Thread: Setting up parallel compression in Logic

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  1. #1
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    Default Setting up parallel compression in Logic

    Hi all

    Posting for a friend

    How do I send three giuitar tracks to a subgroup which is then sent to an FX track for parallel compression with both the subgroup and the FX track sent to a Subgroup Master which is sent to the main out.

    Thanks in advance
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    Default Re: Setting up parallel compression in Logic

    I find myself doing it like this all the time:

    Make sure audio is not getting passed; i.e., is stopped. This makes a difference apparently.

    Select the three guitar channel strips in the Mixer window.

    Assign one to an open aux (the pop-up will show which ones aren't being used); the other two will automatically also get assigned there.

    Find that new aux and create a send to another open aux. Add the compressor as an insert to this new second aux. (Presuming here he's not using something like H-Comp or Bombardier, which offer a wet/dry mix and obviate the need to go parallel.) Right-clicking or control-clicking on the new send will pop up another menu asking whether the send should be pre- or post-fader.

    Select both the new auxes (the three guitars aux and the compressor aux) to the subgroup master, which may or may not already be in place.

    Profit.

    Er, I mean, adjust compression and balance to taste.

    Then, profit.
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    Default Re: Setting up parallel compression in Logic

    Fulcrum is essentially describing the following:

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    I thought an illustration might be useful.

    The Logic compressor offers a wet/dry mix like Fulcrum mentioned, as does a lot of third-party compressor plugins. This indeed obviates the need for the parallel bus.


    otek
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    Default Re: Setting up parallel compression in Logic

    Guess this was answered since the last time I looked!

    The method described above ads flexibility perhaps, but you can just use a send to route all the audio channels to bus 2 (in the example) and set their channel output to bus 3. This would take one less bus.

    Whatever thats worth...?
    Mike
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    Default Re: Setting up parallel compression in Logic

    It would, but if I wanted to adjust the dry signal all at once without having to tweak each individual fader, that might not be quite so beneficial.

    Thanks for the graphic Otek! And I never noticed that Logic's own compressor does the wet-dry thing too.. might be worth another look in just for that.
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    Default Re: Setting up parallel compression in Logic

    These days I would take what was said above and turn it into a track summing stack and save it as a patch. Saves time having to set things up repeatedly.

    jord

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    Default Re: Setting up parallel compression in Logic

    It would, but if I wanted to adjust the dry signal all at once without having to tweak each individual fader, that might not be quite so beneficial.

    Thanks for the graphic Otek! And I never noticed that Logic's own compressor does the wet-dry thing too.. might be worth another look in just for that.
    i see. Thanks!
    Mike
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    Default Re: Setting up parallel compression in Logic

    you can just use a send to route all the audio channels to bus 2 (in the example) and set their channel output to bus 3. This would take one less bus.
    Granted, but the compressor behavior would be dictated by how much you were sending - possibly leading to unpredictable results. If you want to control the returned level of the compressor AND its behavior separately, Fulcrum's method is really the better way to go.

    As for the "mix" control of the Logic compressor, the little arrow (circled) opens up the extended parameters of the compressor. The mix control is at the bottom (see rectangle):

    Click image for larger version. 

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    otek
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    Default Re: Setting up parallel compression in Logic

    Is there any advantage to just bussing with every track's output assigned to main out? Which is the default no?
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    Default Re: Setting up parallel compression in Logic

    Well, yeah, that's the default, but I don't know how your friend would finesse an arrangement such as he/you describe in the initial post.

    It doesn't seem like Logic takes very much of a CPU hit as you add buses and auxes to organize your mix topology. I will mention that Logic 9 tends to like it when you don't add stacks and stacks of insert plugs to any one channel: I read this in Apple's support pages on Logic but can't remember the actual page. It would rather devote two CPU threads to two channels in series, each with three plugs, over one thread controlling channel with six plugs. Probably has to do with load balancing between the cores.
  11. #11
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    Default Re: Setting up parallel compression in Logic

    Granted, but the compressor behavior would be dictated by how much you were sending - possibly leading to unpredictable results. If you want to control the returned level of the compressor AND its behavior separately, Fulcrum's method is really the better way to go.

    otek
    I was thinking about this.

    when I use sends, they're post fader/pan. So if I lower the volume of a channel, it lowers going to the compressor - with the fact that can ad some back or take away some of the send. I notice that I'll often balance the drums a bit differently going into the compressor.

    Then I'll just balance the overall compressed vs. unprocessed sound with the return channel's fader.

    Am I missing something in your explanation?

    - And Fulcrum is right about load balancing the plugs across different series of channels.
    Mike
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    Default Re: Setting up parallel compression in Logic

    I'm not Otek, nor do I play him on tee vee, but I think y'all are on the same page here. It's for that reason that I may wish to declare that the send be pre-fader under certain circumstances.

    Another thing I've done from time to time is to insert an aux between all the groups that might otherwise go to the 2-bus, send those groups to that intermediary aux instead, and automate that aux's fader. Thereby controlling how hard I'm hitting the compressor strapped across it. I think I learned that trick from Otek, and it still surprises me from time to time exactly how effective that is in adding to mix impact.
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    Default Re: Setting up parallel compression in Logic

    I was thinking about this.

    when I use sends, they're post fader/pan. So if I lower the volume of a channel, it lowers going to the compressor - with the fact that can ad some back or take away some of the send. I notice that I'll often balance the drums a bit differently going into the compressor.

    Then I'll just balance the overall compressed vs. unprocessed sound with the return channel's fader.

    Am I missing something in your explanation?
    Not at all. You are simply more comfortable doing it that way.

    The problem, to me, happens when you are adjusting the level of this group against a complex mix.

    Say you're in the last quarter of your mix session, and you suddenly decide the drums have to be slightly louder. So you increase the level of the tracks going into the compression bus. This gives you the level increase, but the compressor is also going to be working harder, which changes the overall tone of the drums - they will sound more squashed. This may be exactly what you're after, or it may not.

    Using Fulcrum's method, the behavior of the compression remains constant, as does the ratio of compressed vs. "direct" sound (assuming you use the "aggregate" bus to affect the level change). This allows the drums to get louder, while still sounding identical.


    otek
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Setting up parallel compression in Logic

    Thanks for your help guys...greatly appreciated
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    Default Re: Setting up parallel compression in Logic

    Not at all. You are simply more comfortable doing it that way.

    The problem, to me, happens when you are adjusting the level of this group against a complex mix.

    Say you're in the last quarter of your mix session, and you suddenly decide the drums have to be slightly louder. So you increase the level of the tracks going into the compression bus. This gives you the level increase, but the compressor is also going to be working harder, which changes the overall tone of the drums - they will sound more squashed. This may be exactly what you're after, or it may not.

    Using Fulcrum's method, the behavior of the compression remains constant, as does the ratio of compressed vs. "direct" sound (assuming you use the "aggregate" bus to affect the level change). This allows the drums to get louder, while still sounding identical.


    otek
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    Mike
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    Default Re: Setting up parallel compression in Logic

    Thanks for all of these hints, really informative stuff! Also found this SoS article that explains what the parallel compression does for those of us (like me) who are without clue... http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb1...st-squeeze.htm
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    Default Re: Setting up parallel compression in Logic

    Also found this SoS article that explains what the parallel compression does for those of us (like me) who are without clue...
    If similar feelings of cluelessness should befall you ever again , may I suggest to simply try the technique first, and then read the article.

    It will make it far less of an intellectual exercise, and far less prone to over-interpretation.

    As exhaustive and factually correct as the article is, it cannot possibly show you the most important thing: how parallel compression sounds.


    otek
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    Default Re: Setting up parallel compression in Logic

    Ah very true, but I never knew I needed it till I read the article! (Got a bassline that's too quiet in places and too loud in others and I'm struggling to ride the volume for automation with a mouse!)

    Onwards and thanks again!
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    Default Re: Setting up parallel compression in Logic

    Got a bassline that's too quiet in places and too loud in others...
    Then, may I respectfully suggest that parallel compression is not the best remedy - even regular compression is not always very effective against this sort of problem.

    Why? Well, assuming you can find a compression setting that manages to suppress just the right parts while leaving everything else alone (which can be a lot harder than it looks), using it in parallel with a "dry" signal simply means you are reducing the efficiency of your processing by however many percent "dry" signal you blend in.

    In short, you have read the long, detailed explanation of parallel compression, seized upon a portion of it that seems to correspond to your situation and over-interpreted it - resulting in mis-medication of the patient. This was the reason for my comment above.

    Now, in order to find a better way of dealing with the problem - the bass line in question, does it have certain notes that are suddenly drastically louder, or is it a gradual change of playing dynamics over a longer period of time?


    otek
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Setting up parallel compression in Logic

    Then, may I respectfully suggest that parallel compression is not the best remedy - even regular compression is not always very effective against this sort of problem.

    Why? Well, assuming you can find a compression setting that manages to suppress just the right parts while leaving everything else alone (which can be a lot harder than it looks), using it in parallel with a "dry" signal simply means you are reducing the efficiency of your processing by however many percent "dry" signal you blend in.

    In short, you have read the long, detailed explanation of parallel compression, seized upon a portion of it that seems to correspond to your situation and over-interpreted it - resulting in mis-medication of the patient. This was the reason for my comment above.
    Many thanks for the steer otek and your patience with the patient! I hereby state for the record that I am nought but a humble guitarist with a computer and a microphone so your pointers are appreciated.

    Now, in order to find a better way of dealing with the problem - the bass line in question, does it have certain notes that are suddenly drastically louder, or is it a gradual change of playing dynamics over a longer period of time?
    Overall the performance gains more confidence and enthusiasm as it progresses so there is a natural increase in volume, especially in the build up to the "middle 8" but the real clincher is the entrance to the chorus after the m8 which is over-enthused! It would probably be worth a re-track but as an exercise in fixing the mix I am looking at "solutions".

    Just to clarify further I am working with the bass player in my/the band and acting as his engineer/co-producer in the scope of an album "project" that he is writing. I'm using an Apogee Duet (firewire) into Logic 9. The bass was recorded DI via the Duet and currently has the basic IK Amplitude providing the bass model. (There are also drums (via EZ drummer), a guitar part and a harmonica). Bass and guitar are slight panned r/l respectively (our current drummers perspective).

    Sorry if that's too long, I will ask him if I can share this track (currently in rough form without vocals) to give you a better clue. Thanks for all your time though.

    Andy
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