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Using Parallel Compression on an 808 Bass

Parallel compression, also known as "New York compression" or "ducking compression," is a mixing technique that involves blending a compressed version of a track with its original, uncompressed version. This technique can be used on a variety of instruments and sounds, but it is particularly useful for working with an 808 bass.


An 808 bass is a low-frequency sound that is commonly used in hip-hop, trap, and electronic music. It is named after the Roland TR-808 drum machine, which was one of the first devices to produce this type of sound. The 808 bass is known for its deep, powerful, and punchy sound, but it can also be difficult to mix and balance in a track. This is where parallel compression comes in.

The idea behind parallel compression is to take the original, uncompressed 808 bass and blend it with a compressed version of the same sound. This compressed version will have less dynamic range and will be louder overall, which can help to fill out the mix and add more power to the bass.

To use parallel compression when working with an 808, you will need mixing software that has a parallel compression feature. In this example, we will be using Pro Tools, but the process is similar in other software.

  1. Create a new audio track and name it "Parallel Compression."

  2. Copy the 808 bass track to the new parallel compression track.

  3. On the parallel compression track, add a compressor plugin. You can use any compressor you like, but a popular choice for 808 bass is 1176.

  4. Set the threshold, ratio, attack, and release to your desired settings. A good starting point is a threshold of -10 dB, a ratio of 4:1, and a fast attack and release.

  5. Adjust the gain to make the compressed track louder than the original.

  6. Blend the two tracks together by adjusting the fader on the parallel compression track. You can start with a balance of 50/50, but you may need to adjust it to taste.


By using parallel compression on an 808 bass, you can add more power and punch to the sound while still preserving its dynamic range. It can also help to glue the bass to the mix, making it sound more cohesive with the other elements in the track.

It's important to note that parallel compression is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Every track and every mix is different, so you may need to experiment with different settings and ratios to get the desired result. However, when done correctly, parallel compression can take your 808 bass to the next level and help it stand out in the mix.

Happy Mixing!


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