Andrew Scheps Parallel Compression Technique On The Master Bus!
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I love learning things from the greats!
Andrew Scheps falls under that category for sure.
His credits include Hozier, Daughtry, Green Day, KALEO, Jay - Z, and soo many more.
One of his techniques he uses is to set up parallel compression on the master bus, aka stereo bus or 2 bus.
Sounds crazy right!?
Sometimes you gotta think big and bold.
Andrew Scheps Parallel bus Compression Set up
The way Andrew would do it, is to set up an aux track next to the master fader and slap on your favorite compressor.
Any compressor will do.
Then you would go to your individual tracks, or master buses for your individual tracks (ie: Guitar bus), and send a copy "post" fader to this aux master bus parallel track.
He does not send the drums. I can't exactly remember why, but I'm sure it's because he doesn't want the compressor to work to hard.
Once you have sent a copy of each track post fader to this parallel track, then you can dial in a healthy amount of compression. Id say a 4:1 ratio, medium to fast attack, slow release, and about 4-6 dbs of gain reduction is a good start.
You can tweak to taste.
Once you have this set up, you would then pull that parallel master bus all the way down, and then start slowly pulling the fader volume back up and blending to taste.
It will sound louder and more full, and you may be thinking "will that's because you're just adding volume", and you're right, but maybe just a little bit.
What's happening is really cool though besides a little volume.
The compressor is doing what a compressor is made to do, and is evening out the overall performance and helping things be heard consistently throughout the mix.
This would typically would be WAY too much compression on the stereo master bus, but you're just blending it in a little.
Just like a typical parallel compression technique on and individual track.
it helps fill out the mix, and keep the dynamics at the same time. It makes it sound more full and exciting to my ears. That's the whole idea behind this technique.
I did it slightly Different...
I wanted to see what it would sound like just sending a copy of the whole mix from the actual master fader.
Technically you're not supposed to, but whatever... Lets see what happens.
What I did do was set up an EQ on the parallel bus and High Pass filter up to about 100hz, so there was not a lot of low end information causing the compressor to work too hard.
That's probably why he doesn't send the drums to this parallel bus.
HP filtering seemed to do the trick, and then I just dialed in my compression and blended to taste.
It made my mix feel more full, warm, and musical.
Sometimes when I check my mixes in my wife's car my mixes feel distant, and not as full compared to my reference tracks.
Incorporating this technique was one of the things that helped solve that problem.
I've recorded a video tutorial on how to set all this up, and you can watch it below. Go watch it!
On this page there is an image you can click on to grab a FREE Compression cheat sheet that will help you better understand compression and common setting on a lot of instruments. Go grab that..It's free!
Comment below and let me know what you think, and if you are using or plan to use this in your next mix.
I'd love to hear how the Andrew Scheps parallel compression technique worked for you!