issue before sound critiques could be made.

Additionally, 909 kick has little dynamics to compress in the first place. It's a fairly simple analog kick similar to the 808 kick, and is going to react better to saturation (as others have already mentioned) than compression on it's own. Saturation Knob is still one of my favorite saturators in Reason for the more subtle stuff. Never got comfortable with Pulveriser's saturation for subtle stuff, and Scream is more "obvious", which the exception of Tape mode. There are other distortion/saturation devices to explore including the old D-11, plus the Kong Overdrive/Resonator, plus the saturation in The Echo can be used on it's own to good effect IMO.

Everyone has their favorites - mess around with all your options and find what works best for you!
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Creativemind
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Post 04 Jan 2019

selig wrote:
03 Jan 2019
I agree with Aeox - your kick is around 100Hz and should be half that to really "thump".
My kick, the one in "Move Your Body Tonight" or the one in the solo'd example?
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Creativemind
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Post 04 Jan 2019

BRIGGS wrote:
03 Jan 2019
Pulverizer was made for this.
Yeah was messing 'round with Pulveriser the other week and was amazed at how good it is and I think probably often overlooked. Hidden gem that thing.

Would you use it as an insert or a send?
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Creativemind
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Post 04 Jan 2019

If you were compressing a kick too, what would you do with the attack and release. I'm guessing you'd want attack at it's quickest amount, so on the M-Class for instance, 1ms, all the way down and release, not sure exactly, in time with the bpm of the track, so at 125bpm which mine is, a 4/4 kick should be 480ms or 4.8s.
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BRIGGS
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Post 04 Jan 2019

Creativemind wrote:
04 Jan 2019
BRIGGS wrote:
03 Jan 2019
Pulverizer was made for this.
Yeah was messing 'round with Pulveriser the other week and was amazed at how good it is and I think probably often overlooked. Hidden gem that thing.

Would you use it as an insert or a send?
Insert
Creativemind wrote:
04 Jan 2019
If you were compressing a kick too, what would you do with the attack and release. I'm guessing you'd want attack at it's quickest amount, so on the M-Class for instance, 1ms, all the way down and release, not sure exactly, in time with the bpm of the track, so at 125bpm which mine is, a 4/4 kick should be 480ms or 4.8s.
With parallel compression, the original uncompressed attack and release are preserved, so you have plenty of artistic liberty to do whatever serves the song.
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Creativemind
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Post 04 Jan 2019

I'm beginning to think with drums, you need analogue equipment to get that oomph.
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m.arthur
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Post 04 Jan 2019

Creativemind wrote:
04 Jan 2019
I'm beginning to think with drums, you need analogue equipment to get that oomph.
I'm sorry, but that's a load of pure horsesh*t.

Some advice, un-asked-for, I realize: I'd recommend, whenever possible, to avoid this lame trap of thinking "well, since I personally couldn't do it, that means nobody can do it, and therefore there is some other explanation currently unavailable to me (e.g. hardware)". It's really not a healthy approach, nor is it accurate, at all.

A lot of your assumptions above about using compression are just guesses not based in practice. You need to spend more time understanding dynamics processing and practicing with it. That's the next step here, not just concluding "only analog hardware resolves my issue." Christ what a load of baloney.

You seem to like Pulverizer -- awesome, use it, it's fantastic for adding Oomph. (and to answer your question, typically you'd use it as an insert, but you could try it as a send or in a parallel track as well, just make sure to set it to 100% wet and mix it in to taste).

Here, Propellerhead already made a video about making drums punchier, including, you guessed it, Parallel Compression. There are zillions of other videos and articles on this subject, do some research. Or, you know, go buy a wall of 'analog hardware' so you can have drums with 'oomph.' :lol:


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Creativemind
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Post 04 Jan 2019

Thanks for you input.

Just a thought, the analogue thing.

Do people here recommend mixing the drums to a decent standard straight off or just getting the pattern right first and then processing them in the context of the mix?
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Zac
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Post 04 Jan 2019

Creativemind wrote:
04 Jan 2019
Thanks for you input.

Just a thought, the analogue thing.

Do people here recommend mixing the drums to a decent standard straight off or just getting the pattern right first and then processing them in the context of the mix?
I've been watching this thread. And i know you ask a lot of questions in general. Nothing wrong with that... but do you listen to the answers? Aeox posted a reason file above to help. Did you listen to it? Study it? I did and i don't even need to necessarily.

I don't know if you doubt peoples abilities? If so listen to some of their music... aeox for example. Or just can't be bothered to put the work in to improve? Or just want to carry on as you are but want to get reinforcement to blame tools rather than yourself?

It's weird to me whatever it is.
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Creativemind
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Post 04 Jan 2019

Zac wrote:
04 Jan 2019
Creativemind wrote:
04 Jan 2019
Thanks for you input.

Just a thought, the analogue thing.

Do people here recommend mixing the drums to a decent standard straight off or just getting the pattern right first and then processing them in the context of the mix?
I've been watching this thread. And i know you ask a lot of questions in general. Nothing wrong with that... but do you listen to the answers? Aeox posted a reason file above to help. Did you listen to it? Study it? I did and i don't even need to necessarily.

I don't know if you doubt peoples abilities? If so listen to some of their music... aeox for example. Or just can't be bothered to put the work in to improve? Or just want to carry on as you are but want to get reinforcement to blame tools rather than yourself?

It's weird to me whatever it is.
It was actually late when I saw that link and I was in bed on my phone so couldn't download it at the time.

I actually forgot to get onto it the next day, forgot it was there.

The link doesn't seem to be working anymore. Sorry aeox. I appreciate your help. Can you repost that link please?
:reason:

Propellerhead Reason 10.4 / Cockus Reaper 5.982 / Cakewalk By Bandlab / Pro Tools First / Steinberg Cubase LE 5
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