How to? Parallel processing w/plugin that lacks mix control?

I have a Cubase Pro 9 project where I want to apply parallel compression on my Drums submix, but I want to use a compressor that doesn’t have a mix control (no built-in parallel support).

What I’m doing now:
I have three drums submixes/group channels:

  • “Drums” - This is the channel that all drums stems are routed to. This channel is routed to “None” (nothing sent to main outs), but it has Sends to each of the other drum submixes.
  • “Drums raw” - The original Drums submix without bus compression applied. Routed to main outs.
  • “Drums squashed” - The Drums submix with severe compression applied with Waves Kramer PIE. Routed to main outs.

So what I’m doing now is duplicating the Drums bus, compressing one copy, and mixing the compressed vs. uncompressed versions separately in my DAW.

There’s got to be a better/simpler way, yeah?

I haven’t tried it yet, but I have Blue Cat Patchwork, and I’m wondering if IT has a mix control, so I could have a single drum submix, add Patchwork as an insert, and then load Kramer PIE into that. (This is assuming Patchwork has a mix control.)

But is there a way to do what I want in Cubase without 3rd party plugs?

I would route the stems to a Drums group and send from stems to the Parallel group…not sure what the third group in your setup is adding.

The way you are doing it is how parallel processing was done when it was invented & is the reason for the “parallel” in the name - you have 2 signal paths running in parallel with each other. The config you have isn’t intrinsically more complicated than the mix knob method. In both cases you need set 2 controls to get what you want. For the mix method it is the mix control and the overall level. For the parallel method you are setting the individual levels of each of the 2 tracks. Additionally the true parallel method offers you more flexibility. For example you could EQ the compressed channel so you were compressing only the lows. I wouldn’t spend much effort on trying to fix something that isn’t broke.

As Grim says you could route it a bit more simply, but as is works fine.

You could simply direct route to both the dry and the compressed group simultaneously.
That should be easier to control with one dry and one wet fader, you could link them, use a VCA or send them to another group once you have found the right balance.

Indeed for simplicity you could route same signal to both but using sends to the parallel allows you to change up the mix reaching the comp.

I forgot to mention this in my post: The top-level submix- the one that stems currently route to and feeds the other two submixes- has some processing applied (mainly EQ). I wanted this processing to go to both the “raw” and “squashed” channels. Someone else mentioned that another way to achieve this might be to just have a single “raw” bus and then Send that to an aux for the “squash” channel, reducing my three buses to only two. But I see how your suggestion would work if I didn’t want that other bus processing on the squashed channel.

Wait- I can do that? Do you mean I can have a single stem that routes to more than one output? Or do you mean routing via Sends?

When I was working with my method last night I was just thinking, “I’m sure this is something people do all the time and there has to be a more direct way.” Another factor behind my single-bus-feeds-into-two-parallel-buses setup was my perhaps unjustified fear of phasing by having two channels with such similar content playing simultaneously. That way ensures both channels get content at exactly the same time, and I can tell it’s not phasing due to the volume increase of their combined output. But I acknowledge that this fear may be unfounded.

Yup. In the MixConsole in the Racks make sure Direct Routing is visable. Right+click on the Direct Routing tab and set it to be in Summing Mode (this lets you select multiple destinations). Then just make entries for your various destinations. You’d probably want to Quick Link all your stem channels when you do this so you only need to set up the routing once.

When you got everything how you like it you might want to save it as a Template for reuse later. :wink: