What is this type of processing called?

In some popular songs with a very strong bass beat, the strength of the bass beat is exaggerated by momentarily "turning down" the rest of the sounds while the bass beat hits.


3 Answers 3


The effect in question can be used with side chain compression, parallel compression or even with a excessive compression.

The side-chain effect is the one used to create "a "pumping" effect which can clearly be heard in "Call On Me" by Eric Prydz, "Hung Up" by Madonna, and 99% of Daft Punk housier tracks. Almost all DAWs come with compressors that support side-chain, in the worst case scenario you can look for a VST to do the job, but I'm pretty sure you'll need a VST3 compatible DAW to route the signal.

Parallel Compression is more associated with rock music than electronic - but since many NY Producers end up using it (Like Armand Van Helden), some people confuse it with side-chaining.

Anyways, the effect can also be achieve by adding a strong compressor the song and making the kick really loud - obviously you'll have little control over the amount of effect and you'll have a hard time mixing/mastering.


Yup, don't know why datageist didn't expand, but it's called ducking. The song or part of it 'ducks' out of the way of a signal, usually a big ol' kick.

You can insert a compressor into the signal chain of the track to be ducked, with a side-chain key input (as J.K says): meaning that the kick's amplitude/level will cause the mix to be compressed, i.e. reduced in volume.

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    You don't need sidechans to get this effect; it's a natural result of mix bus compression with a really loud transient. If release is kinda slow you get this pretty dramatically. Jan 30, 2012 at 2:18
  • I really wish @FriendOfGeorge would stop editing things that aren't mistakes in people's answers. If someone says "hope that helps", it's a kick in the nuts to remove that sentiment. Considering this site has next to no activity, it might be helpful to keep the users happy, and not put words in (or take words out) of their mouths Feb 1, 2012 at 0:32
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    To say "hope that helps" is redundant. The only reason to post an answer is in the hope that it helps someone:) I'm just trying to keep the signal to noise ratio up. In my opinion, Thanks and Hope that Helps belong in the comments, not the Q&A. If you would like to discuss this further let's move it to chat. Feb 1, 2012 at 13:20
  • Well, I guess you have to keep yourself busy somehow.. completely pointless and fairly derogatory to correct people's good intentions. Whatever makes you happy. Feb 1, 2012 at 13:32
  • Meta question on this subject here. Feb 1, 2012 at 14:16

The effect can be achieved with side-chain compression.

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