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What is a good basic ducker plugin?

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What is a good basic ducker plugin?

Postby DC-Choppah » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:45 am

What is a good plugin for ducking when mixing? Something I can use to duck the snare reverb by say 6 dB when the snare hits and crosses a threshold. I know I have conjured this up before using some convoluted patch that I probably read about in an SoS post, but I would rather just have a ducker plugin and not think about it. Is there one out there?
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Re: What is a good basic ducker plugin?

Postby Jack Ruston » Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:14 am

The compressor in your DAW. Just send the snare to the sidechain and adjust threshold and ratio for the amount of ducking you require. I'm not quite sure what more a dedicated ducking plug in would offer.
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Re: What is a good basic ducker plugin?

Postby HKPotential » Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:33 am

agreed. most DAW's come with a compressor that has sidechain ducking. Those are the best ones. FL Studio has a special peak controller that gives you sidechain and LFO adjustments easily controllable by midi if you want that extra freeform control.
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Re: What is a good basic ducker plugin?

Postby Scramble » Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:45 am

If you want a real ducker rather than just a compressor with side-chain then there's not many options, but possibly one is the SV-719 gate from Sonalksis, which has a ducking mode. It's 80 Euros. I do have this but have never tried the ducker to see if it's a true ducker, and the sparse amount of material in the manual doesn't enlighten me.

By 'true ducking' I mean reducing the level of the target signal by a fixed amount, eg. 4db, when another signal reaches a threshold, rather than reducing the level of the target signal by a variable amount depending on how loud the control signal is. The former is what gets used in radio when DJs speak over a track -- the idea being that you want the track to be reduced by a fixed amount while the DJ speaks, and not vary in volume depending on how loud the DJ says each word.

I've always thought that a ducker would be a good software project to do for someone who has the skills. Give it a simple interface which distinguishes it from a compressor. Include a 'Reduce by' button.

(I've noticed that there are some bits of software around that call themselves duckers, but which aren't).
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Re: What is a good basic ducker plugin?

Postby Jack Ruston » Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:10 am

The mpressor plug in has a gain reduction limiter. That would let you fix the reduction to a specific amount.
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Re: What is a good basic ducker plugin?

Postby sambrox » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:11 am

Slightly off topic, but could one not use a noise gate/expander with a side-chain to implement 'true ducking'?
Example : Logic's noise gate can be set so that the Gain Reduction parameter shows eg. +3dB, instead of -3dB on the track you want to duck. Then set the side-chain input source and the appropriate threshold, so that the ducked track is boosted 3dB when the input source isn't sounding. Then reduce the ducked track's fader by 3dB. Hey presto..?
Not near my computer at the mo', so can't see if it works.

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Re: What is a good basic ducker plugin?

Postby Scramble » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:22 am

sambrox wrote:Slightly off topic, but could one not use a noise gate/expander with a side-chain

Actually, the Sonalksis SV-719 unit I mentioned is a gate/expander, with ducking function. (I'm also at work so can't have a look at it, but I do remember that it wasn't obvious how to use it, and as the manual as poor I never got around to investigating the ducker).
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Re: What is a good basic ducker plugin?

Postby sambrox » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:23 am

Sorry, should have said "any old noise gate/expander"
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Re: What is a good basic ducker plugin?

Postby chris... » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:44 am

Scramble wrote:If you want a real ducker rather than just a compressor with side-chain
For the uninitiated, what's the difference...?
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Re: What is a good basic ducker plugin?

Postby HKPotential » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:13 pm

chris... wrote:
Scramble wrote:If you want a real ducker rather than just a compressor with side-chain
For the uninitiated, what's the difference...?

Do you mean the difference between compressor and a compressor with sidechain? The sidechain requires you to route it to another signal so whenever that signal is picked up by the sidechain it will duck depending on the set threshold and the compressor will recieve the routed signal rather than compressing the main signal.
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Re: What is a good basic ducker plugin?

Postby chris... » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:29 pm

HKPotential wrote:Do you mean the difference between compressor and a compressor with sidechain?

Hi, no worries - I know what a sidechain compressor does.

However, now I re-read Scramble's post, I see what he means: " the track to be reduced by a fixed amount while the DJ speaks, and not vary in volume depending on how loud the DJ says each word.".
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Re: What is a good basic ducker plugin?

Postby Scramble » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:33 pm

chris... wrote:For the uninitiated, what's the difference...?


[Edited as I just saw your later post!]
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Re: What is a good basic ducker plugin?

Postby chris... » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:36 pm

Ta!
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Re: What is a good basic ducker plugin?

Postby Scramble » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:38 pm

Personally I just use automation whenever I want ducking. Want the guitar reverb down by 2db during the chorus whenever there is singing? Draw an automation curve for the reverb level in those sections.

But I can see that for some things you might want to do with a ducker that method would be very laborious.
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Re: What is a good basic ducker plugin?

Postby HKPotential » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:07 pm

Well it all depends on what you actually want to use the ducker for. Do you want to duck the bass to the kick, or the chords underneath the vocals. Either way, just make sure that whenever you want to do some type of sidechaining, dont overcompress and make sure you assign different sidechains if you want to sidechain more than one thing or else there will be a whole lot of mush in your sounds
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Re: What is a good basic ducker plugin?

Postby sambrox » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:37 pm

chris... wrote:
Scramble wrote:If you want a real ducker rather than just a compressor with side-chain
For the uninitiated, what's the difference...?

Scramble explains a bit further on in his post, but it might not be obvious.

A compressor turns down the signal it is affecting by a set ratio divided by the amount of signal passing the threshold. Eg. a compression ratio of 4:1 and an amplitude of 4dB above the threshold will give an output signal of 1dB above the threshold level, effectively reducing the original level by 3dB. An amplitude of 8dB above the threshold though will give an output signal of 2dB above the threshold level, reducing the original level by 6dB.

What Scramble means by true ducking is a process by where any level above the set threshold will reduce the signal by the same amount. So, if a reduction of 3dB is desired, as soon as the original signal amplitude is greater than the threshold, the level will be turned down by 3dB, regardless if the amplitude was 4dB above the threshold or 8dB (respectively giving output signal levels of 1dB greater than the threshold and 5dB).

Bit difficult to explain, but I hope you get my point, haha!

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Re: What is a good basic ducker plugin?

Postby Mixedup » Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:03 pm

All of which is why the Mpressor plug-in that Jack mentioned is useful: you can set a limit to the amount of gain reduction applied by that compressor. Feed it via an external side-chain and there you go - instant ducking by a fixed amount.
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Re: What is a good basic ducker plugin?

Postby andy cross » Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:37 pm

Or, for a VO + bed, with the VO ducking the bed from level A to level B:
- Duplicate bed track, set this to level B
- Adjust original bed track level so the two tracks sum to A
- Use a reverse gate sidechained from the VO to gate the original track, leaving a level B bed under the VO.
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Re: What is a good basic ducker plugin?

Postby sambrox » Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:06 pm

Oops, managed to miss the fact that both Scramble and Chris had already cleared that up! Sorry about that.

Mixedup wrote:All of which is why the Mpressor plug-in that Jack mentioned is useful: you can set a limit to the amount of gain reduction applied by that compressor. Feed it via an external side-chain and there you go - instant ducking by a fixed amount.


Yeah I got that. Still wondering if you couldn't achieve the same thing with any common-or-garden noise gate/expander with a side-chain...?

andy cross wrote:Or, for a VO + bed, with the VO ducking the bed from level A to level B:
- Duplicate bed track, set this to level B
- Adjust original bed track level so the two tracks sum to A
- Use a reverse gate sidechained from the VO to gate the original track, leaving a level B bed under the VO.


Ah, yes! I'd forgotten about that technique. Another variation would be to again copy the bed track, phase invert the copy and side-chain gate it via the VO, then set the fader on the copy until the desired attenuation is achieved while the VO is sounding.

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Re: What is a good basic ducker plugin?

Postby DC-Choppah » Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:49 am

Thanks. The mpressor sounds like the best option. And I already have it too. Just never understood that it had this function. Cool!

Musically, I like the sound of ducking the snare drum's own reverb. It allows the use of a big snare reverb but keeps the drum up front no matter how hard the drum is hit.

I know I was able to get a certain sound when I used a fixed level drop (not just a triggered compressor) but it required one of the convoluted patches that eats up channels and hurts my brain and makes me lose track of what I'm doing.
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Re: What is a good basic ducker plugin?

Postby planetnine » Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:54 pm

As already said, a ducker is a settable fixed reduction processor, slightly different from a s/c compressor, the choice merely depends on the material and your preference. I've used Drawmer 201s in ducker mode for this in a live situation and they're great -tune the attack and release as well as the sensitivity and range for smoothness.

The gate in REAPER's included suite does this, and you can download an "all-DAWs" version of this for free...


>
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