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Send/Returns...

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Send/Returns...

Postby JRocker » Fri Jul 03, 2020 7:28 am

Does anyone know if SOS or any online site have any tutorials for Send/returns/Sidechains for dummies? Something that makes it easy to understand and with diagram or photo examples (I use Cubase)? I've done some reading into this to try and understand but the subject still confuses the hell out of me. Everything I read seems to not be for a layman.
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Re: Send/Returns...

Postby The Elf » Fri Jul 03, 2020 9:02 am

When you create an FX channel in Cubase you've created a send /return. The FX send control in the source channels is the 'send' and the fader for the FX channel is the 'return'. That's pretty much it!

Side-chaining... Imagine you have a chord that is playing through a noise gate. When the chord plays the gate opens. Now imagine that instead of the chord itself opening the gate, you send a kick drum to a second input on the gate, such that the gate only opens when the kick drum plays. Each time the kick drum plays you will hear the chord. That's side-chaining.

If that's not enough I'm sure there are SOS tutorials that cover this stuff, so try some searches.
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Re: Send/Returns...

Postby Kwackman » Fri Jul 03, 2020 9:53 am

^^^^wot he said^^^

+ I think VST3 plug-ins have the easy "built in" side chain access button/routing.
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Re: Send/Returns...

Postby CS70 » Fri Jul 03, 2020 10:25 am

JRocker wrote:Does anyone know if SOS or any online site have any tutorials for Send/returns/Sidechains for dummies? Something that makes it easy to understand and with diagram or photo examples (I use Cubase)? I've done some reading into this to try and understand but the subject still confuses the hell out of me. Everything I read seems to not be for a layman.

Dunno, but side chain is not difficult. Imagine a mono effect box, which has normal input and output. Normally the box reacts to the input, processes the signal and places the result on the output.

Now imagine the box has another input (the "side chain" input) and you send a signal there: the box will still process the main input, but using the second input to control how. A side chain allows you to apply an effect on a signal based on an other ("side") signal.

So for example, if you have a compressor, normally the signal gets compressed when it goes over a threshold. If you're activating the side chain input, the signal will be compressed when the side chain input (not the original input) goes over the threshold.

Say you want to compress (reduce the volume) of a bass line when the kick hits:

- you put a compressor on the bass track to reduce its volume
- but if you just do that it will compress every time the bass goes over the threshold, even if there' s no kick
- but if the compressor has a side chain input, you can send the kick track to it..
- and the compressor will engage only when the signal _of the kick_ (i.e. the side chain signal) will go over the threshold: you are controlling the bass compressor behavior using the kick signal.

Plugins are effect boxes. Not all plugins have side chain inputs, but if one does (say the compressor above), once you place it on on a track (say the bass track), you will be able to send a signal from other tracks (say the kick track) to it - in other words, it will magically appear in the list of tracks/buses you can send to (wherever that it is in your DAW).

With some plugins you need to explicitly tell to use the side chain input instead of the regular one. For some others, it's enough that a signal is present on the side chain (i.e. is sent from someplace else).

The specifics on how to send a signal somewhere depend on the DAW, but all allow for it.
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Re: Send/Returns...

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:49 pm

JRocker wrote:Does anyone know if SOS or any online site have any tutorials for Send/returns/Sidechains for dummies? Something that makes it easy to understand and with diagram or photo examples

https://www.soundonsound.com/sound-advice/q-what-does-compressor-sidechain-do
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Re: Send/Returns...

Postby JRocker » Sat Jul 04, 2020 4:00 am

I appreciate the link to the SOS piece, but to be honest that is jibberish to someone who has no understanding of what it is and thus why I want something that exaplins it in layman's terms. It's not written for a beginner or explains exactly how to do it.
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Re: Send/Returns...

Postby Terrible.dee » Sat Jul 04, 2020 6:41 am

JRocker wrote:Does anyone know if SOS or any online site have any tutorials for Send/returns/Sidechains for dummies? Something that makes it easy to understand and with diagram or photo examples (I use Cubase)? I've done some reading into this to try and understand but the subject still confuses the hell out of me. Everything I read seems to not be for a layman.

Well, #1 They aren't the same thing.

Send return is like this: Say you are in the hospital and on an I.V drip. The I.V cuts into your bloodstream, before the needle, there's just blood. After the needle, there is blood and saline solution.

But cutting into the flow and adding something you changed the thing being sent down the pipe.

It's a little different in audio because the signal it's self actually or partially goes into the new line and come back altered.

Just think of this. Pipe of water, waters flowing along, somebody cuts into the pipe and installs another pipe that goes to a box of dirt then returns to the pipe. They have a valve on the new pipe that dictates the amount of water let in to flow through their dirt box.

Just think of it as hacking, you are hacking into your signal. On a straight send/return the entire signal is being rerouted into the dirt box before it comes back altered.

Does that make sense?

Sidechaining is where you let a different source trigger the action of a device on a track. Say you have a Bass. You put a compressor on that bass. But instead of the bass its self causing the compressor to act on it, you have "Sidechained" it to another device say a kick drum, not the KICK DRUM controls the compressor on the bass.

Sidechaining is also used in the de-esing. You might "sidechain" an EQ through a compressor.

Or anytime you want to be selective about the frequencies that trigger your device (Compressor, gate) You patch an EQ into the sidechain. This will not be sending your sound through the EQ, What it will be doing is attenuating the signal based on any frequency passing the threshold.

So, if you want to cut 5k at a certain point, patch an EQ into your sidechain and BOOST 5k

Now any 5k on your signal will trigger the, say compressor first, so you are taking certain instruments or vocals down at 5k strategically.

Also, some compressors come with a high pass sidechain filter. This is so you can ask it to ignore the more highly powered lower frequencies, say anything under 100hz, you would do this to avoid pumping.

Hope this helped.
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Re: Send/Returns...

Postby innerchord » Sat Jul 04, 2020 6:57 am

I think The Elf said it very well, in very few words.
But here's my example anyway, using a compressor:

Route/patch/plug a signal out of mixer into a compressor (SEND)
Connect the output of the compressor back into mixer (RETURN)

In NORMAL mode, the compressor 'listens' to and reacts to the signal coming in to it.
Plug a different signal into the side-chain input of the compressor, and it can 'listen' to THAT instead.

So...if the main signal is a voice, and the side-chain signal is a drum...

In normal mode, the voice is compressed when the VOICE level gets louder than the threshold.
In side-chain mode, the voice is compressed when the DRUM level gets louder than the threshold.

Any clearer?
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Re: Send/Returns...

Postby Music Wolf » Sat Jul 04, 2020 8:18 am

Does this make it any clearer?

Adding an effects channel (something like a reverb) means that part of the signal carries on as before but a portion is syphoned off to the effect, processed, then the resulting effected signal is re-combined with the dry signal further down the line at the mix bus. How much signal is sent to the effect is controlled by the 'effect send' control.

With an insert effect (say a compressor) the whole of the incoming signal is diverted to the effect,

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Re: Send/Returns...

Postby awjoe » Sat Jul 04, 2020 8:37 am

innerchord wrote:But here's my example anyway, using a compressor:

Route/patch/plug a signal out of mixer into a compressor (SEND)
Connect the output of the compressor back into mixer (RETURN)

In NORMAL mode, the compressor 'listens' to and reacts to the signal coming in to it.
Plug a different signal into the side-chain input of the compressor, and it can 'listen' to THAT instead.

So...if the main signal is a voice, and the side-chain signal is a drum...

In normal mode, the voice is compressed when the VOICE level gets louder than the threshold.
In side-chain mode, the voice is compressed when the DRUM level gets louder than the threshold.

That's the shortest, clearest explanation I've even seen. Prize.
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Re: Send/Returns...

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:41 am

JRocker wrote:...to be honest that is jibberish to someone who has no understanding of what it is and thus why I want something that exaplins it in layman's terms.

Perhaps some homework is required reading up on the basics of home studio principles. Ignore the title -- this really is a good primer:

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Re: Send/Returns...

Postby OneWorld » Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:49 am

JRocker wrote:Does anyone know if SOS or any online site have any tutorials for Send/returns/Sidechains for dummies? Something that makes it easy to understand and with diagram or photo examples (I use Cubase)? I've done some reading into this to try and understand but the subject still confuses the hell out of me. Everything I read seems to not be for a layman.

I too found the subject confusing but once you ‘get it’ you’ll wonder what all the fuss is about. As mentioned by others there are several sources of info, my preferred choice is YouTube, I tend to avoid U.S contributors as they tend to waffle a lot with “hey, ho, wass up etc etc etc” they seem to need a 10 minute video where we just need 5.

Before running the video get your daw set up. I have a blank template 8 midi tracks which will include a few VSTi, 8 Audio tracks and you will during the course of the video set up fx tracks.

The fx track is essentially the track that contains the processed signal sent from the VSTi. Imagine a hardware mixer with a guitar track/channel. The dry signal is sent out to an effect, the processed signal is returned to the mixer but to a separate channel, where it can be controlled independently, that is the equivalent of the fx track.

This is in contrast with an insert where in effect the processed signal is ‘injected’ into the track. But if you have several tracks that you want reverb’d instead of having several instances of a reverb effect set up, why not have one instance of a reverb running but several tracks being sent to that single instance, by way of the fx track you can still control the send level.
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