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A Real Life Scenario of Sidechain Compression

If you have ever listened to commercials on television, music will be playing loud, but when a person starts talking, the volume suddenly ducks just underneath their voice. The vocals become very prominent, and on top of the music, but when they stop talking, the music volume slowly rises back to normal volume; nice and loud. Something most people are not aware of, but allows you to hear clarity on the most important parts, the words!

They achieve this with side-chain compression, and a slower release on the compressor.

In part 3 of this side-chain compression tutorial series we cover:

  • Side-chaining while creating loops!
  • Making Vocals stand out against other instruments!

Vocal and Instrument Clashing

You’ve tried everything to get this vocal to stand out. You’ve figured out it’s this one synth that is causing the clarity of the vocal from cutting through, but when you EQ it, it’s taking away from the sound you like.

Using side chain compression to duck the synth, when the vocal is played, can put the synth underneath the vocal for clarity. And when the vocal stops talking, the synth will come back louder!

Many times very little is needed, but with this digital age, try lots to see how you like it, then dial it back to taste ;).

That’s it! — Part 3/3 of the Series is Complete!

Alright, so I hope that breaks down side-chain compression for you. As you’ve seen, there’s lots of different ways to use side-chain compression, not just in dance, and not just in broadcast radio/tv. You may now start to hear in all these song, “Oh.. they’re using sidechain compression there to get that pump!”.

It’s a very powerful tool, is used way too much, but the sound does not get tiring. Head back to Part 1 to see how to set up the side-chain compressor!

Enjoy!

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