Sidechain compression on reverb... how to?

Serendipity Records

Well-known member
I was researching the production techniques used by one of my favorite artists, and I came across a post (on a different site) that mentioned something that intrigued me...

" sounds like a plate reverb, high-passed, and a fairly wide eq cut at around 2.5k so that none of the harsh sounds come through, but the top end does. Then it seems like the reverb send is automated to get the reverb to come out where it is needed. Also I get the impression that the main vocal track ducks the reverb level with side-chain compression to keep the vocal 'on top' of the mix."

In this case, it is all done on pre-DAW systems. How exactly do I accomplish this in a DAW? Somehow the level on one track is used to control the amount of compression on another?

Any guidance would be appreciated!
Guessing you would use the vocal as your compression source post reverb. As stated above, how to accomplish the EQ is very plugin dependent. But going on old school theory, EQ before the compression (filter out what you don't want) side chain compressor. set threshold and output (how aggressive you want it) then start jacking with it to get the sound you want.

I did something like this on one of my mixes trying to get my vocals to cut through but keeping them in a "pocket". But I put side chain on instruments that use frequencies in my vocal range, keyboards, guitars, piano, etc. The put the filter (I have a compressor that will pass through the frequencies I want to use for my side compression, this case around 2.5-3.5). Then worked my attack and ratio.

For me, I found, if not careful, it can make the output really janky, so pay close attention to the attack/release or it can make the sound pulse in an unpleasant way. At least it did on my use.

Not sure that helped.
In this case, it is all done on pre-DAW systems. How exactly do I accomplish this in a DAW? Somehow the level on one track is used to control the amount of compression on another?
Not all compressors are capable of this. If yours is you should see an option somewhere for 'sidechain input' or 'key input' or something like that.

All you do is put a compressor on your desired track. Let's say that's your vocal reverb bus.
Then you take a send from your dry vocal track and use that send as the key input for the compressor.

Now instead of the compressor reacting to the audio of its own track, it will react to the audio coming in from the main vocal track.

You should, then, be able to adjust the settings such that the reverb gets ducked while there's vocal going on but is allowed through when there's no vocal,
essentially letting you make the tails of reverb louder without swamping the active vocal in reverb too.

If you're not familiar with it it might be a good idea to test with a click track and a sine wave track,
or a kick/snare drum track and a constant pad, so that the effect is very obvious.

This is the kind of technique used to create that pumping sound you get in electronic music where the kick comes through loud and clear on its own and the rest of the music
seems to swell in and out around it.
Also the same deal when you hear a radio host's voice cut straight through the music.
The music dips out as soon as they speak and comes back as soon as they stop - They've got their voice as the input for a compressor on the music. (y)
So what's the question? How do you Audio Duck Reverb? - You typically use a Compressor on the Channel you want Ducked - then you choose SideChain on the Compressor - and Choose the Sidechain input - and choose the track you want to drive the Ducking - setup the compressor Threshold and release get the amount of ducking you want.

For example - You have a Dialog Track and a Music Bed Track - you want the music bed track to be lower when the Dialog track is running - You insert a Compressor (with SideChain) on the Dialog track - Choose SideChain - Choose the input source to be the Dialog Track - Set the Compressor to the amount you want - and now when the tracks play the Dialog will duck the Music Bed Track Automatically - In your idea - the Reverb track would get the Sidechain compression.