Hi, I´m Jonas from the Recording-Blog and if you can´t make your vocals sit on top of the mix maybe this little trick will do it for you Welcome back to “Behind the tracks” and today I´ll answer this question: Soulagent79 wants to know: “Yes, …. ” that means he´s answering my question “Do you want to know somethinh specific?” “Yes, i´d like to know if sidechain-compression is also good for other styles than dance or electro-music?” The answer is: Yes indeed and that leads me directly to my new cover of “The Kings of Leon” and their Song “Sex on fire” I´m doing it for my music-only-channel “TheMusicMan”. Go and check out the link here above me if you like to So this is my new cover and it is a very dense mix although there are only 5 Instruments Drums, 3 guitars and a bass-guitar but the guitars are very present and don´t leave much room for the vocals And here´s sidechain-compression a wonderful tool to get in favour of an effect we all know from the annual parish fair I´m talking about ducking. Every time the animateur of a carussel is talking, the level of the music drops, so you can hear his talk and if he stops talking, the music raises back to it´s original level and this can easily be done with sidechain-compresion, but first you´ll have to prepare your mix! I normally try to mix through busses. At least I have two busses, one for all instruments and one for all vocals So here, too, is my music-only bus called “Mukke complete” – Bus 8 – and all my instruments are routed to it: Drums, Bass, and the guitars light compression on it and the bus-output leads to my main Stereo-Out with my mastering-chain and the other bus is Bus 9. All my vocals are routed to the vocal bus here So if you´re done with this, you are able to regulate the level of the music with your vocals and this is done with sidechain-compression. So first we need a compressor for our music-only-bus This is logics compressor and here you can easily assign the sidechain-input of it Usually a compressor is triggered by the signal it is fed with. If the signal´s louder than the threshold, it get´s compressed If you´re not familiar with what I´m talking about, just take a look at my mini-series “Compressor basics” – link here above me I tell you all about the parameters of a compressor there and show you, how a compressor sounds when active Oh wait, a cough, … sorry, let´s move on. So here we are talking about sidechain-compression, that means, the compressor is now triggered by the sidechain-signal – here our vocals – The vocals force the compressor to compress everytime the vocals are louder than the threshold Therefor I set some basic compressor-parameters: small ratio of 2:1, a fast very attack and a not too quick release-time You should adapt the release time to your main-signals character to avoid obvious pumping I set the threshold to a value, which leads to a compression of not more than -2db That´s a lot if you listen to it without the vocals, so be careful. Maybe we have a listen to it without the vocals! You´ll hear the gain-reduction and see it at the needle Ups, I have to turn it on … OK, you can clearly hear the gainreduction of about 1 – 2 db, but that´s not a problem, cause with vocals you won´t recognize it Together with the vocals it´s not that obvious. On the contrary the vocals stand much more upfront the playback. Again, here it is without and with the compressor: Pumping in a range of 1-2 db is not critical, cause the vocals are clearly more upfront the playback So this is an easy way to let your vocals always be 1 – 2 db upfront the playback In this special case it´s working good, cause I´m singing longer, legato-like notes, stakkato-single-notes are more problematic, cause the pumpig then is more obvious to our ears In this case the method would be less effective. But there is a similar, more filigrane method to even work with that! and for that we´ll exchange the compressor, which is compressing the whole frequency-range, with a multiband-compressor The multiband-compressor is 4 compressor in one. One compressor for each individual frequency-range Here are 4 bands, one until 150 ht, next goes up to 1khz, next to nearly 7 khz and one for the highs above 7 khz! Every single band is independent from the others. If you compress the high mids, it doesn´t mean, the bass get´s compressed, too It is definetly more versatile when compressing 4 indiviudal bands, a very powerful tool and you should learn how to use it. But for us now it has to be sidechain-compatibel – and this one is not … 🙁 No “Sidechain-Option ” here at my pointer … In this case I had to move to a third-party plugin and the big advantage of a multiband-compressor is, that it doesn´t have to compress the whole signal, just a small individual band For us now this is very good, cause it helps to bring our vocals more upfront the mix A normal compressor compressing the whole signal might be audible at some point The mix looses some of it´s punch and low-end, cause the bass is compressed, too But a multiband-compressor can reduce the dynamic of the frequency-range, in which all instruments are very active. Especially guitars, the snap of snare/kick and the Hihat! So if you achieve that single-band-compression triggered by a sidechain, then you are done! The vocals stand in front of the mix without lossing some punch in the lows for the complrete Song That´s, what I set to the Fabfilter PRO-MB I chose a frequency range between 1,8 khz an 6 khz So in this range there are a lot instruments struggeling So again here´s the sidechain set to Bus 9 (Vocal) and it makes our vocals change the loudness of that EQ-band, but not the others! Let me mute the vocals, the sidechain is still working, so have look at the needle! and although I compress more than 3db, the signal seems to be more intact compared to a normal compressor. This is what it sounds like without the vocals: Again, I´ll have to turn it on! OK, the pumping is much more reduced although it keeps the punch of the track! When I add the vocals, it´s even more obvious, cause they sound more upfront the mix: Here is with … Wonderful, I´ll do it again. Once without and once with the Pro MB and especially listen to the HiHat Without the PRO-MB, HiHat and Vocals seem to fight against each other But with Pro-MB and active sidechain the HiHat moves backwards and clear´s space for the vocals! At first without: And with … Fascinating. A sidechain-controlled Multiband-Compressor moves your vocals to the front in a dense mix! In mono it´s even more important, cause we have no additional benefit by placing our instruments in the panorama! So in mono our trick is nearly priceless! Please press thumbs up, if you like this video and sub for free! Hope to see you again next week, bye bye and Jassu!