How To Use Maximus For Parallel Compression

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How To Use Maximus For Parallel Compression

Parallel compression is a compression technique where a dry (non-compressed) signal is mixed with an over-compressed copy of the the same signal. What’s so cool in this technique is that this way you can increase the volume level of the quieter parts of the signal (i.e. the body or tail of a kick or snare) while preserving the transients (or attack phase or whatever they’re called) of the original signal underneath it.


With that said, in this tutorial I will show you how to easily apply parallel compression (or NY compression) to your audio using Maximus.

So let’s begin. I’m using a simple drum loop as example audio here. Check preview below:

[audio:http://howtomakeelectronicmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/audio3/Drum-Loop-Dry.mp3]

What I do first is I route the drum loop to a free mixer track and drop the Maximus to it’s effect slot.

Routing And Loading Maximus

I reset the Maximus settings by loading the ‘Default’ preset (note that there’s also a preset in Maximus for NY compression, but I’ll set it up from the ground up – based on the preset – so you can see what’s happening “under the hood”).

Reset Maximus

Maximus has three compression bands (LOW, MID and HIGH), but I need only one band so I turn off the LOW and HIGH bands leaving only the MID band active.

Setting Maximus - Turn Off Low Band

Setting Maximus - Turn Off High Band

As you can see from the display, the MID compression band now covers the full frequency bandwidth so all the tweaks made to the MID band will be applied to the whole frequency spectrum.

MID Band Covers The Full Frequency Range

Next, I set a heavy compression by editing the MID band compression curve.

Basically, editing the compression curve in Maximus is like tweaking a threshold and ratio level controllers in a traditional compressor (like Fruity Limiter for example) though it’s MUCH more flexible as you can create infinitely variable curves with it.

So, first thing I do is I drop the envelope point 2/3 a little. This envelope point represents the compression threshold level which is the level at where the compression starts to kick in (once the input signal reaches it) and it needs to be dropped below the level where the input signal is peaking. Otherwise the compression doesn’t do anything.

I’ll press the playback so I can see at what level the input signal is peaking (also turning on the Monitor Display) and drop the envelope point below those peaks while keeping it in line with that 45 degree dim line you can see in the graph.

MID Band Compression Curve - Threshold

The envelope point 3/3 represents the compression ratio. The more closer you drop it to the level of the envelope point 2/3, the more harder the compression. I’ll drop it few dB’s.

MID Band Compression Curve - Ratio

With the point tension handle, you can soften the compression knee. ‘Soft Knee’ is preferred so I increase the tension level a bit.

Tension Handle For Soft Knee

With the Pre Gain, you can boost the input signal level. The more you increase it, the more input signal will reach the threshold level point (the envelope point 2/3) and the more audible the compression effect will be. I’ll just turn it up to the max.

Pre-Gain For Input Signal Boost

Attack time should be set to short (2-10 ms). I’m using something like 2.60 ms. Release time should be set to quite long (100-300 ms). I’ll set it to around 130 ms.

Attack And Release Settings

With the LMH Mix -knob (LOW, MID, HIGH Mix) you set the balance between the uncompressed and compressed signal. First, I turn it full left to allow only the uncompressed signal to pass and then turn it right until I find a nice balance between the signals.

Setting The Balance With LMH Mix Knob

Sounds quite nice. Compare the drum loop before and after the parallel compression:

[audio:http://howtomakeelectronicmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/audio3/Compare-Compression.mp3]

As you probably heard, the parallel compression boosted the volume level of the quieter parts of the drum loop making it sound more fatter. Let me show it visually:

Parallel Compression Visually

As you can see, in the compressed material (the bottom audio loop), the quieter parts are louder compared to uncompressed and the original transients of the drum loop are pretty much still there.

That’s it. This tutorial is based on the FL Studio manual and the ‘NY Compression’ preset included in Maximus.

Few words about the ‘NY Compression’ preset: if you play with the preset, note that the MID band Post-Gain knob is set to +10dB so you might want to set it to 0dB if you don’t want a post compression volume boost.

The end. 😎

Check the video version of this tutorial below:

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HowToMakeElectronicMusic.com (HTMEM) - A music production website with plenty FL Studio tutorials, interviews, news, free music production tips, and free downloads.

15 Comments

  1. Nice tutorial πŸ™‚ Saw a similar one by FL Studio Guru, but he was using Fruity Limiter.

    Got a quick question. Whenever I use 3xOsc with saw or square waves, playing higher notes creates this unwanted raspy noise. How can I get rid of this? I’m not sure if it’s a problem with my sound card.

    Thanks πŸ™‚

    • Is this unwanted raspy noise associated with the parallel compression?

      If so, turn the high band to “COMP OFF”, then adjust the high band so that it cuts out some of the high end from the mid range, which will in turn, keep it from being affected by the parallel compression.

        • Hmmm….are you using ASIO4all? Should be using that instead of your primary soundcard. Try some EQ sweeps too, see if maybe the sound is coming from the synth itself & if so then try doing some cuts in the EQ to get it where you want it!

  2. Hey man, great tut, very useful!

    Just a heads up, a lot of people in the EDM scene are using parallel compression on their drums, but they don’t always compress the whole frequency range, a lot of the time they will cut out some of the low & high ends.

    To do this with this method, instead of turning the low & high bands to “OFF”, you can turn them to “COMP OFF” which will allow you to adjust the low & high bands which in turn changes the frequency range of the mid section & what will and won’t be compressed.

    Great site, useful stuff on here!!

      • No problem! For the most part you want to try to keep from distorting low ends too much, causes the mix to become muddy. Parallel compression distorts the sound a tad bit, so by letting the low band pass through you can keep the muddiness out of your mix. Some people also have problems with the high frequencies when using parallel compression, which is why they like to let the high band pass through as well. Figured I’d share that in hopes that it’d help someone!

  3. Well then. Finally someone had explained the core of parallel compression and set real example.Still not using Fl Studio but it’s very useful material and more and more you are convincing me to do so.Excellent job πŸ™‚

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