[Ardour-Users] Parallel compression - Was OT: bus strain on computer resources

Al Thompson althompson58 at gmail.com
Thu Dec 13 10:51:40 PST 2012

On 12/13/2012 12:29 PM, John Rigg wrote:
> On Thu, Dec 13, 2012 at 05:56:22PM +0100, Ralf Mardorf wrote:
>> On Thu, 2012-12-13 at 16:10 +0100, Jörn Nettingsmeier wrote:
>>> The whole point of parallel compression is a more gentle, natural sound 
>>> that does not compromise transients and _only_ boosts soft passages, 
>>> leaving loud parts effectively untouched.
>>> In short, it does what 99% of people think a compressor does, and which 
>>> 99% of compressors have never been able to do.
>> On the side I googled for examples, but the hits don't include words
>> such as "natural", but instead adjectives like "fatter" etc., usually in
>> combination with product names, Cubase, Ableton etc.. Does anybody know
>> music that was recoded with this technique? A link or name would be nice.
>> Is it used by analog studios nowadays too?
>> I want to listen to some examples.
> Early Motown hits. It wasn't used for effect, but to keep the quieter
> vocal parts high enough above the tape hiss on their DIY multitrack.
> John

Hmm, I kind of doubt that it was ever even considered in early Motown. 
I've read interviews with a lot of the players and engineers who were
heavy in that scene, and it was a real factory-like atmosphere.  They
didn't spend hour upon hour tracking or mixing.  Many were 1
run-through, 1 take and out.  That, coupled with the VERY limited gear
that was available at the time would tend to suggest that the reason for
"fatness" on those tracks was more because of the analog gear and
talented artists than because of any esoteric engineering trickery.

Consider that maintaining signal-to-noise on analog relied more on
tracking hot, and using a compressor to reduce the higher levels to
allow even hotter tracking.  A lot of the resulting "fatness" was
probably a result of a combination of a hard knee, with a threshold that
was somewhere in the middle of the track's level so that it was usually
into compression.  Proper use of attack/release values will maintain
transients.  Combine that with tape saturation, and analog equipment,
and you have 'instant fat."

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