Side-chains – Ducking music using voice – Finicky and powerful use of Reacomp – Part of How to Reaper for the Blind

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Side-chains – Ducking music using voice. A finicky and powerful use of the Reacomp compressor

Note on my system: For this demo I used Reaper 6.42 and Voiceover on Big Sur on Mac.

Wait, side what? Is that something I’ll ever need?

Maybe, maybe not.
but chances are that at some point you will need to know how it’s done. If you work with spoken word production, you most certainly will need that skill.
Yes, there are other ways to accomplish the same effect as the one I will demonstrate here. Those I will demonstrate in other tutorials. There are gates, there is automation, there is manual item gain. I’ll show how to do all of those in future posts.

Here’s the deal

it’s not about one method is better than any other. it’s all about what works for you, your workflow, and your particular production and sometimes need for speed.
This approach is a really quick way of making one track control the volume of another. As long as you know how it’s done it’s a matter of a few minutes. Set it and forget it for a decent result.

And that’s the only preamble I will allow this time.

Listen to the demo

Or download the mp3. If download doesn’t start, do Ctrl Opt. M and select save linked file.

Notes:

Note that this demo is created on a Mac. It does mention all the relevant shortcuts but still assumes basic knowledge of Voiceover.
A note on demos and tutorials: Some of my demos are created quickly because someone needed a demonstration quickly or an answer to a question while in a bit of a panic. This means that production and editing can be minimal or non-existent. It also means that they don’t go into depth and do not cover all options or related issues.
For questions and demo requests, send me a note using the contact link up above.

If you love what I do and want to make sure i keep doing it, feel free to
Buy me a coffee!
Jenny K. Brennan

Get started with the compressor in Reaper. Reacomp Quick and Dirty- Part of How to Reaper for the Blind

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Getting started with Reacomp – Reaper’s stock compressor. Let’s just do it.

Note on my system: For this demo I used Reaper 6.42 and Voiceover on Big Sur on Mac.

What is a compressor anyways?

Oh, now you’re putting me on the spot.

To put it simple, an audio compressor brings the quiet up and the loud down. It can control peaks and bring out subtleties. A compressor can colour the sound in various ways. A compressor evens out performances. A compressor can be used as a gate, a limiter, a leveller, a drastic effect, a subtle touch, in a side-chain to control other tracks in various ways.

Yup, piece of cake. Couldn’t be simpler, right?

Okay, I give. Here’s the deal.

I don’t intend to explain what a compressor actually does and exactly how it does do it.
You can find thousands of blogs and videos that can do that. I’ve heard too many of those and the art of using compressors still feels like a little bit of magic sometimes.
I just want you to start using it. You need to hear it working, realize that it’s not such a big deal. That yes, it can be a complicated bit of audio magic but that if you don’t get your hands dirty you’ll never understand the power you have beneath those fingers. Theory can only take you a fraction of the way of understanding compressors.
There are guidelines and starting points and recommended settings. But no one, not even seasoned professionals, can tell you what is right for your track.
And I truly mean that. There is no magic bullet, no instant solution, no fast and hard recipe for a great sound.
The most common question I hear from beginners trying to use a compressor is:

…but nothing is happening! I don’t know what all these numbers mean. I tried all the sliders but nothing is working….

Sounds familiar?

Listen to the demo. Follow along in your own project. The best way to learn is to do!

download the mp3. If download doesn’t start do Ctrl Opt M and select save linked file.
Important: This demo assumes that you are comfortable using voiceover on mac. Few shortcuts are mentioned here. To navigate in the plugin standard Voiceover nabigation is used i.e Ctrl plus Option plus arrow keys. Reaper specific shortcuts are listed below.

Shortcuts and other notes:

Note that this demo is created on a Mac. For this specific plugin, the operation of the plugin interface is unnecessarily complicated compared to the same plugin on a windows machine. The numbers and parameter names are the same and the result will inevitably always be the same as long as all parameters are the same. Just keep this in mind. As I have no experience in using Reacomp with Reaper on Windows I am not able to explain the differences.

Shortcuts and actions:
Delta mode is not mapped to a shortcut by default. I recommend you do that. F4, type “delta”, hit the add button and add a hotkey of your choosing.
When in the track list:
P opens the parameter list.
If there are multiple plugins on a track, P first shows the list of plugins. Select one and hit enter to open the parameter list for that specific plugin.
B bypasses all plugins on the selected track.
F opens the ad plugin dialog for the selected track.
If there are plugins on the track already, F opens the plugin list, also called the FX chain., for that track.
When in theFX chain:
Shift command B bypasses the selected plugin.
F2 renames it, Delete removes it.
You can copy and paste plugins within the current track’s FX chain or even between tracks. .
And the last important shortcut to know: Shift Opt Command page up or page down moves the selected plugin up or down in the FX chain.
But don’t take my word for it. Always remember F4 and F12 for the action list and shortcut help respectively. These keys are your friends.
And for those paying attention, why not use the parameter list entirely? It seems like it could be easier to deal with.
Good question.
Honestly, I could and i should. It’s just one of those things. A habit. I forget. I’m sure you know what I’m saying. It actually took me a long time to even realize that there was such a thing as the parameter list and at that point, I had used Reacomp’s standard interface long enough to make it hard to change. lol.

A note on demos and tutorials: Some of my demos are created quickly because someone needed a demonstration quickly or an answer to a question while in a bit of a panic. This means that production and editing can be minimal or non-existent. It also means that they don’t go into depth and do not cover all options or related issues.
For questions and demo requests, send me a note using the contact link up above.

If you love what I do and want to make sure i keep doing it, feel free to
Buy me a coffee!
Jenny K. Brennan

The Flanger Perception – A music production snapshot from the making of “This Sundered World” by Icarus Machine

Beyond the iron gate. Painting.
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The flanger perception

A music production snapshot from the making of “This Sundered World” by Icarus Machine. .

So there is this song. And there are these wave files that I created by yelling miserably into the microphone, because that is what the song warranted. So I was a bit intimate with the mic. It happens right? And the take turned out just how I wanted it. I didn’t really check the result in the file.

So that’s all fine and dandy. Files are sent to Bill. He puts them in place, sounds great.

Except for this little click I hear. It annoys me. Now, fast forward a few weeks when we go back and forth working on the mixes for this album – This Sundered World. Many things are redone and fixed, and straightened out. But that click is still there.

Bil: “Where? I can’t hear it.”

Fast forward some more. I’m ready to bite my fingers off.
Bill is ready to send me to the lunatic asylum. I’m hearing things all over the place.
Finally we get some other problems taken care of, everything is fine.

Except for that click. That damn click.

Bill: “Where? I still can’t hear anything.”

Silence

Bill: “Well, there is that tiny little click there. I thought it was part of the flanger.”

Silence.

Bill: “Oh. What are the F-ing odds of that? It’s in the flanger. Shut that off and it’s gone.”

Me: “Ah.”

Bill: “the main shape of the flanger setting is rectangular
with no smoothness, it’s got a vertical transition across the waveform axis. All I did was change the shape of the flange and it’s fixed.”

At that point I glazed over and started thinking about other things. Not that I don’t understand it, but there is a reason I sing. I can be a tiresome pain in the ass and in the end Bill will fix the bad I create, and I don’t need to understand waveform politics.

Me: “So it wasn’t all my fault then?”

Bill: “Well, if you had been singing it differently…”

Me: “Blow me.”

So, In the end I’m not going to the asylum, although I’m certain that Bill will find more reasons to send the dreaded men in white to Ontario. But I can deal with that.
more importantly; I will check my files more often. And Bill will never again trust a flanger.

JennyK – From the dungeons of phase shifting and zero-crossings.

Audio production tidbit – Archived – Sonar for the blind- JSonar- Inspector- template plus bonus rantt

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Tutorial – A quick look at Sonar, JSonar, and the inspector

Updated!
For some reason the audio for this episode is gone. I never even noticed. That’s just so ME. LOL. However, the audio boo is still around. And that was after all the point of this post. So enjoy this Boo from the past.

Listen to it here: Jenny K Brennan AudioBoo, where I show how to set up the inspector in Sonar and just showing the basics on how to use the track equalizer and how to find plugin parameters.

JennyK

Audio production tidbit – Touching on Subtractive EQ

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Subtractive EQ — my 2012 revelation

Cutting frequencies you don’t like instead of boosting those you do. Seems perfectly obvious to me now, but not too long ago I didn’t have a clue.

Subtractive EQ Will Make Your Mixes Better

Graham makes a great case for why that is, on The recording revolution
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Once I figured it out, I totally overdid it. Probably still do. Actually, I most certainly still do. But years of not understanding why there was little clarity in my music created some sort of void that I’m trying to fill now. One other thing I’ve realized while changing the way I EQ, is that this method makes it all but useless to mix on headphones. At least that is my experience. I’m working with monitors now for the equing, until I have a static mix. Then I go crazy on the three dimensions of the mix. At that point I use headphones as I feel I have control over panning and depth. And it’s what I’m comfortable with. I find it’s a good idea to not touch the equalizer as I do. So far it’s too risky for me as my ears are still not quite used to the new phones and gear.

So, my advice to you is: Read Grahams article! Excellent stuff!

JennyK