Question: side chain compression' what, why and how

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ligeti
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Question: side chain compression' what, why and how

Post by ligeti » Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:26 pm

Hello.

Can someone please explain to me what side chain compression' is, why it's useful, and if one is using a DAW (in my case Cubase) how do I create a side chain.

Thank uou

Magnetic Services
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Re: Question: side chain compression' what, why and how

Post by Magnetic Services » Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:33 pm

The "what" and "how" you can easily find with a quick search. Basically, it's a way to trigger a compressor on one track with signal from another track. How you set it up depends on which plugin you're using.

As for the "why," many people use sidechain compression to help certain tracks stand out in a mix by compressing other tracks. For example, dance music often features a compressor on the bass track sidechained to the kick drum. This way, each kick drum hit compresses the bass track, allowing the kick to come through clearly every time. Sidechaining is also useful for making lead vocals and instrumental solos poke through walls of guitars and such.

Just be sure to listen critically when setting your compressor controls. It can go from being a cool effect to an obnoxious distraction very quickly with the wrong settings. You'll know.

Hope that helps!

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losthighway
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Re: Question: side chain compression' what, why and how

Post by losthighway » Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:10 pm

Another, subtler reason to do it, is if you want to eq what it's responding to. For example if you have some drum thing where one overbearing cymbal, or low drum boom is upsetting some otherwise cool sounding track. You set up the compressor so the natural track is being effected, but the compressor is responding to an alternate version of the track that has a radical eq, emphasizing the offending element. Then the compressor is responding to the eq'd track, but effecting the normal one and theoretically reducing the unwanted presence which you actually emphasized in the channel that you sent to trigger it.

This is harder to think about than it is to do, and I don't often find I need it, but there are some interesting possibilities. I like side chaining gates even more.

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digitaldrummer
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Re: Question: side chain compression' what, why and how

Post by digitaldrummer » Fri Sep 11, 2020 6:59 am

To complicate things further, in some plugins (I'll use the Slate Digital VBC as an example) there is a variable high-pass filter that feeds the side-chain (but does not HPF the entire audio output) -- and it's all internal to the plugin - so you don't have to create an external key. The benefit is that you just adjust the HPF until you get the compressor/limiter reacting to just the right amount of low-end, which is great on a master bus.
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Re: Question: side chain compression' what, why and how

Post by joninc » Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:18 pm

in cubase the native compressor and gates have a little toggle to enable the sidechain. Once that is turned on then you can use an aux send from any other channel to send to that comp or gate.

this is fancy, sophisticated mix stuff so if you are relatively new and it seems hard to get - i wouldn't worry about it. It's a common trick in EDM production but not as much in live instrument type stuff.
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Re: Question: side chain compression' what, why and how

Post by Nick Sevilla » Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:20 pm

"Side chain" compression is when you have a compressor afect a track, while being triggered by another track.

As others have mentioned examples... I will only give you the one I use.

On drumkits.

I use a SEND to another auxiliary track, that has this compressor on it.

I might send the entire drumklt, or only parts of it I want emphasized in the mix.

Mostly, used to bring out the decay part of the drums, making them seem bigger than
they otherwise would be.
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A.David.MacKinnon
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Re: Question: side chain compression' what, why and how

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:27 am

Nick Sevilla wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:20 pm
"Side chain" compression is when you have a compressor afect a track, while being triggered by another track.

As others have mentioned examples... I will only give you the one I use.

On drumkits.

I use a SEND to another auxiliary track, that has this compressor on it.

I might send the entire drumklt, or only parts of it I want emphasized in the mix.

Mostly, used to bring out the decay part of the drums, making them seem bigger than
they otherwise would be.
Now that is a great idea. I often have a parallel compression bus going for drums but I've never thought about side chaining it to the dry tracks. Must give it a shot.

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