Tip: Parallel Compression

Have you ever found yourself in the position of wanting to reduce the overall dynamics of your sound while at the same time keeping much of the dynamics from your original performance?

If so, you should take a look at a tried and true, classic recording technique called Parallel Compression.

Parallel Compression is essentially the process of splitting your signal down two paths: an untouched path A and a crushed path B.

For example:

Path A will be your original performance. Nothing special needs to happen here.

Path B is where the magic happens. Add a compressor with a high compression ratio (10:1 and up). The idea is to put a hard limiter on this path to crush your signal.

Now, just blend these two paths together to your liking. Path A gives you your original performance. Path B gives you the parallel compression that will beef up your sound and give you more control over your dynamics.

This tip is geared towards the Helix (and guitar) but this technique is used all the time in professional recording situations on drums, bass, percussion, keys, you name it. Give it a shot.

For further reading:


Thanks to MusicLaw!

3 thoughts on “Tip: Parallel Compression

    1. Hello Rocco, please see the example in this tip under “For example”.

      To recap, parallel compression is two versions of the same sound (the first your regular tone, the second is a compressed version) being mixed together. So, although you can do it onboard the Helix (as found in my example in the post), you can do this with outboard gear as well.

      Parallel compression is an age-old mixing technique. You can do it for any source material. Its just super cool that we can do it on the Helix itself.


      1. Hey! Not sure if it’s exactly the same thing, but I believe the idea is the same. I run my Acoustic guitars through the guitar input, through my Helix signal path A (this is my standard A signal path: Parametric EQ, LA Studio Compressor, Hall Reverb, Gain, Volume Pedal, Mute…then whatever other effects are added depends on the song), out of the 1/4″ output into a vocal harmonizer on a second board, a Sitar pedal, Boss RC-3 looper, then into a 1/4″ channel in a small 4 channel Yamaha mixer at the end of my 2nd board. Signal path B in the Helix takes the same guitar input but has nothing except a Parametric EQ, LA Studio Compressor, Volume Pedal and a Mute, so it’s very dry…which then comes out of the XLR (left/Mono) output, connects to another XLR cable and runs under my 2nd board into the 2nd XLR input in the mixer. This way I can blend my effected signal with my dry signal, and it’s just a phenominal sound. Hope that helps. If it’s unrelated, it’s something cool to try. 🙂


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