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How to Use Parallel Compression in Pro Tools 8 with Video

Updated on March 8, 2011
Pro Tools Compressor
Pro Tools Compressor

Parallel Compression is a compression technique used in recording and mixing audio. New York compression and Upwards compression are two other aliases used in place of parallel compression. This type of compression mixes a dry signal with a heavily compressed identical signal to maintain the subtleties of the audio while also stabilizing the dynamics. Attack and Gain on the compressor may also be set so that the audio can pump to the tempo of the song, adding a unique characteristic.  Parallel compression is a neat effect and acutally doesn't take any more plug ins than you already own.

How to set up Parallel Compression

  1. Set your source audio output to a Bus. We'll say Bus 1. Also add a Send to Bus to Bus 2 on the same source track.
  2. Create and AUX track. Call this track Compressor. Add your favorite compressor rtas plug in as an insert. Set the input on the AUX track to Bus 2 and the Output to Bus 1.
  3. Create one more AUX track. This one will be the combination of the first two tracks (Parallel Compression). Call this one Parallel. Set the input to to Bus 1 and the output to your Main Output. This is used for the total volume of both signals.
  4. To set the balance adjust the volume of the source and the volume of compressor tacks. The more compressor volume the more change you will see. You can also mess with the compressor's settings to get the sound you like. Mute either the source or the compressor track to hear the other track in isolation and get it just the way you want it.

Below is a video I made that goes step by step though the process of using parallel compression in Pro Tools 8.

How to Use Parallel Compression in Pro Tools 8 Video


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