Ableton SideChain Compressoin?
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  1. #1
    Tech Mentor j1n's Avatar
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    Default Ableton SideChain Compressoin?

    Hi all, I have asked this on the abletonlivedj and I thought I mite as well ask it here for double the efficiency and knowledge.

    1. What is sidechain compression and how is it implemented from a production point of view?

    2. What is sidechain compression and how is it implemented for Dj use?

    I have a friend that is using Live for production and I personally use Live for Dj purposes and we are both curious can help us in our different paths. Any light that can be shed on this would be great.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Tech Guru jasonj's Avatar
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    Side Chaining from a producers stand point is to use a compressor with side chaining ability to use the signal from one source like a kick drum to push the volume or specific frequency down of another source like a bassline. This is also called ducking.

    Here is a video using AbletonLive6
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlyntTZgdyc

    Sidechain Tutorial

    Side Chaining from a dj stand point and Live is to use the same techniques but rather you are using material (Low / Mid / Hi) from one track to suppress the material of the other track. This has been dubbed SmartMixing.

    Moldover Vid featuring SmartMixing

    Moldover SmartMixing Smart Knobs Ableton Template

    Belvarios Smart Mixing Template for Ableton 6

    You will need this Slim Slow Side Chain Compressor for Belvarios Setup

    Bento's AbletonLive7 Smart Mixer
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  3. #3
    Dr. Bento BentoSan's Avatar
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    Sidechain compression is pretty much just an automation of a volume fader.

    Lets take a common production scenario: trying to get a ducking effect where the full bassline cuts away as the kick hits then comes back when the kick is silent.

    Put a sidechain compressor bassline and activate sidechain mode. Now as the key input select the channel that your kick is thumping in. Play with the ratio, threshold settings(read the manual to find out what exactly these do) and also the attack and release times.

    so now instead of a constant bassline going for example "OOOO OOOO OOOO OOOO"
    its now going"oOOO oOOO oOOO oOOO"

    Its also used as a trick to get the kick and the bassline to sit together better - sometimes(but not always) if a kick and a bassline is hitting at the same time the mix will sound a bit muddy as you have 2 sounds trying to dominant the low frequencies at the same time.

    The key is to only cut away at the low frequencies of the bassline while the kick is present - this way you get a really nice clean kick coming though the bassline but without such an audible pumping effect on the basline. Infact is sidechaining is done well like this you cant even hear the pumping effect the sidechain is having on the bass - it will just make the mix sound alot smoother and take out the muddyness.

    To do that you need to split the bass line up into 2 frequency bands and put a side chain compressor on just the low frequency band of the bassline. Consult my smart-mixer on how to do a colorless audio splitting(see my sig) to split those frequencies up into 2 without affecting the sound of the bassline doing the frequency split. Some people spend heaps of hours matching up EQ8's or filters unnecessarily(which still manages to color the sound), they need only learn inverting techniques to get quick high quality frequency splits.

    This is by no means a full tutorial on side-chain compression and is more just to help you get the concept

    I HIGHLY RECOMMEND READING THE MANUAL
    Along with reading the section in the manual about the compressor this should get you on your way to being able to effectivly use sidechaining

    For dj use mixing 2 songs with the smart-mixer is awesome - that is the best way to sidechain in a dj approach mixing songs. If your using individual tracks then the above more production style technique is pretty decent too - the 5 deck smartmixer i am working on i am basically trying to encompass every type of side-chaining technique that i have come across, then getting it to work with my "smart-cuing" technique. This 5 deck one is going to take some time to get right but the benefits will be well worth the effort
    Last edited by BentoSan; 07-09-2009 at 01:09 AM.

  4. #4
    Tech Guru charo's Avatar
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    just to add to what bento said,

    here is a clip about setting up sidechaining compression in fruity loops: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ud8FsMvdO1E

    it shows an example of sidechain compressing while showing how to set it up in fruity loops. it also shows what bento said first in his post: sidechain compressing is basically automating a vol fader. i think it is really important for new guys to understand this.

    also bentosan said "Infact is sidechaining is done well like this you cant even hear the pumping effect the sidechain is having on the bass - it will just make the mix sound alot smoother and take out the muddyness."

    i would just add that sometimes it is that pumping effect that people are going for when they use sidechain compression, check out daft punk or french house music uses this alot!

  5. #5
    DJTT Moderator Dude Jester's Avatar
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    I'm playing around with this technique in fl 8 atm. you can also use it on the offbeats as well e.g make a long pad seem to swell by using the hats with the sidechaining.
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  6. #6
    Tech Mentor j1n's Avatar
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    sucks i cant see the damn youtube links. But I will forward all this info to my producer pal and see if he can make sense of this. Thanks for all your input so far guys.

    @Bento - What is a manual?

  7. #7
    Tech Guru Monika.mhz's Avatar
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    Just to clarify.

    All Ducking is sidechaining.

    But not all sidechaining is ducking. (Ducking is the term that's used to describe the french house sound.)
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  8. #8
    Tech Mentor j1n's Avatar
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    Gosh damn it, if only youtube wasnt gg censored things would be so much easier!!! Thanks for yalls help...will try to read up more on this

  9. #9
    Tech Guru Monika.mhz's Avatar
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    Learning what compression actually does to the audio will be useful.
    I recommend this book time and time again...
    Yamaha Sound Reinforcement Handbook
    Monika.mhz - I do things. Also stuff.
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