Parallel processing and Phase coherence? Cubase 9.5

Hi All! A much discussed issue, and yet, I have questions :sweat_smile:

Have any of you noticed your tracks, in particular drum tracks and transient rich sounds actually suffering as a result of parallel processing, eq, compression distortion, etc?

Suffering in the sense that the sounds lose punch and clarity when processed with parallel effects like compression and eq?

I use Cubase 9.5. - do any of you have any tips or tricks to minimize this?

Thanks for all advice!

Well, the first and most important tip would be to not use plugins that mess with the phase on parallel channels :wink: That would include equalizers, as common minimum phase EQ per design introduce phase shift which can result in degraded sound*. Distortion plugins and compressors don’t necessarily, but i wouldn’t be sure for all of them, a lot of distortion plugins e.g. include an EQ of sorts.
Then there are plugins who introduce latency but don’t report that to the host (or wrongly), but i think they are rather rare nowadays. Still, if you encounter on of those, you only can avoid them on parallel buses.

*you don’t have to avoid eq completely, you just should be aware what you’re doing with it. If you put a minimum phase HPF on your parallel drum bus, you might lose some bass, not much to do there except trying a linear phase EQ, or a perhaps a gentle shelving filter.

Hey, thanks for your reply! I have thought about testing the amount latency by doing a side by side bounce comparison between the dry track that parallel processed track - BUT -if you are smashing the signal with compression (think 1176 all buttons in mode) or really distorting the signal, it is hard to really see the original transient in the effected track.

Or does the amount of distortion or compression not alter the delay? Am I thinking about it wrong? Is it enough to just set up an aux send, put a compressor or distortion on there an then bounce that and compare the sample accuracy to the original?

NG here (no guru), but maybe you’re mixing in the smashed track too loud and overwhelming the unprocessed track where the transients live?

In hand with that, perhaps you could slow the attack on the compressor a bit to let the transients through …

The amount of processing doesn’t alter any plugin latency. If a plugin f***s up latency reporting in some way, it should be easy to notice if you just bypass the plugin on the fx channel using the Cubase plugin bypass in the mixer. You should immediately hear a phasey sound if there is something wrong.
Else, what @alexis wrote, maybe you’re just overdoing it? Mixing in a fully crushed signal from an all button in 1176 will definitely reduce dynamic range of the resulting signal (think of it as some kind of upward compression) and lose detail or punch, but gain body and sustain (or whatever you wanna call it). That’s what i would expect and use that kind of parallel processing for.