Parallel processing splits a signal into two or more parallel channels. Bi-amping is a common example of parallel processing:
The two channels then mix together to a common output (e.g., the Main output bus). You generally don’t want the original audio that was split to appear in the mixed output of the two channels.
Parallel processing has many applications, like altering stereo image, emphasizing transients, doing creative compression effects, super-wide reverbs, and more. Studio One Professional has a Splitter module that makes parallel processing easy within an FX Chain. However, this isn’t always a perfect solution, for reasons described later. And Studio One Artist doesn’t have a Splitter—so let’s look at an alternate way to do splits.
The traditional way to create a split for parallel processing uses buses. You insert pre-fader sends in the channel with the track you want to process. These go to two FX or Bus Channels (fig. 1). With pre-fader sends, the original channel’s fader can turn down all the way. This prevents the signal from going to the Main bus, yet audio still proceeds to the parallel paths.
Figure 1: This example of traditional bus-based splitting provides bi-amping.
However, Track Presets can’t save a combination of tracks and buses, only tracks. So, let’s speed up your sessions with a Track Preset-friendly solution.
This option accomplishes the same goal, but you can save the setup as a Track Preset for instant recall. First, we need to do a little prep work. The parallel channels receive their inputs from Track 1’s output (note that the parallel tracks’ input fields in fig. 3 show “Track 1”). So, we can’t turn the Track 1 fader down to have the equivalent of a bus’s pre-fader send. Although there are some instances where you may want the original sound mixed in with parallel processing, most of the time you want to hear only the outputs from the parallel-processed tracks.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to do a pseudo pre-fader send. In Song Setup, create a Dummy Output and don’t assign it to anything (fig. 2). We don’t want it to go anywhere. This lets the parallel processed tracks still receive their inputs from Track 1, but Track 1’s output feeds the Dummy bus instead of the Main bus. So, you won’t hear Track 1’s original audio.
Figure 2: Use Song Setup to create a Dummy bus to nowhere.
Fig. 3 shows the track-based splitting configuration. Aside from assigning the source track to the Dummy bus instead of the Main bus, here are the differences compared to fig. 1:
Figure 3: You can save this parallel processing configuration as a Track Preset.
The bottom line is for Studio One Artist, track-based splits are a great way to create parallel effects. And with Studio One Professional, FX Chains provide exceptional functionality—but even so, track-based splits can perform some tricks that FX Chains can’t do.