Help understanding sidechaining workflow

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Rothgarr
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Post 23 Apr 2021

Howdy. I'm trying to wrap my head around sidechaining to help make mixes less muddy and less clippy.

As I understand it (from the few videos I've watched), you want to plug kick drum into bass, so the bass gets muted while the kick is playing.

But what's the strategy when you have, for example, a kick/808 sub-bass/low pad. Would you plug the kick into the 808 and the 808 into the low pad so that the priority is:

kick > 808 > low pad

I guess I'm just trying to figure out how whole songs are done. And is the only way to do it by manually creating/moving the plugs on the rear of the rack? Or is there some easier workflow or rack/VST that makes it more visual?

Thanks!

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Loque
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Post 23 Apr 2021

I think the kick is always the most dominant, but you can do what you like.

What can be more visual than having cables?
:reason: 11, Win10 64Bit.

Rothgarr
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Post 23 Apr 2021

Loque wrote:
23 Apr 2021

What can be more visual than having cables?
i guess what I mean is, having the equivalent of an org chart where you see everything that's plugged into the mixer and can drag and drop priorities and seeing them all on one screen at a glance (rather than having to view a rat's nest on the back of the rack and scrolling up and down, etc.)

Was just curious.

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Billy+
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Post 23 Apr 2021

I personally use pump its easier to setup you can use the effect how you like it's easier to visualise and control.



Rothgarr
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Post 23 Apr 2021

Billy+ wrote:
23 Apr 2021
I personally use pump its easier to setup you can use the effect how you like it's easier to visualise and control.


That's neat. I guess it's faking it by running that Pump pattern? I imagine that really only works with four on the floor or simple beats.

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Billy+
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Post 23 Apr 2021

Trial it for 30 days.

It has different rates and can be triggered via the back (gate input), so I'm confident that you should be able to use it the way you want.

If not then try picking different bass sounds and arrangement with the kick and eq etc to create the space your after with the mix.

But try it, it's free to try....

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integerpoet
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Post 23 Apr 2021

Is it just me or does it seem there's a decent chance that pumping wasn't the goal? Me, I was hoping for a nuanced discussion of not ruining the 808's integration in the process of making it and the other bass-heavy sounds individually discernible. Or maybe the goal was to glue a separate kick onto the 808 seamlessly. Because I bet I'd learn from something like that. But pumping? From my perspective that's something painful to be avoided, though as I have mentioned elsewhere I am a zombie who died 400 years ago, so there's an outside chance I am not the hippest person in the room.

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stillifegaijin
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Post 24 Apr 2021


deeplink
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Post 24 Apr 2021

I like to have a bus that's side chained to the kick. Anything I want to duck I just send it to that bus

PhillipOrdonez
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Location: Colombia

Post 24 Apr 2021

It sounds like op is after genre specific techniques. I don't know anything about trap music (guessing that's it cause what else tells solely on 808 bass?) But the way I mix, I only duck the sub, so I either use dynamic EQ or pump but only in the sub. Trackspacer is brilliant though I don't have it, but it probably is what op needs.

From the little I understand of that kind of music, you don't really want the while thing to duck when the kick plays, so I imagine either only the sub is ducked or alternatively only the top part of the kick is heard and the 808 sub stays, at least when they play together.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, If it's only a kick and a pad, kick gets sub duties priority. Kick and 808? In trap music? The priority isn't so clear cut, at least to me coming from an outsider's perspective.
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nickb523
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Post 27 Apr 2021

This may or may not help you!


Tiny Montgomery
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Post 28 Apr 2021

deeplink wrote:
24 Apr 2021
I like to have a bus that's side chained to the kick. Anything I want to duck I just send it to that bus
Yes. Its fun to use Pump RE on this but triggered, not running freely, and just refining the envelope on it to taste.

Edit: Billy already said this sorry
Last edited by Tiny Montgomery on 28 Apr 2021, edited 1 time in total.

Tiny Montgomery
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Post 28 Apr 2021

nickb523 wrote:
27 Apr 2021
This may or may not help you!

Nice channel Nick, got you doing your lofi ambient noodling while I work :thumbs_up:

deeplink
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Post 28 Apr 2021

Does anyone else consider using Sweeper to sidechain?

You can draw the envelope yourself
You can set it to run free or to be triggered by external input
Use to volume mod to create the sidechain
Optional use of the filter to create a highpass sidechain

WarStar
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Post 28 Apr 2021

Two things youd have to do or what's typically done.. 1) you want you're kick to be in tune with your 808 2) your kick needs to be all attack and no sustain. Very quick and punchy. If there's too much sustain in your kick it can make the release on the compression a little wonky in terms of side chaining the 808. And of course you want extremely fast attack and release with the side chain compressor, then dial in how much gain reduction you need to make the mix of kick and 808 sound as seamless as possible.

As far as kick to 808 balance with side chaining, the 808 level should be the same level as kick transient, or slightly below kick transient. Let's say your kick all by it's self has a max level of -10 so your 808 level should also be -10 or slightly below to allow kick to punch just a tad more.

Also, you can set up your side chain with a eq filter before input into the compressor. If you need to duck just the subs of the 808 put a eq or hipass filter before side chain input. With an eq just lower all the frequencies above 200hz or so and same if using a hipass filter as well. Play around with the slope of your filter to dial in smooth transition. This will enable you to duck a certain group of frequencies instead of ducking the entire signal of the 808.
I would also still suggest two small eq dips on the 808, no more than 2-4dbs, at the primary low frequency transient of the kick and the secondary transient of the kick. So in addition to ducking 808 with side-chaining make a eq cut on the 808 at roughly 40-50hz and another at 80-100hz, making even more room for the kicks primary and secondary transients to poke through. Also, roll off some of the subs on the kick as well but make sure to use make up gain when you do roll off the subs or your 808 to kick levels will all be off... no need to roll off the subs of the 808. (You can also dial back the attack on the 808 just a tad which will create at tad more space for the kick to sit)

Now route both signals into a 808/kick bus and put on a master compressor to glue the two together, dial in attack so just the kicks transient pokes through with about a 1-3db gain reduction, then set the comps release to fully release and go back to zero before the kicks next transient hits.. gives you a little more bounce when you dial in the release.

Lastly, make a parallel Channel from your 808/kick bus and put some saturation on the parallel channel. I'd recommend either Pulverizer or Scream or what ever distortion you like. Mix to taste. Put some ear-buds in and pay attention to how the saturation on the parallel channel pokes through to make the bass more audible on small speakers, specifically the 808..

I've tried using Pump RE and it's pretty good.. it's really a gate anyhow. I don't really like working with it though with cv and I don't stick to 4-4 on the floor kick snare kick snare. If I remember, the release on the Pump is super fast which is good for this type of ducking.

Forgot to mention, you may need to use lookahead on your compressor to duck the 808 quickly so the kick transient doesnt fight with with the 808 in those few milliseconds.

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Oquasec
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Post 29 Apr 2021

Sidechaining is sorta like sends and returns.
The return track has the effect on it and the other channels can be hooked up to the return track to receive the effect, in this case the pumping from the compressor being routed from the return track to the send sections.
---
In theory you can sidechain your reverb.

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Ottostrom
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Post 29 Apr 2021

WarStar wrote:
28 Apr 2021
If you need to duck just the subs of the 808 put a eq or hipass filter before side chain input. With an eq just lower all the frequencies above 200hz or so and same if using a hipass filter as well. Play around with the slope of your filter to dial in smooth transition. This will enable you to duck a certain group of frequencies instead of ducking the entire signal of the 808.
Thanks for this great practical explanation about how to mix your 808 and kicks together!
Although I don't typically make music which include a lot of 808 it's still really valuable info :)

One thing I got confused with is the part I quoted from your post.
If we're talking about a normal compressor like the MClass I don't think this statement is true. The side chain input signal will indeed go into the compressor as a signal without any high frequency content, but that doesn't control what kind of frequencies will get ducked from the source. The only way to achieve this effect would be to split up the bands of the 808 and only side chain the lower one, or use a device specifically built for this like Trackspacer.

WarStar
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Post 29 Apr 2021

Ottostrom wrote:
29 Apr 2021
WarStar wrote:
28 Apr 2021
If you need to duck just the subs of the 808 put a eq or hipass filter before side chain input. With an eq just lower all the frequencies above 200hz or so and same if using a hipass filter as well. Play around with the slope of your filter to dial in smooth transition. This will enable you to duck a certain group of frequencies instead of ducking the entire signal of the 808.
Thanks for this great practical explanation about how to mix your 808 and kicks together!
Although I don't typically make music which include a lot of 808 it's still really valuable info :)

One thing I got confused with is the part I quoted from your post.
If we're talking about a normal compressor like the MClass I don't think this statement is true. The side chain input signal will indeed go into the compressor as a signal without any high frequency content, but that doesn't control what kind of frequencies will get ducked from the source. The only way to achieve this effect would be to split up the bands of the 808 and only side chain the lower one, or use a device specifically built for this like Trackspacer.
Actually this does work.. basically a compressor can't compress something it can't detect... So if all you send to the side chain input is the sub frequencies then compressor will only act on those frequencies. It's kinda weird but once you think about you'll see what I'm saying. So more or less, you're not compressing any of the higher frequency content of the 808 because the compressor has only been sent the sub frequencies...

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orthodox
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Post 29 Apr 2021

WarStar wrote:
29 Apr 2021
Ottostrom wrote:
29 Apr 2021


Thanks for this great practical explanation about how to mix your 808 and kicks together!
Although I don't typically make music which include a lot of 808 it's still really valuable info :)

One thing I got confused with is the part I quoted from your post.
If we're talking about a normal compressor like the MClass I don't think this statement is true. The side chain input signal will indeed go into the compressor as a signal without any high frequency content, but that doesn't control what kind of frequencies will get ducked from the source. The only way to achieve this effect would be to split up the bands of the 808 and only side chain the lower one, or use a device specifically built for this like Trackspacer.
Actually this does work.. basically a compressor can't compress something it can't detect... So if all you send to the side chain input is the sub frequencies then compressor will only act on those frequencies. It's kinda weird but once you think about you'll see what I'm saying. So more or less, you're not compressing any of the higher frequency content of the 808 because the compressor has only been sent the sub frequencies...
I am a little confused. Which frequencies? Let's clarify things:
1) The compressor's main input is fed with a 808 signal.
2) The compressor's sidechain input is fed with a kick signal, filtered or unchanged, or it does not even matter what else.
Now whatever filter you apply before the sidechain input, it cannot change the tonal balance of the output. How can it duck only the sub frequencies of the 808 then?
Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise. -- L.Carroll

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Ottostrom
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Post 30 Apr 2021

WarStar wrote:
29 Apr 2021
Actually this does work.. basically a compressor can't compress something it can't detect... So if all you send to the side chain input is the sub frequencies then compressor will only act on those frequencies. It's kinda weird but once you think about you'll see what I'm saying. So more or less, you're not compressing any of the higher frequency content of the 808 because the compressor has only been sent the sub frequencies...
I'm sorry but this is not true. I could duck the sub frequencies of a 808 by sending a pure 15 kHz sine wave to the side chain input (which I did before writing this just to be sure) since the only thing that matter is the volume, not the frequencies.

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selig
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Post 30 Apr 2021

Rothgarr wrote:
23 Apr 2021
Loque wrote:
23 Apr 2021

What can be more visual than having cables?
i guess what I mean is, having the equivalent of an org chart where you see everything that's plugged into the mixer and can drag and drop priorities and seeing them all on one screen at a glance (rather than having to view a rat's nest on the back of the rack and scrolling up and down, etc.)

Was just curious.
I think a flow chart is more common in the audio routing world since it is not fixed like an org chart. Meaning primarily that it can show things such as on/off switches and alternate paths such as pre/post sends etc.
I’m a fan of nodal interfaces as used in DaVinci Resolve and Blender, and have long thought inserts and Combinators could be alternatively shown this way - but it would require an entirely new interface convention for audio vs CV I/O, and would have to have room to label all I/O etc. - not a perfect solution by any means, just an alternate. I would design new DAWs this way, but I don’t think it makes real sense to change Reason this boldly at this point in time.

For one, the results would potentially end up exactly as “rats nest” prone as the current method because you would be showing exactly the same number of connections - and to make matters worse, you would be able to move devices around even more freely in 2D space potentially marking the information even less consistent between setups. And more importantly you would loose the conceptual connection to the front panel devices, arguably one of the best features of Reason IMO.
TL/DR: A well designed flow chart/node system can be handy but isn’t easy to create, and a cluttered nodal display is just as confusing as a rats nest of cables (in software AND in the real world).
https://www.cined.com/davinci-resolve-n ... ps-tricks/
Selig Audio, LLC

WarStar
Posts: 162
Joined: 17 Oct 2018

Post 30 Apr 2021

orthodox wrote:
29 Apr 2021
WarStar wrote:
29 Apr 2021


Actually this does work.. basically a compressor can't compress something it can't detect... So if all you send to the side chain input is the sub frequencies then compressor will only act on those frequencies. It's kinda weird but once you think about you'll see what I'm saying. So more or less, you're not compressing any of the higher frequency content of the 808 because the compressor has only been sent the sub frequencies...
I am a little confused. Which frequencies? Let's clarify things:
1) The compressor's main input is fed with a 808 signal.
2) The compressor's sidechain input is fed with a kick signal, filtered or unchanged, or it does not even matter what else.
Now whatever filter you apply before the sidechain input, it cannot change the tonal balance of the output. How can it duck only the sub frequencies of the 808 then?
Yes.. that would be the set up but I would put a lowpass filter, or eq which ever you prefer, on the kick signal going into the side-chain of the compressor... So kick to lp filter to side-chain input of compressor.
So basically whats being done, and its definitely more genre specific, you're creating a filter like you would see on a compressor that has a side-chain filter, ie let's leave the low end alone so it doesn't make the rest of the track pump by making the compressor only react to the higher frequencies and thus only compressing the higher frequencies.. so essentially you can make a a lp/hp filter on any compressor that has side-chain input... Does that make more Sense?

You can even make your own multi band compression chains this way but it's more time consuming than just having a multi band compressor...

Isn't there multi band compression Master Efx combinators ? Just flip it around and see how it's routed...

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orthodox
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Post 30 Apr 2021

WarStar wrote:
30 Apr 2021
So basically whats being done, and its definitely more genre specific, you're creating a filter like you would see on a compressor that has a side-chain filter, ie let's leave the low end alone so it doesn't make the rest of the track pump by making the compressor only react to the higher frequencies and thus only compressing the higher frequencies.. so essentially you can make a a lp/hp filter on any compressor that has side-chain input... Does that make more Sense?
Not really. How does the compressor know it's reacting to higher frequencies (on the sidechain input)? And how can it selectively compress different frequency bands in the main input-output path? Unless it is a multiband one or does an FFT on the inputs, that's impossible. It can only control the input-to-output gain, preserving the tonal balance.
What you are suggesting can be done by splitting the input (808) with a crossover and compressing/ducking one band (with the kick on the sidechain) and then merging the bands together. That's what a multiband compressor does.
Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise. -- L.Carroll

WarStar
Posts: 162
Joined: 17 Oct 2018

Post 30 Apr 2021

orthodox wrote:
30 Apr 2021
WarStar wrote:
30 Apr 2021
So basically whats being done, and its definitely more genre specific, you're creating a filter like you would see on a compressor that has a side-chain filter, ie let's leave the low end alone so it doesn't make the rest of the track pump by making the compressor only react to the higher frequencies and thus only compressing the higher frequencies.. so essentially you can make a a lp/hp filter on any compressor that has side-chain input... Does that make more Sense?
Not really. How does the compressor know it's reacting to higher frequencies (on the sidechain input)? And how can it selectively compress different frequency bands in the main input-output path? Unless it is a multiband one or does an FFT on the inputs, that's impossible. It can only control the input-to-output gain, preserving the tonal balance.
What you are suggesting can be done by splitting the input (808) with a crossover and compressing/ducking one band (with the kick on the sidechain) and then merging the bands together. That's what a multiband compressor does.
I'm Not always the best at describing things but this article explains it pretty well...

https://www.audiotechnology.com/tutoria ... -filtering

WarStar
Posts: 162
Joined: 17 Oct 2018

Post 30 Apr 2021

Think of how a desser works...Selig would know about that. His RE is superb desser

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