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How is obtained the "Depression" sensation after the beat, that we can hear in a few Electronic Music songs ? (like Trance / Dance) Example : Border Vocals, "Lovetension".

It feels like after the beat, for a few fractions of seconds, the intensity of all the other instruments in lowered.

If I'm not clear, please tell me.

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3 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

This is actually called sidechain compression. It is usually applied to pads, or basslines with higher frequencies (but not always) and then a kick drum is often used as the 'input' for the compressor. The kick drum hits and just like when you listen to the radio, when the dj/presenter talks over the music, the volume dips. The attack, delay, hold and compression ratio can all be adjusted to give a sharp dip or a more gradual dip with a pumping effect. It is quite a common technique especially in dance music these days.

It is not usually a technique applied to the whole mix (i.e. all the channels), it is usually done on parts of the mix (i.e. specific channels). A compressor is however usually added at the end on the master channel but not for this effect. Generally, it is applied to the channel that wish to dip using another channel as the input for the compressor. The compressor on the master bus can produce this effect but it is not generally used for this effect as it affects ALL the instrument parts. Generally the compressor on the master bus is used to 'glue' the track together i.e. lower the volume of the 'louder' parts and increase the volume of the 'quieter' parts (at the expense of dynamics of course).

A good example is this:

notice (when the main tune is in flow) the kick drum lowers the volume of the synth but does not affect the vocals. A few bars later the compression is then applied to the vocals which you can hear instantly.

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Exactly !!! Thanks. –  Skippy Fastol Sep 21 '12 at 14:54
    
BTW, it is not usually a technique applied to the whole mix (i.e. all the channels), it is usually done on parts of the mix (i.e. specific channels). A compressor is however usually added at the end on the master channel but not for this effect. –  Magrangs Sep 21 '12 at 14:57
    
Interesting ! I had not noticed that it wasn't applied to all channels. –  Skippy Fastol Sep 21 '12 at 15:02
    
No generally it is applied to the channel that wish to dip using another channel as the input for the compressor. The compressor on the master bus can produce this effect but it is not generally used for this effect as it affects ALL the instrument parts. Generally the compressor on the master bus is used to 'glue' the track together i.e. lower the volume of the 'louder' parts and increase the volume of the 'quieter' parts (at the expense of dynamics of course). –  Magrangs Sep 21 '12 at 15:09
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@SkippyFastol if I were you I would unaccept my answer, and accept this one instead. –  slim Sep 21 '12 at 15:14
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This is caused by a compressor effect applied to the whole mix.

See: What Does a Compressor Pedal Do?

In response to the loud beat, the compressor reduces the volume. Then after the beat, the volume ramps back up.

This kind of compression causes a distinctive "throbbing" you hear a lot in pop, rock and dance music.

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You are the One. Thanks !! –  Skippy Fastol Sep 21 '12 at 12:47
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There are two aspects here:

  • There is a perception after a heavy beat that the sounds immediately after it are quieter. This is down to how our ears work.
  • Sounds after a heavy beat are actually quieter.

For point 2, physical characteristics may make this happen- such as speaker response. Bass response needs a fair amount of headroom otherwise it steals power.

Additionally, you could use side chaining to drop the volume of other channels, but I'm not sure why you would do this.

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Thanks for the reply. In fact, there are songs where that sound intensity difference is exagerated on purpose. You haven't encountered any yet ? (I'll find and send an actual sample) –  Skippy Fastol Sep 21 '12 at 11:38
    
I haven't, but then if it is for pop and dance stuff then I probably wouldn't come across that sort of music :-) –  Dr Mayhem Sep 21 '12 at 17:33
    
Hahaha. Well, I can definitely understand that. –  Skippy Fastol Sep 21 '12 at 17:46
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