Straightforward Tutorial #3 – Parallel Compression in Pro Tools

The New York Compression Trick, Upward Compression and Parallel Compression; different names for the same thing.

It seems like every mixer who’s ever mixed in New York City comes away with this maneuver. Even if you don’t mix in NYC, after you try it, you just might find yourself using this trick all the time because it is indeed a useful method to make a rhythm section rock.” – Bobby Owsinski

Parallel compression works differently to normal compression as it brings up the quiet parts in the mix while maintaining the transients of the louder sounds. It can really fatten out your mix and give it a real pumping/pulsing/the-drums-are-breathing feel to it.


In this tutorial I will be showing you how to apply this technique to a drum recording in Pro Tools 10:

I. Firstly, to avoid phasing issues, ensure that delay compensation is active.

II. Now, add two aux input tracks to your drum mix and name them appropriately – one of them will be used as a master sub (SUB DRUM) and the other for the compression (NY DRUM).

Original Sound

III. Set all the outputs of your drum tracks to bus1 (rename SUB) and set the input of your SUB DRUM aux input to SUB.

IV. Now set up a send for all your drum tracks and name it NY SUB and set that as the input of your NY SUB aux input track.

V. Add your compressor to the NY SUB track and adjust the levels until you achieved your desired sound (I cranked up the Ratio and used a relatively low Attack and Release).

VI. Finally adjust the levels of your NY SUB until you are happy where it sits in the mix.

Final Audio

In this example I opted for a more subtle approach but it is worth noting that this is a technique that should be altered musically  so give it a good listen until you are completely happy!


If you are having trouble hearing the difference, here is an example where I have automated the compression so that it switches off and on between each bar (the level rises to -10dB)

I hope you get a lot of use out of this and if you have any questions, please ask 🙂


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