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Let's Discuss Ducking Automation

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by Studdy, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. Studdy

    Studdy Member

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    How many people here are doing ducking automation? Here are some examples.

    1. When the verse vocals start the guitar bus and automated down a couple db's.

    2. Ducking the entire mix a db when vocals are present.

    3. Ducking the rhythm guitars during a solo.

    Aside from automating / leveling tracks themselves, most of my faders are generally static if tracked right. I find most of my "ducking" comes naturally from compression but i've been noticing in some mixes almost obvious automation to make room for things.

    I know that we could just say "whatever the track calls for" but thats boring. lol

    Thanks, curious to hear opinions.
     
  2. bryan_kilco

    bryan_kilco Member

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    I'm also curious. I mix as a hobby and demo purposes and have done very minimal automation.

    To my ears, I never liked the way a sudden drop or boost on volume sounded. This is also most likely why my mixes are usually flat and lifeless. :lol:
     
  3. mva801

    mva801 Member

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    Yeah, ducking certain things certainly helps. I remember checking out the stems for that As I Lay Dying mix that came with one of their deluxe editions, and when listening to the rhythm guitars alone, it was QUITE obvious that Colin had ducked them when a lead or the vocals came in. With the mix together it was pretty seamless. It's important to do it the right amount in the right place, and do it with the whole mix running. Also make sure you smooth out the automation. If you leave it a drastic jump the ear will notice it. A quick but gradual decrease/ increase helps a bit.

    The more I mix though, the more it's obvious that automation is everything. If you ever have the problem that at times, something seems to sit perfect, and at other times it gets lost, but just turning the fader up and down keeps you running in circles, AUTOMATE THE SHIT OUT OF IT.
     
  4. Studdy

    Studdy Member

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    Was he ducking only during vocals and then back up. Or ducking the entire part? What i mean is, did he duck the verse riff completely or only just when there was vocals. So up, down, up down, each and every word/phrase. multiples time per verse?
     
  5. mva801

    mva801 Member

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    The whole part. And it was initially where some leads cam in. I think it would get a little too "roller-coastery" if you get ducking them in and out after every line of vocals. I'd think you'd be better off doing it per song section.
     
  6. AudioGeekZine

    AudioGeekZine arsehole know-it-all

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    You can automate but sometimes it's smarter just to sidechain compress. Once in a while there's a guitar melody that needs focus unless the vocal is going at the same time. a couple dB of compression with slow release triggered by the vocal can work really well.

    Not much else to say.
     
  7. Daybreak

    Daybreak Member

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    I like to sidechain pretty wild in my mixes. Especially on the rythm guitars, so they duck in just the region they need to when the vocals kick in. Easy way to clean up a mix, and you don't really notice that frequency range in the guitars disappearing since the vocals fill it up pretty good.

    I also like to automate section by section. Automate rythm guitars, vocals, lead guitars and bass grit/dist. That's how I do it at least!
     
  8. TRUIE

    TRUIE Member

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    Nothing ground breaking, but I automate down a lot the levels of :
    - 2nd pair of L/R guitars when quadtracking, to dose the "quadtrack effect" depending on the section
    - rythm Guitars bus as a whole, to leave some space for a lead part or harmonie/additional guitars if needed. I think this one makes a lot of difference and help to focus the listener ear on what you judge is the most important guitar-wise on the section. You can also combine it with the previous one, when quadtracking rythms.
    The benefice of this is even more noticeable/audible when you start to squash your mix when mastering.
    - bass dist track, to make some parts cleaner than others and clean a bit the mids when needed.

    Sometimes, depending on the music and tracking, I also use sidechain compression to do the classics :
    - duck the bass from kick hits
    - duck the guitars from snare hits
    - duck the vocal reverb return from dry vocal track (so that the reverb/tail become more noticable everytime the vocal stops).
     
  9. FrankTheSmith

    FrankTheSmith Member

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    This sounds magical
     
  10. AudioGeekZine

    AudioGeekZine arsehole know-it-all

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    Yeah that is a great trick. Works great when there is space. Probably not for metal production
     
  11. heshian46

    heshian46 Member

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    I do this in almost all my mixes.
    - Duck the rhythm guits during a thick vocal arrangement
    - Duck the rhythm guits during a lead part
    - Duck the low end of the kick during a fast double bass run

    I usually shy away from sidechain compression, but only because i have little experience with it, not because its inferior by any means.
     
  12. Studdy

    Studdy Member

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    I've also experimented ducking certain frequencies only.

    Example. Cut a touch of 3khz from guitars when vocals come in. Not sure i like it but im still experimenting.
     
  13. heshian46

    heshian46 Member

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    If its done right, and not to excess, it can really help make more room for vocals when needed.
     
  14. szymon

    szymon Member

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    I do that a lot as well. I'm a bit crazy while automating, and I automate a lot of stuff. Rythm gtrs come down 1-2db when vocal or lead comes in (i also duck some "cut-through" frequency for that; 2 or 3 khz depending on needs - even 1 dB down makes a big difference); I automate drum eq and compression during fast parts (so they are quieter in the end), in fills also; I duck the low end of either bass or kick on fast parts too.
    I don't really duck whole mix during vocal parts. i quite do the opposite - guitars are 1-2db down, but bass and drums are even louder. That creates a nice vibe, especially on choruses (and again: just a 1-2 db louder, so you more feel it than actually notice it).
    Using a 2buss compression is handy - it automatically tames the whole mix during lead or vocal parts.
     
  15. melovine

    melovine Member

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    What's the easiest way to automate eq in logic?
     
  16. spencerlogan

    spencerlogan Member

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    this guy is going over midi for the most part, but I'm sure same principles can apply to eq.
     
    #16 spencerlogan, Feb 28, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2015
  17. mharwood

    mharwood Member

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    Use it a lot for the standard guitar duck when the lead vox are running. Other than that, I haven't gotten into it much, but I really like the reverb vocal tail idea. Need to try that sometime.
     
  18. Heabow

    Heabow More cowbell!

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    I'd love to hear that! You talk about 'Upside Down Kingdom', right? Where could I get these stems?
     
  19. amarshism

    amarshism Member

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    if i actually give a damn about a mix everything is being automted all of the time
     
  20. ExecutiveRob

    ExecutiveRob Silent City Studio

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    I automate the crap out of everything.

    Side-chaining certain instruments into compression, keyed from the element you want to be up front, can be a very useful way of getting some extra clarity.
     

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