Over the next few weeks we have been delving into new production techniques as part of the Production & Professional Practice module at Edinburgh Napier University. I thought I would begin by talking about side-chain gating as I have some experience of using this technique with a previous University project. Particularly useful with dance music and also to enhance the kick drum within a mix.
An auxiliary track should be created and the kick drum track sent via a bus. Next, add a signal generator to the auxiliary track and set a sine wave to 50-60 Hz, the same as a kick drum produces. Add a compressor/gate plug-in to the aux track and activate the ‘key’ icon, followed by selecting the ‘key input’ icon and choosing the bus which the kick drum track is routed to. Mess around with the gain and threshold depending on taste. The kick drum track will now trigger the sine wave and the overall sound of the kick will be enhanced. The following is the assignment I worked on which features this technique:
Something to note at this point is that it will be useful for some projects to create two auxiliary tracks, one for the sine wave and the other as a duplicate of the kick drum track or as a separate instrument track with a programmed kick. This gives the advantage of not being restricted by the original kick’s pattern when developing the sine wave, as you can create any kind of sine wave pattern with a programmed midi kick.