Ducking, also known as Sidechain Compression, is lowering the volume of sounds to make space for another sound.
Some example uses of ducking are:
- Lowering the volume of the bass to create space for the kick.
- Lowering the volume of synthesizers and other sounds (that roughly correspond to the vocals frequency-wise) to create room for vocals.
Although ducking is a widely applied technique in any EDM genre, it is most commonly heard in House and its derivatives.
Sidechaining is usually achieved by adding a "Compressor " (or similar) plugin instance to whichever track you want to sidechain. You'll have to select an input track, then tweak the threshold and ratio so that the amount of ducking is just right (It works just as if you had a compressor on the input track, however the actually compression/lowering of volume is applied on a different track - in this case the track hosting the sidechaining plugin.)
- Ableton Live: A common method to sidechain (or "duck") sound in Ableton Live is by using the built-in Compressor plug-in (click the arrow in the upper-left corner to show the Sidechain section.)
- FL Studio: In FL Studio sidechaining is often done by using the sidechain option in the mixer track and using it in conjuncture with Fruity Limiter
- Reason : Run the signal to be ducked (usually a kick) into the Sidechain input of an MClass Compressor . Run the signal that will be ducking (usually a synthesizer) through the Input/Output of the same MClass Compressor .
- Logic Pro : The standard compressor that comes with Logic has a side chain option in the top right corner of the compressor's interface. To sidechain a track, send the "trigger" track (kick drum for example) to an open bus. Logic has a habit of creating a new aux track whenever you bring up a new bus, so be sure to mute/delete this aux or else it'll generate sound. Next set the input of the side chain on your compressor to the bus from your trigger track, and the chain should be working