How to properly do parallel compression for dance music

[Updated 2020] Parallel compression, aka New York Compression, can give you a big, punchy sound. And that is probably why you’re here right? You are trying to make your track sound powerful and big like your favorite producers but just don’t know where to start.

You’ve arrived at the right place.  This tutorial will help point you in the right direction.

What Is Parallel Compression?

Parallel compression refers to the technique of duplicating a signal, compressing the copied signal, and then blending it back in with the uncompressed signal. This technique can be applied on anything – vocals, drums or even an entire mix during mastering. Most of the big EDM/Trap/Hiphop producers use this technique for drums. The possibilities are endless.

fl studio parallel compression setup:

This tutorial is using FL Studio, but you can apply this technique in any DAW using any vst compressor.

Let’s dive in.

For this tutorial, download this free plugin from Audio Damage > Rough Rider 3

Pro Tip: This plugin was used by EDM producers like Laidback Luke and Swedish House Mafia

rough rider vst compressor plugin

Label any 2 mix channels DRY and WET w/ the Rough Rider plugin on the first insert.

Dry channel should have the Rough Rider plugin  turned off.

Wet channel, turned on with following settings:

  • Attack: 0.05ms
  • Release: 15ms
  • Ratio: 12
  • Threshold: -30db

Next step:

Bring the WET fader up (blend) until it sounds right. Your drums should start to sound louder and pump.

  • Note: Tailor the mix of dry and compressed signal by adjusting the fader level of the wet and dry tracks.

Play with the release times/attack settings. Listen carefully to this. Your release setting should be set to the groove aka “timing” of all elements of the track.

Pro Tip: Group your Kick-Drum, Snares and Hi-Hats together in 1 Buss and send it to your Parallel Compression Buss.

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