OK, I admit it, I have been known to take advantage of a Black Friday or Cyber Monday plug-in deal or two and forget that I even bought the plug-in. Now admit you have done it too right? Just me then? This was the case with a plug-in I have found myself using more and more during the last year.
I also have to admit to being a fan of the Waves signature series plug-ins. Now I know some people call it cutting corners or even cheating but in my world, if I can use one plug-in in the place of many or better still drop one plug-in into a single Pro Tools insert and have it create a complex effects and routing structure that I don't ever have to think about, better still. I don't call that cutting corners, I call it smart working.
The Waves Scheps (Andrew Scheps that is) Parallel Particles plug-in is one of the new range of Waves plug-ins that is very simple to use but you know there is a lot of clever stuff going on behind the GUI.
Talking about that GUI, I love it. It looks like part of the stage backdrop of the Muse 2nd Law world tour. Far left you have the input slider which works in tandem with the output slider on the far right. These are not input and output gain controls, they alter the amount of original signal versus processed signal that is passed through the plug-in. It is called Parallel Particles after all. The input and output sliders can be linked using the small LINK button below the output slider so as you push the input up or down the output moves in the opposite direction.
You then have four rotary dials called Thick, Sub, Air and Bite. The only other control is a Frequency slider under the Sub dial. The four bands can be individually turned off by clicking bands name icon.
Andrew Scheps is known for his use of complex parallel processing chains in his mixes so to keep things simple the 4 "bands" each control a parallel processing chain of processes.
Air and Sub are both chains that involve harmonic synthesizers. Although you might at first think they are just great sounding EQ they are creating harmonic content based on the synthesis of midrange frequencies. You can tune the Sub frequencies using the slide to best fit the material being processed. The frequency selection on a Kick Drum or Bass Guitar will be very different to that of a Vocal or Electric Guitar.
Thick and Bite are both parallel compression and dynamics chains. The Bite control will allow you to dial in attitude to a vocal, for example, making the best of the transient content in the recording. Thick can add body to a thinner sounding track in much the same way a getting closer to the mic might.
How Do I Use Parallel Particles
Most of the time I use Scheps Parallel Particles on Vocals. It is much quicker to add this plug-in which I know is going to work over trying a couple of compressors and EQ combinations then setting up routing and then deciding I should have used Parallel Particles in the first place.
It works great on Drums. It can make Toms sound fat and give a snare a nice crack but keeps the body and tone of the drum.
Check out Dan Cooper's review of the Parallel Particles below and if you haven't seen any of the Waves promotional videos for Scheps Parallel Particles then click the link and wonder why you had not brought it already, or maybe you should check that you haven't first.