sidechain / ducking reverb - dedicated compressor for that?
andrewsc
Thread Starter
#1
24th February 2011
Old 24th February 2011
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
sidechain / ducking reverb - dedicated compressor for that?

Hello,

I was wondering if someone can provide insight as to whether sidechaining / ducking reverb is common practice in techno nowadays. It seems like something I’ve hear often in more modern tracks.

I suppose sometimes reverb could sound like it’s being sidechained / ducked as a result of master bus compression, so I suppose that’s a possibility?

Anyway, I’m curious to know , for people that use hardware and do this kind of music, do you have a compressor dedicated to ducking reverb? If you use software I’m curious to know if you have a compressor dedicated to ducking reverb as well.

Thanks!

Example of techno style I'm thinking about (may not be the best example of the ducking reverb sound itself though):
Concrete DJs - Big Legz
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdqAIc-OcYA
AvS
#2
24th February 2011
Old 24th February 2011
  #2
AvS
Lives for gear
 

I didnt listen to your link, but yeah id say it pretty comon these days to comp/sidechain reverb. Masterbus compression would not give the same result at all imo and is in general not the way get a pumping/ducking effect.

I personally use a dedicated software comp for making reverbs pump.
#3
24th February 2011
Old 24th February 2011
  #3
Gear Head
 
Byron Pierce's Avatar
 

definitely second+ on dedicated reverb sidechain
#4
24th February 2011
Old 24th February 2011
  #4
Gear addict
 

So do you run the reverb first then the compressor with the S/C?
#5
24th February 2011
Old 24th February 2011
  #5
Gear maniac
 

I find when I sidechain the track before the reverb it sounds more airy and light. When the sidechain is after the reverb it tends to sound blockier and cloudier (which I like less as an effect, but sometimes will use).

As a sidenote, when is my browser's spellcheck going to accept "sidechain" as a word already?
andrewsc
Thread Starter
#6
25th February 2011
Old 25th February 2011
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
Thanks for the thoughts so far.

I was thinking that in a typical situation, you may have, say, some synth riff that has a compressor on it that is ducking the kick. This synth riff may have some reverb on it and it you may want the reverb to duck the kick as well.

From what I can tell, the most flexible or optimal setup would be to have 2 separate compressors for that situation. One compressor dialed in a certain way to do the the ducking on the synth, and the a separate compressor dialed in a slightly different way to do the ducking on the the synth's reverb.

I suppose you could duck both synth and reverb at once with one compressor but ducking seems to require fairly precise settings for the best groove according to the sounds at hand so I'd think that would be less flexible and less nuanced sounding, compared to the 2 compressor setup.

In terms of hardware and worklflow, having a compressor dedicated to ducking for a hardware reverb would basically help workflow and give a more accurate picture of the music, when compared to not having the extra compressor available. Not being able to compress/duck the reverb during the initial recording phase, would mean not hearing the final sound at first, then having to go back and apply that ducking to the reverb in a second take.

With a hardware reverb that has analog and spdif outs, you could capture the ducked reverb and unprocessed reverb via spdif, along with the synth riff, all at once when recording. Either way its nice to keep the flow of ideas moving along by saving time by not having to go back and reprocess long stretches of audio on a second take when you don't have to.

I figured the master bus compression probably would have to be very strong to make the reverb sound quieter, but sometimes the ducking is subtle to begin with so it can be hard to tell.

#7
25th February 2011
Old 25th February 2011
  #7
Gear maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewsc View Post
Thanks for the thoughts so far.

I was thinking that in a typical situation, you may have, say, some synth riff that has a compressor on it that is ducking the kick. This synth riff may have some reverb on it and it you may want the reverb to duck the kick as well.

From what I can tell, the most flexible or optimal setup would be to have 2 separate compressors for that situation. One compressor dialed in a certain way to do the the ducking on the synth, and the a separate compressor dialed in a slightly different way to do the ducking on the the synth's reverb.

I suppose you could duck both synth and reverb at once with one compressor but ducking seems to require fairly precise settings for the best groove according to the sounds at hand so I'd think that would be less flexible and less nuanced sounding, compared to the 2 compressor setup.

In terms of hardware and worklflow, having a compressor dedicated to ducking for a hardware reverb would basically help workflow and give a more accurate picture of the music, when compared to not having the extra compressor available. Not being able to compress/duck the reverb during the initial recording phase, would mean not hearing the final sound at first, then having to go back and apply that ducking compressor in a second take.

With a hardware reverb that has analog and spdif outs, you could capture the ducked reverb and unprocessed reverb via spdif, along with the synth riff, all at once when recording. Either way its nice to keep the flow of ideas moving along by saving time by not having to go back and reprocess long stretches of audio on a second take when you don't have to.

I figured the master bus compression probably would have to be very strong to make the reverb sound quieter, but sometimes the ducking is subtle to begin with so it can be hard to tell.

It's nice to hear people's thoughts on how to go about it!
I realize now that my 1st answer wasn't exactly what the TS was looking for. ITB, if you put the reverb on a bus then you can sidechain the reverb separately. As a side note, you can play with a different kick as your sample for the sidechain for the reverb. Sometimes a thinner kick will let the reverb pop back up more quickly. Conversely, a thicker kick will make it seem like it's coming from thin air (which could be neat).

As well, only ducking every other kick (ie, the one without the snare) gives more of a boooom ksssh feeling.

I'm sure others have more specific and detailed answers, but I love these types of questions/ideas.
#8
25th February 2011
Old 25th February 2011
  #8
Software guy here. Currently my ducking tasks are handled by Elysia Mpressor (more flexiblity/feature) or Waves API 2500 (great/unique sound). Besides the features/sound what lead me to use those two was the VST3 support on Cubase, which makes the necessary routings very easy and fast to set up. If you're looking for just plain "ducking", basically any compressor with external sidechain support is suitable and I'd totally use Cubase/Logic/Reaper stock compressors if I had no other options.
andrewsc
Thread Starter
#9
25th February 2011
Old 25th February 2011
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
By ducking I guess I mean ducking, pumping, whatever variations on that action. EQ over the sidechain key input signal provides alot of control. I like the half time kicks into the sidechain idea.

For a sidechain key input signal, I tend to use a shorter kick with a high pass filter on it to remove the boom aspect for faster reaction time. The way the kick decays, say linear vs exponential fade out makes a difference, especially on longer kicks. Very short sidechain trigger signals, such as a metronome click or highpassed cowbell can be used and may allow for some strange attempts at effects with fast attack / release settings to act, but they may not sound quite right compared to a kick type of signal.

Hardware reverb I'm using is mainly a Kurzweil Rumour and tried ducking on it with a Drawmer DL251 vs FMR RNC vs TL Audio C1. Since the Rumour is balanced device, the DL251 is balanced seems to have the most flexible control and a good sound so that's a match. FMR RNC sounds ok but is unbalanced (less gain) which seems less than ideal sonically and has less control features and is not as smooth in some settings. TL Audio C1 has a very nice tone and response, but most likely want to use it for non ducking tasks.

In actuality there may likely be yet another 3rd compressor involved doing a non ducking task, just evening out the initial synth tone to begin with. 3 compressors, may seem like over-thinking it, but hey there is a reason for everything I guess.

Software would probably be convenient, the mpressor log release did seem to be a very nice feature.
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