Old 10-09-2019, 02:12 AM   #1
flatuswalrus
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Default Sidechain Compression (Ducking)

Could someone please help me. Today I watched and followed this video on Sidechain Compression (Ducking):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjC0...p&index=2&t=1s

It worked perfectly but then I seemed to have done something wrong because now my song is doing the opposite to this where I hear the bass pulsating on the kick drum track. For the life of me, I cannot figure it out. I have tried mucking around with all the routing sending/receiving and settings within but I am afraid if I keep screwing around with it I am going to screw it all up further. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-09-2019, 02:42 AM   #2
uncleswede
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Hi,

Difficult to know exactly what you have changed.

Assuming you want to duck the bass when the kick hits, your track routing should be
a unity, post-fader send to channels 3/4 from KICK track to BASS track (Reaper will prompt you to add ch.s 3/4 on the bass track if they don't already exist)

Add ReaComp to Bass track and:
- rename (F2) as 'Kick ducker'
- set 'Detector input' to 'Auxiliary input L+R'
- set ratio to 4:1 (adjust to taste)
- set attack to 5ms (adjust to taste)
- leave Dry fader set to -inf
- leave Wet fader set to 0
- play tracks and adjust ReaComp threshold to achieve the desired gain reduction

Maybe work through Kenny's explanation as a different perspective?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Tt5yWOxB2E
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Old 10-09-2019, 07:14 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by uncleswede View Post
Hi,

Difficult to know exactly what you have changed.
Hello,

Thank you very much for the reply. Yes, it is difficult if you cannot sit at my computer to try and figure it out, especially when the person you are talking to (me) does not know a whole lot about this sort of thing. I followed your instructions as well as watch Kenny's video, again, as I had watched it previously. Still, I am getting bass sound of the kick track.

I have attached two images of my routing on the Kick Drum and Bass tracks as well as my track setup to hopefully indicate what might be going on and aid in the fault-finding as I am lost I am sorry to say.
Attached Images
File Type: png Kick Track.png (16.8 KB, 19 views)
File Type: png Bass Track.png (10.9 KB, 20 views)
File Type: png Tracks 01.png (40.3 KB, 18 views)
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:00 AM   #4
uncleswede
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OK, in no particular order...

Your routing looks fine.

For tidiness' sake(!), you don't need 4 audio channels on the Kick track (track 2) - change Routing track channels to 2

On the Kick track, mute the routed send to the Kick Low track for now.

Your ducking compressor (ReaComp) needs to be *the last FX in the chain* on track 11 (Bass). Bypass any other effects on the bass track (unless your using a bass MIDI VST, in which case, don't bypass that!)

For now, bypass any other FX on all tracks (shift-click each in the mixer view)

Solo the kick and bass tracks, bring up the ducking compressor on the bass track, make sure 'Detector input' is set to 'Auxiliary input L+R', then click the "Preview filter" and hit play. You should hear the *kick* drum coming through your bass track (you're previewing what's coming into the sidechain compressor). Set the ratio to 4:1, and lower the threshold until you get 6-9 dB of gain reduction on each kick thump. Now uncheck the 'Preview Filter' checkbox so you can hear the bass again.

The bass track should now be squashed with every kick hit. If it is....

- unmute the 'Kick Low' send... bass still ducking OK?
- enable each of the other FXs in turn ... still OK?
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:23 AM   #5
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I'm wondering why you have a kick track that routes audio to channels 3/4 of "Kick Low" + also midi there. If you aren't using MIDI instruments/vstis, then the latter part doesn't matter, but if you are make sure you aren't routing your MIDI notes as part of the side chain too, or weird things will happen (basically you'll play those notes on the track being sidechained too, if not mistaken). If none of those tracks are MIDI, then don't worry about that.. but still wondering why it looks like you're side chaining a kick to another kick. Maybe that's intentionally there though (such as to remove transients in the low part). Just wondering if there was good reason. Honestly asking, as I definitely don't know all there is to know about mixing techniques!
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nait View Post
I'm wondering why you have a kick track that routes audio to channels 3/4 of "Kick Low" + also midi there. If you aren't using MIDI instruments/vstis, then the latter part doesn't matter, but if you make sure you aren't routing your MIDI notes as part of the side chain too, or weird things will happen (basically you'll play those notes on the track being sidechained too, if not mistaken). If none of those tracks are MIDI, then don't worry about that.. but still wondering why it looks like you're side chaining a kick to another kick. Maybe that's intentionally there though (such as to remove transients in the low part). Just wondering if there was good reason. Honestly asking, as I don't know all there is to know about mixing techniques!
Hello, the reason I had that setup is because I was doing this: https://youtu.be/vLAHjOsmwFQ

Unless I had it set up incorrectly it appeared to be working okay. However, I am a beginner so I could have made a mistake or done it in an unorthodox manner. Basically, with that tone oscillator 'trick' I was just experimenting trying to get as good of a kick sound that I could.
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:39 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by uncleswede View Post
OK, in no particular order...
I am going to try this over the next few days so I will definitely report back on my success or lack thereof.

Thank you for the helpful and detailed reply. I will read it again whilst I am doing my next attempt at rectifying the issue. I did not know what this forum was going to be like but it appears there are lots of nice and helpful people.
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flatuswalrus View Post
Hello, the reason I had that setup is because I was doing this: https://youtu.be/vLAHjOsmwFQ

Unless I had it set up incorrectly it appeared to be working okay. However, I am a beginner so I could have made a mistake or done it in an unorthodox manner. Basically, with that tone oscillator 'trick' I was just experimenting trying to get as good of a kick sound that I could.
Ahhhh OK, thanks for the explanation.. and that's something I'd never seen before, so thanks for that!

I think the other poster has you on your way to getting things working for you, but if you don't get it working, it might be a good idea to post screenshots of the effects on the tracks to. In particular, the ReaComp (I presume you're using ReaComp) instance on the bass. Make sure you aren't doing something like ReaGate there, as that would have the opposite effect! That'd be quite noticeable though in that you'd hear nothing, except when the Kick hits (although ReaGate might be able to set up as an expander maybe - unsure - which would allow some signal through when the kick isn't playing).

And yes, this forum is fantastic. Lots of smart people here with quick answers.
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Old 10-11-2019, 02:31 AM   #9
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Okay, so, I gave this another try and I keep running into the same darn issue of the bass bleeding over to the kick track.

This is what I do:

01) I open the FX on my bass track and select ReaComp
02) I then drag the routing from my kick track onto ReaComp
03) I then changed the 'Detector Input' on ReaComp 'Auxilary Input L+R'
04) I adjust the 'Threshold' and 'Ratio' on ReaComp to taste
(AND IT WORKS PERFECTLY)

Then, it stops working. It normally seems to stop working after I press stop on the project and then press play again which should have no bearing over anything except stopping and starting the project playing. Either that or it just randomly stops to which is when I hear the bass pulsating louder with the kick instead of ducking. This has nothing to do with me having settings incorrectly on ReaComp, I am sure of it, because when it fails all of a sudden I have not altered any settings from when it was working in the first place. The YouTube video I posted above in this thread is pretty straight forward and simple and I have followed it to the letter of the law multiple times. Anyways, I said I would post back on my progress but unfortunately, there has been no progress.

EDIT: I just tried an external sidechain compressor and it did the SAME THING! Something weird is going on. Either there is one small but critical step I am missing or... I do not know.

Last edited by flatuswalrus; 10-11-2019 at 03:57 AM.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:00 AM   #10
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That's not how side-chaining works...

You are mixing your bass and kick tracks together and then detecting normally off that mix signal. Probably not going to have much luck doing such a thing.

The idea behind side-chaining is to have the kick drum hits automatically turn down (duck) the bass track at those moments. You keep the tracks separate the entire time - there's no pre-mixing in this. You need to send the side-chain source audio to different track channels of your bass track than the ones used for the output. 1/2 are normally used for your stereo output. Send the kick to track channels 3/4. Set the detector input in ReaComp on that bass track to 3/4.

That kick signal needs to stay in it's own separate channel in the bass track to be useful for this and to keep it out of the actual mix audio.

Now, why anyone actually likes the technique of ducking a bass from a kick track might be a better question but you didn't ask that.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:40 AM   #11
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Serr, when you drag from the kick onto ReaComp, as he did, that will automatically create channel 3/4 and route audio from kick's 1/2 to bass (i.e. reacomp) 3/4 for you. That said, he could have still mucked something up there, but in theory, that should work.

flatuswalrus, I mentioned this before, but are you using MIDI for your instruments? Or are these all wave files? If using MIDI (Ex., a VSTi) in any of this, make sure you turn off MIDI in the routing or weird results can happen!

Also, when you hit the 4 in 2 out button in the top right of ReaComp, make sure 3 is routed to Auxiliary L, and 4 to Auxiliary R, and 1 and 2 to Main Input L/R and L/R outputs.

Also, to check Serr's suspicion, ensure your kick is routing Audio from 1/2 to the Bass channel's 3/4 (and make sure that only the ReaComp instance is using 3/4 as input on the bass channel!).

You aren't doing something weird like accidentally automating the Detector Input?
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Old 10-14-2019, 02:58 PM   #12
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serr and nait, somehow your posts escaped my view on here. Thank you for the info, I am going to look into what you both said hopefully today or tomorrow.

nait, Yes I do use MIDI/VSTi instead of wave files. I followed my method to the letter as per instructions on a YouTube tutorial so if that person was using wave files then that may well be it, hopefully. I will let ya'll know.
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Old 10-14-2019, 03:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flatuswalrus View Post
serr and nait, somehow your posts escaped my view on here. Thank you for the info, I am going to look into what you both said hopefully today or tomorrow.

nait, Yes I do use MIDI/VSTi instead of wave files. I followed my method to the letter as per instructions on a YouTube tutorial so if that person was using wave files then that may well be it, hopefully. I will let ya'll know.
Yeah, I can't say that's the issue you were having for sure, but I do know I did the same, with the official tutorial video. I set up a side chain compression with MIDI involved. It took me a long while to figure out why weird things were happening. Namely, the kick MIDI will be sent to the compressed channel. So for example, if your kick hits on every quarter beat and plays "C4" on those quarters, your bass (or whatever you're compressing) will also play C4 every quarter note. That would probably give you the "pulsing" effect you're talking about, perhaps.
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Old 10-14-2019, 11:13 PM   #14
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Now, why anyone actually likes the technique of ducking a bass from a kick track might be a better question, but you didn't ask that.
Haha, yeah it would seem like a silly concept to many I am sure. It is not something I would want to do in a "normal" recording. However, despite techno type stuff being a genre I have personally never gotten into lately I have been writing a bit of Synthwave type stuff, just for fun. I find that whilst the bass ducking on the kick is not a signature move or even common practice in Synthwave it is utilised a bit in EDM. I find it has an interesting effect which can be successfully be transferred over to heavier Synthwave that has House music elements incorporated. I might create a new genre of music called Duckwave where every instrument is ducking every other instrument which will just sound like a low pulsating rumbled mess, I think the kids will love it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nait View Post
I set up a side chain compression with MIDI involved. It took me a long while to figure out why weird things were happening. Namely, the kick MIDI will be sent to the compressed channel. So for example, if your kick hits on every quarter beat and plays "C4" on those quarters, your bass (or whatever you're compressing) will also play C4 every quarter note. That would probably give you the "pulsing" effect you're talking about, perhaps.
I had a dog and his name was BINGO! That was it, just that one little step, or thing. I just changed MIDI to NONE and it works perfect. Thanks to all who replied but a big thanks to you nait for guessing or knowing the issue. It always seems to be one little thing that should seem obvious but your eyes avoid it whilst it stares you in the face.
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Old 10-15-2019, 06:23 AM   #15
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I had a dog and his name was BINGO! That was it, just that one little step, or thing. I just changed MIDI to NONE and it works perfect. Thanks to all who replied but a big thanks to you nait for guessing or knowing the issue. It always seems to be one little thing that should seem obvious but your eyes avoid it whilst it stares you in the face.
Glad to help! It would be nice if the videos out there point out to remove the MIDI routing if you aren't actually intending to route the MIDI.
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:43 AM   #16
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In Preferences, Track/Send defaults you can untick "Sends send MIDI by default" (it's ticked by default). Any new routing sends you set up will now default to "MIDI = None" :-)
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Old 10-15-2019, 09:06 AM   #17
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Good tip, thank you!
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Old 10-15-2019, 09:14 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by uncleswede View Post
In Preferences, Track/Send defaults you can untick "Sends send MIDI by default" (it's ticked by default). Any new routing sends you set up will now default to "MIDI = None" :-)
Thank you very much, I’ll definitely be utilising that option.
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