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vocal ducking

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myszka1266 +

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vocal ducking
Hey people so i've got this vocal line with a saw synth, kind of "super sawish", underneath it and the sawy synth keeps ducking at certain parts as the vocal line is playing over the top. I've tried eq'ing, compressing, ducking certain frequency's and have gotten nowhere. I'm now stumped and have come here for the expertise. Can someone help please? Thanks
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I'm confused to what you want to do, or don't want to do.

You want STOP the synth from ducking the vocals?

Compress both parts (ie. use channel inserts) to taste individually BEFORE mixing them together.

The vocals won't duck if there's not a compressor over it (ie. across the main mix bus) that's also seeing (hearing) the synth.
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yeah i want to stop it. to describe it further id say it sounds like theres a low pass filter automatically cutting the synth when the vocals hit certain points in the "chorus". The peaks of the vocals? And i don't quite understand what you mean with compressing both parts. i have them both individually compressed, then sent straight to the master. do you mean to parallel compress the each part? I'm using ableton by the way
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how close are you to 0db on both channels?

How close are they EQ range wise?
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Quote:

Originally Posted by myszka1266 View Post

yeah i want to stop it. to describe it further id say it sounds like theres a low pass filter automatically cutting the synth when the vocals hit certain points in the "chorus". The peaks of the vocals?

If the vocals are modulating the synth, then either:

1) The compressor on the synth is being fed a signal directly from the vocal, or the main mixes output, into its sidechain key input.

2) There's a compressor or limiter sitting on the main mix bus that you don't realise is there.

3) You've hit the limits of your audio system and it's no longer able to get any more level through when the peaks hit.


Quote:

Originally Posted by myszka1266 View Post

And i don't quite understand what you mean with compressing both parts. i have them both individually compressed, then sent straight to the master. do you mean to parallel compress the each part? I'm using ableton by the way

Nah, nothing too complicated. What I was getting at is, don't compress the main mixer output, rather compress each part with its own compressor. That way each part is compressed already before being mixed together, meaning each parts peaks will have been levelled out, and neither will be pumping a compressor across the main mix, simply because there isn't a compressor across the main mix.

Now, I'm not suggesting one shouldn't place a compressor across the main mix, only if one channel is pumping another, then that immediately suggests both are feeding into the one compressor, typically being on the main mix (unless you've got some other tricky sub-mix bus going on), and so to fix the problem at the source, that is iron out the level inconsistencies before bringing the sounds together. Then end result can sound more upfront and even, while the sounds will stop pulsing off the back of each other - unless you want them too, then you can thrown the compressor back across the mix (or submix) again.
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Quote:

how close are you to 0db on both channels?

How close are they EQ range wise?

The vocals are at 0db, chords at -10db and the EQ rage are close but i tried putting dips and taking out frequencies and still have had no luck.

Quote:

If the vocals are modulating the synth, then either:

1) The compressor on the synth is being fed a signal directly from the vocal, or the main mixes output, into its sidechain key input.

2) There's a compressor or limiter sitting on the main mix bus that you don't realise is there.

3) You've hit the limits of your audio system and it's no longer able to get any more level through when the peaks hit.

I tried turning all the effects off and even everything on the master channel and its still "filtering". i also tried turning off the side chain channel and that had no effect either, as well as freezing the tracks.

Quote:

Nah, nothing too complicated. What I was getting at is, don't compress the main mixer output, rather compress each part with its own compressor. That way each part is compressed already before being mixed together, meaning each parts peaks will have been levelled out, and neither will be pumping a compressor across the main mix, simply because there isn't a compressor across the main mix

each channel has its own compressor already and the master, none are going to a sub mix, there both going straight to the master. its really wired. also sorry for the late reply

Last edited by myszka1266: 09-Jun-12 at 08:48am

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I use saw synths in pretty much every tune I write and have had similar problems in the past. I usually find it is due to having too many channels hitting too close to 0DB. Are you using a clean or effected vocal signal? Either way, I would suggest you pull everything down in volume. Get the vocal channel down away from 0DB and have it pushing no higher than -3DB. It may require you to change your whole mix but it will make your compessors and other effects work better as well. If you are happy with the clarity and evenness of the compressed signals on their own I would say you are overloading certain frequancies at times when they play together, causing the synth to get lost. Sometimes you need to be pretty brutal with scooping the mids/highs out of saw synths to allow room for vocals but you need to decide what's more important? You need to keep as much highs in the vocal as possible to ensure clarity so maybe dropping the octave of the synth or choose a different harmony to seperate the 2 sounds might help. If you drop the octave on the synth and lose that screaming effect we all love add some mild distortion and boost the highs on the effect until it sits nice without drowning the vocals again.

Check a couple of my tracks on soundcloud... do a search for Sergeant Smythe.

Hope this makes sense and helps a little.

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@Sergeant Smythe
Thanks for a in depth answer. i've reduced the vocals and synths that i felt where effecting the vocals and its sitting much nicer now. also did some massive scoops and thats helped. thanks for the help and i liked your track as well got anymore on the way?
http://soundcloud.com/myszka
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