• Side chain compression : Frequency specific approach for low end clarity

    Low frequency is always one of the toughest to handle. Your room sometimes trick you (will explain in different video) or your monitors are not capable of projecting clear low-end to you.

    The low-end clutter usually occurs between kick and bass, two very low frequency dominated instruments that tend to fight for the same space. Usually, you don’t wanna lose heavy bottom punchy kick, and at the same time you want to keep the bass to be nice’n’boomy as well. In one of Pensado’s Place episodes, mixer Jaycen Joshua explained his technique on clearing out the low-end in his mixes (that hits billboard top 10 all the time!) to solve the low-end cluttering. The trick is… the side-chain.

    Side-chain compression to avoid low-end clutter

    There are some compressors out there that can listen to the key signal for side-chaining, so the compressor reacts only when the key hits the device. Used a lot for “pumping” type of effect in most of EDM and pop tracks but because this changes the feel of the track completely, (and you hear the ducking pretty dramatically) you don’t want to use this technique all the time.

    Two solutions here.

    -Splitting a track to two or more tracks-

    I once explained in a video how to isolate a track by frequency range to multiple faders so you have control over those separately. If you have done this and have two or more faders for one sound, all you need to do is to insert a compressor on the low-frequency track and compress a lot, keyed by kick. Doing so will duck the low frequency from the bass only when kick hits. You don’t hear the ducking effect as much because more audible higher frequency is still present.

    -Using Multiband Compressor-

    Another technique is the one from Jaycen Joshua, to use multiband compressor instead of splitting the track. If you left the bass track in single fader, or they way you split isn’t simple “low-mid-high” situation, you can use multiband compressors. There are not many out there that let you use key-input for individual range (i.e. side-chain only on low-end, etc.). One I use is Wave C6. (It’s on sale for next 48hours so grab it before it ends!) Check out the video for the details, but basically you select the range you want to compress, and tell that specific frequency range to listen to the key so it only reacts when kick hits. Great thing about this plug-in, is that you get to use other frequency ranges as normal compressor.

    Try and see what you think about this and leave a comment below.


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