Parallel compression in Cubase, also known as New York Compression, or simply NY Compression, is a very common used mixing technique. It adds punch to your tracks, to make it sound more “alive” and “fat”.
NY Compression consists in adding an auxiliary send track to the mix, where the producer is going to set a compressor. This compressor is set with heavy ratio and threshold parameters, almost like a limiter. So, what we do is to mix the dry signal with the compressed one and the result is a warm and powerful sound.
This technique is used mostly for percussion, bass and vocals. Like everything in the mixing world, It needs to be dosed very carefully to avoid the risk of destroying your production.
You can add a parallel compression in any DAW, so the process will be likely the same.
Let’s check how to do it on Cubase:
We begin using as an example a Cubase project already opened, with drum parts previously recorded. For this tutorial, the drums will consist of just 3 tracks: kick, snare and hi-hat. Each one of them has been processed earlier with EQ and compression, so all we need to do now is to add the parallel compression.
- Create a new Group Channel Track: you can do it clicking on Project > Add Track > Group Channel or right clicking on the Track List:
2. In the next box, choose a Stereo track:
3. Now that we created the aux track let’s rename it to “NYComp”. Notice that the Inspector (the column at the left) shows the inserts for this group:
4. Select one of the inserts and add a compressor. You can do it by clicking on the insert line and then choosing any compressor from the Dynamics option. I’m selecting Waves C1 Stereo:
5. Setting the parameters is a particular choice, and each producer has their own personal taste. However, the idea is to apply a heavy compression here. So, I’m going to configure the ratio to around 12:1, and the threshold to (-)37. It will make the compressor sound as a limiter. The threshold can be adjusted depending on the signal input level:
6. Select the first of the drum tracks (in this case, the Kick track); notice that the Inspector column will open and then a bunch of empty send slots are ready to be used. Let’s click on a send slot and add the NY Comp as a bus:
7. You can then adjust the level of the parallel compression applied to the signal, just being careful to avoid “overprocessing”:
That’s it! Now that you know how to create a parallel compression track, you can add energy and punch to your tracks, making them sound truly exciting.
In the links below you can check the result of applying NY Compression in a very simple drum loop:
With parallel compression: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1pfG3wzuUuZNWZfeHYtXzhXUmM/view?usp=sharing
Without parallel compression: