Frequency Sidechaining With Oeksound soothe2

In this article, we apply the often-overlooked Sidechain feature of soothe2 to a choppy mix. We’ll use it to make sounds and push it away from the harmonic and low-end elements. This might be the secret side weapon we’ve been waiting for!

Last month, we looked at soothe2’s features and applied them to stems in a deep home blend. As a quick takeaway, Soothe2 is a resonance reducer that detects harsh frequencies across the spectrum. It reduces these frequencies in real time and you can control how wide your wounds are, attack, release times, depth, and more.

Oeksound’s infamous resonance damper workflow usually sees producers apply it to stems in mix and select areas to smooth across EQ nodes.

The Sidechain Input feature (introduced as a new feature in calm2) overrides the Basic Frequencies and Harmonics of the Sidechain Input. This allows for a highly surgical frequency separation and is one of the fastest bias methods we’ve ever seen!

When a path combines harmonic elements operating simultaneously, the frequencies will overlap which reduces clarity in the mix. This often results in mixing that does not translate well, especially on lower quality speakers such as a laptop or phone. Unfortunately, many only test music from their iPhone, so it’s worth considering.

In this tutorial, we’ll add Quiet 2 to the harmonic elements of the track and use the Sidechain feature to open up space for songs. We’ll also look at some of its other uses as we go along.

As always click any image to enlarge it.

Here’s the full combination with calm2 active:

Here’s the same mix with the calm2 override:

The results are accurate so we highly recommend listening to good headphones or studio monitors to hear the differences!

Side sequence with symmetric group

We will look at the path as three elements; Harmonic parts, vocals and drums.

Let’s group all the channels with harmonic elements. In our example this is pad, gritty melody, and lead synth.

Here’s how they look together:

Here is their voice with singing:

We are going to introduce calm 2 into the harmonic group. Next, we will select the audio channel in the list of side string inputs for the plugin. We will then enable Sidechain in Cooldown 2 and look at exactly where the frequencies are.

Below you can see that the 2 cooldown lowers frequencies across the entire spectrum. We can choose the frequencies that the algorithm is interested in simply by focusing on dragging the nodes to the desired position.

Sidechaining with Oeksound's Soothe2

We will focus on the high and medium 700 Hz region and the 4K high region. We will also change the algorithm from Soft to Hard. This will make the cuts a little harsher.

Sidechaining with Oeksound's Soothe2

Here’s how vocal and harmonic sound goes with Quiet 2 activity:

All three harmonic parts have a lot of frequencies and harmonics in common with the vocal part. This interference causes frequencies to clash or even cancel each other out.

Converting groups into vocal channels is an effective trick for creating space and letting the vocals’ base frequencies shine through. This process will also apply if you have a composition melody instead of an vocal part, for example.

The cuts in the photo look uselessly large, but Slay 2 is a surgical plug-in. This means that the sound quality remains high, even with big cuts.

Don’t forget the trap!

Snares and claps also have many high frequencies in common with singing.

As before, we’ll use soothe2’s Sidechain on the trap blow. We can see where the fundamental frequency of the stroke is by clicking on a node, enabling listening, and scrolling through the spectrum.

Sidechaining with Oeksound's Soothe2

It looks like it’s at 3.5K, so let’s pull the node up over this frequency region.

Here’s what the kicking, clapping, and singing sound like without calming 2:

Here’s the same set with soothe2 active:

You can hear the high frequencies of the clap being fired when the sounds are active.

Sidechaining with Oeksound's Soothe2

Traditional kick and side bass with cooldown 2

Finally, we have the low-stroke drum vying for space on the low end. We can solve this problem with some good old fashioned bass kick sideways.

We’ll insert soothe2 onto the bass channel and select the kick channel as the input on the side string. We can see right away that the majority of the duck is happening around 170 Hz. We’ll increase the knot at this point to thicken the pieces. We will also tweak the release parameter to make sure the cut disappears at exactly the same time as the kick stroke.

This is the bass with soothe2 bypass:

And here it is with the soothe2 activity:

Sidechaining with Oeksound's Soothe2

You can hear right away that there is a much bigger punch than the kick. This is because the frequencies at which they normally compete are now waning. You can do this kind of side sequencer with any compressor. However, Relaxer 2 is incredibly smooth and moreover, it is useful to see the exact frequency and make cuts only in the necessary areas.

Compared with and without sedative mixtures

Now that we have all the necessary side chain operations set up, we can make a comparison using the entire mix.

Here’s what the full mix looks like with all 2 cooldowns gone:

Here is the combination with all the additional active ingredients of soothe2:

Sidechaining with Oeksound's Soothe2

This technique has a lot of applications and one can even try more intense settings for sound design purposes!

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author Aykan Isin
January 29 2022

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