Processing vocals is one the toughest parts of getting a great mix. In most cases, the vocal is up front and center and is the most important ‘instrument’ in a song. Today I’m going to show you a vocal parallel compression technique that will bring your vocal track up front and in your face. This technique works great for any genre!

You can either watch the video below or scroll down to read. Also, sorry in advance for the ‘DEMO MODE’ that reads throughout the video, I’m trying out a trial version of ScreenFlow.


Firstly, after you’re done processing your lead, create a bus/aux track and send the full audio signal from the lead vocal to the bus. You should send the signal ‘post fader’ so that the bus signal will change along with the fader of the lead vocal. One the screenshot below, the vocal is being sent post fader via BUS 27.

Vocal Parallel Compression Technique

pumping in parallel

Secondly, add a compressor plugin on your BUS/AUX track. I’m using a UAD 1176 blue face that’s completely squashing the vocal signal and I set a  ratio of 20 with the slowest attack and fastest release. On average, I’m getting about 20 db of gain reduction. See screenshot below:

Thirdly, and most importantly, add a limiter after the compressor to avoid any clipping. I’m using the Sonnox Oxford Limiter as I find it very clean and transparent. Finally, simply adjust the fader of your BUS track and blend it with the lead vocal fader to taste.

Here are audio samples for you to compare the vocals with and without parallel compression.

If you’re interested, the song in this tutorial is called “I See You (Ellie’s Song) and is featured on my debut album “All or Nothing”. You can stream or download the song here on SpotifyApple MusiciTunes, Youtube, or Soundcloud.

So I hope you enjoy this tutorial and put it to good use to make your synth lead sound amazing. Above all, just keep producing!

For questions, feel free to shoot me an email by contacting me.

Pierre Andrews recording studio is located in Irving, TX and services the Dallas Forth Worth area and works remotely with clients all around the world via Soundbetter.