Sidechain Compression in Sony Acid Pro 7 – A practical workaround.

Ducking or Breathing is a very prominent sound in almost every form of electronic dance music today. As an Acid Pro user, I found it a difficult task finding tutorials and methods to achieve this effect, with many producers claiming that it is simply impossible due to Acid Pro’s lack of built in Sidechaining facilities.

So, what do we do when we encounter such a problem? We improvise and emulate! In this tutorial, I will show you how to create the Ducking effect in Acid Pro by emulating the Sidechain process.

Step 1
Firstly, you will need a Sidechain compressor VST. I used the SSS Side Chain Compressor which you can download here for free: http://sonictransfer.com/sss-side-chain-compressor-free-vst-for-windows.shtml

After you have downloaded and extracted the SSS compressor to your VST(i) folder, run Acid Pro and start a new project. Add two tracks to your project;

a pad or lead instrument (this track will later be the receiver)
Audio Example

and a short kick or short percussive sound (this track will become the carrier or modulator)
Audio Example

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I’ll discuss the purpose of the 3rd track (a drumloop) later in the tutorial

Step 2
Now we need to create a bus in the Acid Pro Mixer window. Click the “insert bus” button in the mixer window. The new bus appears next to the master bus and is labelled “Bus A

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Step 3
Now that we’ve created a new bus for our project; we need to assign the SSS Slide Chain Compressor to it. Do this by clicking the “Bus FX” button on Bus A and selecting the Sidechain Comp Mono VST in your 3rd party plug-ins list.

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In the above screenshot, you’ll see I adjusted a few of the plug-in’s settings. The Attack is set to 0.1 and the Release set to roughly 200 milliseconds. We will adjust the other settings a little later.

Step 4
Now that we have assigned the Side Chain Compressor effect to Bus A, we will draw our attention to the two tracks we added to our project earlier. Select the “Pad” track and route it to “Bus A” by clicking on the blue square button as illustrated in the screenshot. Do the same for the “kick” track.

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Step 5
Seeing as we are emulating the Side Chaining process, we somehow need to differentiate between which of the tracks is the carrier and which is the receiver. To accomplish this, we will pan each of the tracks in opposite Left and Right channels. Pan the track “Pad” 100% to the Left and the track “kick” 100% to the Right as illustrated below.

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What we have done here, is assigned the roles of both tracks as follows: the “kick” track is now the Carrier and the “pad” track is the Receiver. As you can see, the result is a Mono output in Bus A which has simply been centered. When you hit the playback button, you’ll hear the effect at work as the carrier track “Kick” shapes the receiving track “Pad”, thus creating our desired Ducking effect!

Step 6
To adjust the volume of the Carrier track (the kick), open the plug-in chain in Bus A and observe the “KeyVolume” knob in the compressor window and turn it down completely. You’ll notice during playback that the ducking effect itself remains unaffected on the “pad” track and the “kick” track is now inaudible. Audio Example

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Step 7
We finally have our Ducking effect, but it’s still Mono! The simplest way to emulate a stereo effect is to assign another FX plug-in to Bus A. Just as we added the SSS Compressor to the Bus, we will assign the built-in Sony Multi-Tap Delay plug-in, which you will find in the “Sony” folder of your VST browser.

The Multi-Tap Delay effect will be placed after (to the right of) the Compressor in your effect chain in Bus A. Note: if you move the delay plug in before (to the left of) the compressor, the delay plug-in will not have the desired effect! In the multi-tap delay plug-in control, select the preset: “Channel Delay for Stereo Simulation”.

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As illustrated above, I changed the pan setting for each tap (tap 1 and 2) from 100% to 50% Left and Right in each tap. I also added the TAL Dub II plug-in after the Multi-tap delay plug-in for added effect. You can download the free TAL Dub II from here: http://kunz.corrupt.ch/?Products:VST_TAL-DUB-II

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All Done!
We can now add additional tracks to our project and put the Ducking effect to good use! This is the final product: Audio Example – Final

I hope you found this tutorial helpful!

2 Comments

  1. your ducking info was the only usable one I found after 3 days of searching the net, even Sony Vegas F1 help menu does not show anyway to route a sidechain VST for ducking. thanks, really.

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