Parallel Compression on Drums

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Learn how to treat compression like an instrument and perform magic on any drum mix.

Fab uncovers the mysterious process of parallel compression, also known as New York compression.

Watch this step by step guide on how to achieve a punchy yet natural drum sound with some simple routing and a compressor (or 3!)

This tutorial shows you how to:

  • Set up parallel processing buses
  • Listen and learn the unmistakeable sound of New York Compression
  • Tweak the 2 most important controls: attack & release
  • Manage gain staging between the processed and unprocessed signals
  • Hear the tone differences between various compressors being pushed to their limits.

This is the most essential mixing technique that’s been used on almost every record for decades. Don’t start mixing another set of drum recordings until you’ve watched this tutorial!

Plugins used:

  • Massey CT4
  • Chandler TG1 plugin
  • UAD 1176 plugin

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Fab Dupont

Fab Dupont is an award-winning NYC based record producer, mixing/mastering engineer and co-founder of

Fab has been playing, writing, producing and mixing music both live and in studios all over the world. He's worked in cities like Paris, Boston, Brussels, Stockholm, London and New York just to name a few.

He has his own studio called FLUX Studios in the East Village of New York City.

Fab has received many accolades around the world, including wins at the Victoires de la Musique, South African Music awards, Pan African Music Awards, US independent music awards. He also has received Latin Grammy nominations and has worked on many Latin Grammy and Grammy-nominated albums.


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What do you have to say?
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2020 Jul 18
Very clear and concise explanations. Thanks!
2018 Feb 13
My fav is CT4. Thank you Fab
2017 Mar 23
Hi! So great as usual; I'm watching them all, it's so helpful and simply explained, so great! Do you use outboard for your haircut? :))
Fabulous Fab
2016 Dec 06
@soundspace2001: I do not send much OH in this bus. You could. It's a taste thing. I like to keep things dry and punchy, OH would make more of a mess. If you are looking for a messy, wooshy sound, go ahead and include them. Fab
2016 Dec 01
I wonder if you still send the OH, Room-Mics and Monomic to a separate OH-Bus? Or if you sent the whole set - including OH, Room-Mics, Mono-Mic to this Crunch-Bus? But interesting new option how to do this ...
2016 Nov 23
All compressors in wins. LOL
2015 Mar 08
Loved the punch from the CT4.
Sheldon Cooper
2014 Dec 20
@Fab: Thank you for the answer, if you mean what you showed in the advanced video (switch the input of the crush bus then send the drum channels to it so you can mix it independently) i can remove the send from "clean to crush" then send the drum channels to the crush bus, looks like the same by the way! Have a nice day! :)
Fabulous Fab
2014 Dec 19
@Sheldon Cooper: no that works but you cannot decide to alter the mix to the drum crush. It's fine in most cases.
Sheldon Cooper
2014 Dec 19
(Fab, yes: why don't you tell Trent to do an intrview??? :) ) I usually send the "drum bus" to the "drum crush" instead of sending all the drums to 2 independent aux so if i put an eq on the "drum bus" the "drum crush" will be affected too...are there any problem i'm not considering? :D
Fabulous Fab
2014 Sep 01
@Uauker: Phase issues can also be a benefit. If you wnt to avoid thinking baout it just have close to the same processing on both stems. If you feel confident you can stay in control when phase issues starts creating nulls and bumps then go for it. It's powerful stuff.
2014 Aug 31
Hey Fab! How about phases issues on parallel compression? In the mixing Caribean video you used the same compressor settings in the two busses to avoid phases issues. The same happens here?
2014 Jan 02
Great video fab. For me the comparison of the different sounds of the compressors was really helpful. For someone like me who is fairly new to the game and trying to train my ears this kind of stuff is great.
2013 May 27
hi fab, in this video you put all the drum in to a clean bus and a processed bus! Is there any differences to put all the drums part into the clean bus and make a send(in pre fader) from the clean bus to the processed bus ? thanks
2012 Dec 07
It was very helpful at the end when you compared the sound of each compressor without talking in between the examples, and used the images to indicate which comp we were hearing. Talking in between examples makes it harder to hear the differences. It would be great if in future videos there could be more instances of this type of comparison. Thanks!
2011 Nov 30
Hey, Fab, I know there are no rules, but when should you use the full kit through parallel vs just say kick and snare. It seems like I've gotten told not to run everything through there together, yet it is perfectly acceptable for me to run kick and snare through one and a squashed room parallel with the rooms. ??? Thanks for all these great tutorials! JROD
2011 Oct 11
I am astonished by how much difference I can hear already, in only my first attempt to use your technique. I also appreciate how you break things down in a simpler form than most which is very easy to understand. Please keep them coming!
2011 Oct 07
@ DAVE / Yes it does. It gets twice as loud. In the video we compensate for that so we don't fool ourselves with levels. You should do the same in real life. (Whatever that is) @Chimulko. THanks. Working on it @Fransme. You should have no phase issue if you make sure that your plugins are properly compensated. (Sometimes you get lied to by your DAW) @Mike C. PT LE pre PT9 is not delay compensated. It takes a lot of planning to do parallel comp on there. Save yourself some grief and upgrade :-) ciao Fab
Dave Zerio
2011 Oct 07
This is a great video! It definitely answered some crucial questions I've had. I really got a lot from hearing the same method used with different plug-ins too. To make a long story and a whole bunch of questions real short: 1 question: If you send your drums to 2 separate busses as in the video, doesn't that amplify your gain before you even add any processing? Stay tuned to all the really convoluted associated questions in person. Thanks Fab & G!
2011 Oct 06
Great great, more videos please please..
2011 Oct 05
Very interesting tutorial. I like the comparisons of the different styles of compression. At times I stay away parallel processing because of various phase issues. Is there an easy way to avoid this problem altogether?
2011 Oct 05
Excellent, magnificent, fantastic!! It is really easy to understand but super practical. I've already learned what is "parallel compression" on another website. This video, however, is totally different. It's not just an explanation of the technique. Fab teaches how to listen to music and what part I need to focus on. And then, he shows the differences with and without parallel compression. Now.... parallel compression is my technique! This video is worth EVERY PENNY! Thanks Fab..
2011 Oct 04
Wow this technique really changes my drum sounds. I feel like I just jumped up a level with my mixes. Also, when doing parallel processing, do you ever run into latency/phase issues with the two separate busses? I have a really slow LE system on my laptop, and I'm wondering if I'm going to experience that.