Pre-Fader Sends to Parallel Drum Buss

Daniel, I’m loving this lesson on parallel buss compression and its making great sense, but I have a question about the pre-fader sends to the parallel drum compression buss. If the sends are all pre-fader then it seems the drum tracks being sent to the par. buss are not mixed but are pre-channel volume. Wouldn’t we want the drums being sent to the par. drum buss to be the same levels as our drum sub mix, lest we end up with an unmixed par. signal that doesn’t follow our drum submix ? Thanks.

Danny is a busy man. Any takers ?

Good guestion!

Lets say you have adjusted your send levels to get the ‘perfect’ amount of ‘squash’ and ‘saturation’ from your compressor on the drum parallel, which sits nicely under the drums. Then, you decide the snare drum is not loud enough in the mix and crank it up 2 dB, you have now changed the balance of signals going in to your parallel channel.
Of course, you could just turn the send down 2 dB and I also know some DAWs ‘post pan’ option is only active with post fader sends - pan pots are after fader, something I do not have to be concerned about in PT. So that is something else to think about.
I would use whatever method best suits your workflow, I don’t think there is a wrong answer in this particular scenario.

1 Like

Excellent question indeed. Here we go: The stereo mix and the drum buss mix are actually – and need to be – discrete…that is, unrelated regarding level balancing. First you build your basic stereo drum mix. Then you send the individual elements to the drum buss pre-fader. This allows you to adjust the level to the drum buss if something is too loud or quiet after you apply the drum buss processing, so that’s cool and gives you a lot of creative control.

We need the sends to be pre-fader so that a fader change to the stereo drum mix does not disturb the delicate balances achieved in the drum buss mix. This way everything is discrete and intentional.

The drum buss reverbs output directly to the drum buss. The sends to the drum buss reverb are also pre-fader for the exact same reason.

It is this combination of the dynamics of the stereo drum mix and the density and detail of the drum buss mix that makes the magic happen.

does this makes sense?


I understand the routing without difficulty and the reasons for it but it’s the difference in the stereo drum mix levels and the parallel buss levels that is throwing me just a little. I see now that the levels can be adjusted using the pre-fader sends which allows for further adjustment but in traditional New York compression I was under the impression that the reason for it is to take a highly squashed exact copy of the stereo drum mix and then subtly blend it back in to bring out quieter undertones and just basically fatten it up. Just looking at it from the outset it would seem if the parallel mix were not an exact copy the result might get interesting as say the snare is 2dB louder in the pre-fader parallel mix (after adjusting during mixing) than it’s stereo mix counterpart and that could possibly throw the mix off. I see the need for the pre-fader sends to accommodate the stereo drum mix reverb being included in the parallel mix but have never done this myself so I’ll just need to do it in practice to listen and get the routing scheme. Routing possibilities are always fascinating to me so I really am enjoying the vibes here. Thanks.

Hands down the best explanation of not just a pre fader send, but the relationship of the drum bus and reason for pre fader sends. Well done.