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Author Topic: Side-chaining questions  (Read 3536 times)

arbogast

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Side-chaining questions
« on: January 16, 2011, 01:21:32 pm »

Hi all,

Using Reaper primarily but coming OTB to mix, I tried with some success and ease(because I stay in Reaper to SC) to implement these side-chains: LeadVox to BGVox, Kik to BassGtr, LeadVox to LeadVox EFX, Kik/Bass to piano. (There seems to be no end to possibilities..)

Do most MEs out there use analog or digital SC? Is that difference in the sound significant?

Does anyone SC while tracking?

Would most MEs save their "character" compressors/limiters for sweetening as opposed to SC?

Do some of you rely on SC so you don't have to ride faders?

Are you tending to use ALOT or a LITTLE SC in mixing?


thanks in advance!
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Tom L

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Re: Side-chaining questions
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2011, 01:06:31 pm »

I've tried it occassionally when mixing a guitar track that wasn't too dynamically mindful of the lead vocal (using the vocal to key the guitar compressor). Used subtley, it can help create a better weave between the two.  I don't do it as a rule though.

You said "Kik to BassGtr"...I'm curious, what would the application be?

ssltech

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Re: Side-chaining questions
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2011, 01:22:28 pm »

What do you mean by 'side chaining'? -Do you mean 'ducking'? If so, can we use a better terminology, since this isn't a side-chain processing application, it's simply feeding a different signal into the detector input, which you can usually cheat by using the side chain return. -This is different to "side-chaining" to me, which is the process whereby a processing device or 'chain', 'alongside' the signal path.

"M.E." to me means 'Mastering Engineer'. -Is this what you meant though, because I don't understand how an ME could really do anything of the sort unless he has stems, and then he's really mixing and not mastering...

Also, do bear in mind that many 'character' analog compressors do NOT have separate detector inputs, the LA-2a and Fairchild being excellent examples.

Plus (assuming that I'm correctly interpreting what you're doing), there are limits to how well it can work: For example, a vocal which varies a lot in level can b used to duck a pad which is getting in the way, but it's far from a perfect application, because when the vocal wakes up and gets going, that may be when the pad doesn't necessarily NEED to be ducked as much as when it's whispering and getting lost behind the conflicting sound bed... whereas it does precisely the reverse.

So such a practice can be fun and produce interesting and quite useful results, it's so far from universally useful that I sincerely doubt that many people use it as a 'primary' tool.

I could be wrong though: -I often am.

Keith
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MDM (maxdimario) wrote on Fri, 16 November 2007 21:36

I have the feeling that I have more experience in my little finger than you do in your whole body about audio electronics..

marcel

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Re: Side-chaining questions
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2011, 01:47:33 pm »

This is pretty common in modern dance music.  Synths or bass (or whole mix, LOL) ducked by kick drum, or pad parts ducked by lead parts, etc.  About half of the threads on the Logic forum I used to go on seemed to be about how to set up this sort of scenario.

However, I think it is much less common in rock or pop where song elements are more dynamic (as in changing from one bar to the next) and less repetitive.  I would normally use fader moves (hardware or software automation, or manual) to achieve the same effect in most genres.

That's why they call it 'mixing', LOL.
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Best, Marcel

arbogast

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Re: Side-chaining questions
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2011, 04:15:19 pm »

ssltech wrote on Mon, 17 January 2011 12:22

What do you mean by 'side chaining'? -Do you mean 'ducking'? If so, can we use a better terminology, since this isn't a side-chain processing application, it's simply feeding a different signal into the detector input, which you can usually cheat by using the side chain return. -This is different to "side-chaining" to me, which is the process whereby a processing device or 'chain', 'alongside' the signal path.

"M.E." to me means 'Mastering Engineer'. -Is this what you meant though, because I don't understand how an ME could really do anything of the sort unless he has stems, and then he's really mixing and not mastering...

Also, do bear in mind that many 'character' analog compressors do NOT have separate detector inputs, the LA-2a and Fairchild being excellent examples.

Plus (assuming that I'm correctly interpreting what you're doing), there are limits to how well it can work: For example, a vocal which varies a lot in level can b used to duck a pad which is getting in the way, but it's far from a perfect application, because when the vocal wakes up and gets going, that may be when the pad doesn't necessarily NEED to be ducked as much as when it's whispering and getting lost behind the conflicting sound bed... whereas it does precisely the reverse.

So such a practice can be fun and produce interesting and quite useful results, it's so far from universally useful that I sincerely doubt that many people use it as a 'primary' tool.

I could be wrong though: -I often am.

Keith


ooops, yes, I am talking exactly about ducking! and ME means mixing eng.

I'm trying to get a feel for how much it's used, as opposed to riding faders, or automating a mix, AND whether people prefer ducking ITB or it's more fun, or brings better results with analog gear.

Setting it up in Reaper feels almost like cheating, it's pretty easy (I know, whatever works and sounds good) but I see your point about not being the right tool all the time (I guess automation is much better here.)

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arbogast

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Re: Side-chaining questions
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2011, 04:18:41 pm »

Tom L wrote on Mon, 17 January 2011 12:06

I've tried it occassionally when mixing a guitar track that wasn't too dynamically mindful of the lead vocal (using the vocal to key the guitar compressor). Used subtley, it can help create a better weave between the two.  I don't do it as a rule though.

You said "Kik to BassGtr"...I'm curious, what would the application be?


The Kik to Bass was not ducking but gating to get the bassgtr to line up with a Kik that was more accurate. Sorry for the miscommunication.
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DarinK

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Re: Side-chaining questions
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2011, 04:27:46 pm »

Real musicians playing together without headphones will generally take care of most of this all on their own.  Add headphones & they will be less dynamically responsive to each other.  Add overdubs & they may be even less responsive.  Using compression when tracking can also take away the natural dynamic interaction that players have.  Using samples can have the same effect.  And of course musicians that are less experienced in listening & responding to each other may need more dynamic adjustments in the mix regardless of recording methods.
Some of this can be done by ducking, forcing the dynamics of one part to be affected by the dynamics of another.
If the desire is not just some dynamic life or give-and-take but a noticeable "effect," then of course do "whatever works" to get results that you like.  
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Fletcher

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Re: Side-chaining questions
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2011, 06:27:39 pm »

arbogast wrote on Sun, 16 January 2011 13:21

Using Reaper primarily but coming OTB to mix, I tried with some success and ease(because I stay in Reaper to SC) to implement these side-chains: LeadVox to BGVox, Kik to BassGtr, LeadVox to LeadVox EFX, Kik/Bass to piano. (There seems to be no end to possibilities..)


It seems like you're maybe trying to get a bit too heavy into this technique... and while its very cool in limited places making a "habit" can lead to a bunch of other issues -- especially on "critical" tracks and especially when using "plug-ins" instead of hardware.

That said - one of my FAVORITE things to do on albums with LOUD guitars is to duck the ambience tracks [the ones that makes the loud guitars HUGE] off the lead vocal.  You end up with really cool guitar sounds that get smaller during the vocals and allow them their space and guitars the size of Indiana for the places with no vocals... if  you use a buss you can do that for things like guitar solos and fills as well.

Hope this is of some assistance.

Peace.
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CN Fletcher

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Gio

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Re: Side-chaining questions
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2011, 08:15:32 pm »

It's a great way to "automate" an acoustic gtr track with excessively loud finger "squeaks" between chords.
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ssltech

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Re: Side-chaining questions
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2011, 08:31:35 pm »

Drawmer gates set to 'duck' may be significantly better than compressors for many of these tasks, since they won't suffer from the "louder makes it worse" problems that a compressor introduces... plus the Drawmer is EXCELLENT at setting a good range of 'fade-up/fade-down' times, and has the added advantage of a 'hold' control, which can also come in handy.

I did once do a staggeringly complex version of this with Mick Glossop producing, on the title track of the Waterboys' "this is the sea" album.

I think I've typed all of this out here before, and it was VERY convoluted, since it involved the back buses of an SSL 4000 being re-summed into the front buses, so I'll see if I can find the post rather than going through all that again...

But -having said that it did solve a particular problem, and might just be one of the 'ultimate' examples of keyed ducking to move things out of the way, it's not something that I commonly do. -Perhaps once every 4 or 5 years... and that particular Waterboys example was a quarter century ago.

It might just help solve a particular problem, but that problem is far from being an especially common one, in my experience.

Keith
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MDM (maxdimario) wrote on Fri, 16 November 2007 21:36

I have the feeling that I have more experience in my little finger than you do in your whole body about audio electronics..

ssltech

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Re: Side-chaining questions
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2011, 08:36:37 pm »

Here you go... -found the link:

http://recforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/m/312797/2172/#ms g_312797

Keith
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MDM (maxdimario) wrote on Fri, 16 November 2007 21:36

I have the feeling that I have more experience in my little finger than you do in your whole body about audio electronics..

compasspnt

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Re: Side-chaining questions
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2011, 10:37:58 pm »

"Are you tending to use ALOT or a LITTLE SC in mixing?"

In mixing very little, maybe something like 1-2% of the time.

In Mastering, never.
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rankus

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Re: Side-chaining questions
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2011, 04:29:14 pm »

compasspnt wrote on Mon, 17 January 2011 19:37

"Are you tending to use ALOT or a LITTLE SC in mixing?"

In mixing very little, maybe something like 1-2% of the time.

In Mastering, never.



Ditto

PS:  "ME" = Mastering Engineer not Mixing Engineer (that's "AE" for Audio Engineer)

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