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I'm trying to wrap my head around ducking effect. Say, I have two tracks:

  • A music with pretty harsh peaks and drops (it's a dubstep)
  • A vocal voiceover

I also have two Track Compressors applied to Master Bus: one is quite soft (-16x at -5dB), and the next one is hard limiter (-24x at -2dB).

I want the vocal track to act as a trigger for one of the Compressors.
I have attempted to work around this by manually setting Volume Envelope over my vocal track, like this:

manual ducking applied

But I find it too difficult to manage, plus it invalidates itself whenever I modify anything (e.g. apply some dynamic changes to Track Equalizer).

I'm looking for a more straightforward way to apply ducking effect to Master Bus'es Track Compressor based on an arbitrary track's input. E.g., those harsh peaks on the vocal tracks should trigger Compressor to act.

There are several related questions here (1) (2) (3) (4), but I was unable to find any details there.

I'm using Sony Vegas 12 x64 for Windows, but feel free to also suggest VST plugins if any, since Vegas/x64 seems to support VST/x86 pretty nicely.

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3 Answers

Honestly this is one of the only things that I don't like about Vegas and can't believe they still haven't added. There is no ducking for Vegas. The workaround method just isn't good and is too touchy.

Honestly the best method I found was to use Audacity which is free. Pull in your 2 tracks and use their ducking plugin which works perfectly.

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AFAIK, there's no facility for true side-chain compression in Vegas, but there is a workaround of sorts. It basically involves creating additional buses, and routing the source and target tracks to that bus, then using a compressor with the ability to pick one of the channels off the bus as a source, and another channel as the target. Then panning the bus output so you only hear the target channel and routing that to the master bus.

A schematic description can be found in the second to last post in the thread here.

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If you don't like using the volume envelope, well there is another way to do this.

OK this is not pretty. Cut the audio track at the beginning and ending portion of each section you want to duck. Then lower the overall amplitude of each duck protion. Now you have your ducking.

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