Old 06-10-2012, 12:41 AM   #1
t_muraoka
Human being with feelings
 
t_muraoka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 35
Default I don't get something about side-chaining a compressor

I've been recording a lot of singer/guitarists recently and have bunged a side-chained compressor on the guitar, that responds to the vocal track i.e. when the musician is singing, the compressor kicks in and drops the guitar's volume.

But something about this doesn't quite make sense: when the singer is singing quietly, the compressor will only quieten the guitar a bit, but if the singer is loud, the compressor will squash the guitar down more. Isn't the opposite of what you would want i.e. when the singer is quiet, compress the guitar more, to make more room for the vocal? Have I mis-understood something about how to set up a side-chained compressor?
__________________
Using Reaper with wild abandon @ The Bear Bar (Chiang Mai, Thailand)
Tutorials, songs and other goodness @ SaxSensei.com
t_muraoka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2012, 12:57 AM   #2
Nip
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sweden
Posts: 1,418
Default

You can use an expander if you want that. That's opposite of compressor. Some plugs have both included.

On an expander when volume goes below a threshold, gain increases.

As you describe it I would adjust playing the guitar differently in more soft vocal zones. Just adjusting volume will not sound the same.

And for this I would not use sidechaining at all. You need long release times not to get pumping effect of guitar in between words.

For a frase of words it's better to use automation on volume.

Just my view...which you did not ask for
__________________
----- Windows 7 Pro x64, i7-860 2.8GHz 16G, RME HDSP 9632+Ai4S+Audient ASP800, Reaper 4.7 x64 -----
Nip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2012, 01:41 AM   #3
planetnine
Human being with feelings
 
planetnine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Lincoln, UK
Posts: 7,585
Default

Ideally, you even out the vocal first with item gain, automation, compression, etc, and even out you guitar sound too (don't expect this technique to make up for vocal level deficiencies).

Sidechain compression is then used to "make room" a little for the vocal, and allows you to turn the guitar up more than you would be able to without the sidechaining "dips" -and still be able to hear the vocal cut through.

This technique is also about headroom, volume and frequency range "sharing". The louder the vocal phrase, the more of the available headroom is needed for it, and the more the guitar needs to be reduced. This will be important to the balance of the song in the final mix and master.

The usual idea is to compress the guitar and adjust the release so that this works, but you can't hear the guitar sound pumping. Some modern music production styles embrace this pumping, so it's up to your music style and your taste.

>
planetnine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2012, 09:32 AM   #4
t_muraoka
Human being with feelings
 
t_muraoka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 35
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by planetnine View Post
Ideally, you even out the vocal first with item gain, automation, compression, etc, and even out you guitar sound too (don't expect this technique to make up for vocal level deficiencies).

Sidechain compression is then used to "make room" a little for the vocal, and allows you to turn the guitar up more than you would be able to without the sidechaining "dips" -and still be able to hear the vocal cut through.
Yes, this is what I've been doing and it seems to work pretty well. My philosophy is that the guitar should fill up all of the available space, then you sit the vocals inside that, and the guitar backs off to make a bit of space for it.

I was just thinking about how things work from a theoretical point of view and it seemed like the compressor was working the wrong way around (greater compression when the vocals are loud). But I guess whatever works... :-)
__________________
Using Reaper with wild abandon @ The Bear Bar (Chiang Mai, Thailand)
Tutorials, songs and other goodness @ SaxSensei.com
t_muraoka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2012, 09:30 AM   #5
Schmidty
Human being with feelings
 
Schmidty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Baltimore
Posts: 585
Default

I pretty much only side chain compress on low frequency stuff (primarily ducking the bass and kick hits) and try to sort the rest out with better mixing/performing/fader automation, whatever else, but if you don't have the option to re-track the guitars, with the vocals taken into account, and they keep stomping on each other in the mix, Reaper has a feature built into Reagate and ReaComp to create a constant level ducker.

1) Drop ReaGate in after the last plugin.

2) Set ReaGate to output on ch 3/4.

3) Set wet and dry to -120 and bring the "Noise" fader up.

4)Create a send to the guitar track from 3/4 on the vocals to 3/4 on the guitar.

5) Put ReaComp o the guitar track and set it to reference 3/4

This setup basically sends a noise burst anytime the vocals are present (or above the gate threshold). Since it goes out at a constant level, when you side chain off of it, the side chained compressor gets the same level no matter what level the vocals are actually at, so you get the same amount of gain reduction every time, as well as preventing any pumping on the guitar compressor.

If you wanted to get REALLY crazy with it you could add another instance of ReaComp after ReaGate, side chained of the vocals as well, then send it over to the guitar, then when the vocals are loud the noise is softer (less compression on the guitar), and as the vocals get quieter the noise will get louder (more guitar compression) until the vocals drop below the gate threshold, at which point the noise will go away ant he guitar will come through uncompressed.
Schmidty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2012, 10:08 AM   #6
KevinW
Human being with feelings
 
KevinW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Dayton, Ohio USA
Posts: 1,714
Default

Another neat trick (that I have yet to try) described by Mike Senior in his book "Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio" is to put a gate as a send effect, send the guitar on 1/2, send it the vocals on 3/4, and invert the polarity. So when the vocal signal is present, the gate will open and let the guitar through, but it will be opposite polarity to the actual guitar track. In theory, if you mix the send effect at the same level as the guitar track, you will get complete cancellation. So don't do that - just lower the level of the send to get the gain reduction you want when the vocal is present.

BTW, I can't recommend that book strongly enough. I have read it multiple times, and constantly refer back to it as a reference book.
KevinW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2012, 04:53 AM   #7
dumant
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 175
Default

Another trick that I have been using once is to use ReaGate side chaining capabilities to ensure that the compression applied to the guitar is based on the guitar sound itself:
- use a track with 6 channels
- "duplicate" the guitar sound to channels 3/4
- add a gate taking channels 3/4 as main input, and channels 5/6 as aux input
- send the vocals to channels 5/6
- tune the gate so that it opens when the vocals are present.
- add a compressor for ch 1/2, and have it side-chained using ch 3/4

When the singer sings, the gate opens, and the compressor can work, but it uses the guitar sound to determine the amount of compression, not the vocals. It has the same result as engaging a (non side-chained) compressor through automation only when the vocals are present, but it may be faster to set-up.

This may help in some situations, when standard side-chaining is un-natural because the vocals and the guitar have too different dynamics.
dumant is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:18 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.