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HonestOpinion

Side bussing the Reverb & Delay versus using the 'Mix' parameter

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I feel like I am probably missing something really obvious here but can anyone shed some light on why 'side-chaining' reverb and delay blocks on their own route on a mono signal path by using the split/merge blocks seems to sound different than having the signal pass directly (serial) through the reverb and delay blocks and using their 'Mix' parameter to control the amount of reverb and delay in the signal?

 

When I use the side-chain method I tend to set the 'Mix' parameter on the reverb/delay blocks to 100% (wet) and use the split block to control how much of my signal passes through the reverb/delay before returning to the main signal path and ultimately back via the merge block to my main signal path and the output block (reverb/delay are the last blocks in my signal chain on the 'B' route). It would seem to me that basically these two approaches should yield essentially the same result with the main difference being that with side-chaining I am using adjusting the mix on the split block instead of using the 'Mix' parameter on the reverb/delay blocks. If the reverb/delay mix is set to roughly the same amount of reverb and delay I would think these two approaches would yield roughly the same results but they sound very different to me.

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Well, first, not to be that guy, but what you're describing isn't sidechaining - it's just running the effects in a parallel effects. Sidechaining is using the input from one source to control the effect (typically compression) that's applied to another source.

 

But, anyway, if you're saying you have both the delay and reverb block in the same parallel path and have the mix parameter on both set to 100, the reason they sound different is because you have no dry signal going into the second block (I'm not sure if you have the delay or reverb first). So let's say you have delay first... You would have the repeats with no dry signal coming out of the delay block going into the reverb block, and the reverb is only being applied to the repeats. Whereas if you had the delay and reverb blocks simply after the amp/cab block(s) with the mix set to 50, the dry signal persist through the delay block and goes into the reverb block.

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Well, first, not to be that guy, but what you're describing isn't sidechaining - it's just running the effects in a parallel effects. Sidechaining is using the input from one source to control the effect (typically compression) that's applied to another source.

 

But, anyway, if you're saying you have both the delay and reverb block in the same parallel path and have the mix parameter on both set to 100, the reason they sound different is because you have no dry signal going into the second block (I'm not sure if you have the delay or reverb first). So let's say you have delay first... You would have the repeats with no dry signal coming out of the delay block going into the reverb block, and the reverb is only being applied to the repeats. Whereas if you had the delay and reverb blocks simply after the amp/cab block(s) with the mix set to 50, the dry signal persist through the delay block and goes into the reverb block.

 

Great answer phil_m and abundantly obvious now that you mention it. Thanks! 

 

Btw, sidechaining may have an official definition but I have heard it used for decades in reference to having any effect, particularly on old analog mixers that is being bussed a signal rather than directly in-line on the signal path. For example the difference in the way you might use a limiter in-line on the output from the board to prevent damaging your PA speakers but using a reverb in a sidechain set to 100% wet to affect only part of your signal chain. Perhaps the terminology is being used incorrectly but I think many of us have heard it in this context. I think overall you are right though, in recent years the meaning of sidechaining does seem to have become more a reference to things like triggering compression and other triggered effects on other targets depending on the source signal. Perhaps I will have to change my archaic terminology. Thanks for the clarification, I was confusing the issue

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Great answer phil_m and abundantly obvious now the you mention it. Thanks! 

 

Btw, side-chaining may have an official definition but I have heard it used for decades in reference to having any effect, particularly on old analog mixers that is being bussed a signal rather than directly in-line on the signal path. For example the difference in the way you might use a limiter in-line on the output from the board to prevent damaging your PA speakers but using a reverb in a side-chain set to 100% wet to affect only part of your signal chain. Perhaps the terminology is being used incorrectly but I think many of us have heard it in this context.

 

I wouldn't doubt that people use the term that way... It's just that's not technically correct (the best kind of correct :) ).

 

One oft the most common uses of a sidechained effect would be a compressor that's using the kick drum track as an input source to apply compression to bass track. It creates a slight ducking effect so the level of the bass track drops a little on every kick.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_range_compression#Side-chaining

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I wouldn't doubt that people use the term that way... It's just that's not technically correct (the best kind of correct :) ).

 

One oft the most common uses of a sidechained effect would be a compressor that's using the kick drum track as an input source to apply compression to bass track. It creates a slight ducking effect so the level of the bass track drops a little on every kick.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_range_compression#Side-chaining

 

No argument, I think yours is currently and absolutely the correct definition. I think many of us (particularly me) were just confusing a side buss with a sidechain. I have changed the topic name accordingly. I am 'on the buss now' as Tom Wolfe would have said.

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