Monday, June 9, 2008

Production Tip: Parallel Bitcrushing?

If you're somewhat familiar with the use of compressors in audio production, you've probably heard of Parallel Compression (also sometimes referred to as New York Style Compression). This technique involves taking, for example, a drum sound, duplicating it on another track, applying extremely heavy compression to this additional track, and then mixing the compressed track back in beneath the original, uneffected track. Done correctly, this technique adds punch and weight to the drums, but without totally destroying the transients.
In a lot of modern dance styles these days (especially electrohouse), very hard, snappy drums are common. One way of achieving this effect is by mimicking Parallel Compression, but using a bitcrusher instead to add the grit and hardness (By its nature, bitcrushing acts like a very extreme limiter). Simply set up the drum channel in question as you normally would, and then send that track to an effects send. Apply the bitcrush effect to the effects send and play back the drum track. As you are doing so, slowly turn up the send amount on your original track until you hear the drum getting a bit harder and more present. Please note that when I am talking about the bitcrush effect, I am not talking about extreme settings. You're looking for something like the default in Logic's Bitcrusher where it reduces the bit rate without the exteme aliasing you get from driving it harder. I find 12-bit sounds particularly nice on drums.


Marko said...

hmm, this "sounds" pretty interesting.. thansk for the tip, definitely trying this out!

Arick said...

surprised i never thought of it before with how often i use sends.

great idea on this fledgling blog Tom!

Terance said...

Tom I can't believe it! Zak and I were just trying to figure out how to get a harder drum sound. Off to work! Thank you!