Ducking any Frequency using Middle and Side

Advanced technique incorporating M/S (Middle and Side) processing to duck specific frequencies in a mix.


Purchase to view this tutorial

By purchasing this tutorial, you'll get immediate access - your purchase helps create new and exciting content and this site survive!

£2.00Add to basket

Ducking is the term we give to the process that entails one sound or event being used to attenuate (lower in gain/volume) of another sound. The common processor used for ducking is a compressor.

Ducking has been around since the advent of broadcasting. Traditionally ducking is used to manage the volume between the broadcaster and the background music. I am sure you have heard this effect before. Every time the broadcaster speaks the background music lowers in volume.

Middle and Side

Here we are trying to duck specific frequency ranges of a mix by using a Dynamic Equaliser in Middle and Side mode. In effect we are trying to duck the sides of the audio and boost the mid.

Basically, the stereo sound is split into middle (M) and sides (S) using a process we call ‘Matrixing’. Once the signal is in M/S we can treat the sides (known as the difference) and the mid (known as the sum) separately. After the processing the signal is encoded back into the standard stereo format.

Dynamic eq

A dynamic equaliser applies the gain change directly to the gain parameters of a multiband parametric equaliser. As with most dynamics processors, the the threshold determines at which point gain changes take place. You have control over the bandwidth denoted by the Q value and, much like a compressor, the response is controlled with the attack and release functions.

This particular technique is a power technique. Not only can it afford us insane control over frequency ranges it also allows us to process the various mid and side elements. You can use this technique on all your mixes with like for like sounds.

In the video I show you how to use the side-chain of a dynamic equaliser in conjunction with M/S (middle and sides) to duck any frequency within your mix. There is a kick, snare and organ sound all playing at the same time. We assign the kick to duck the mid of the organ sound and the snare to duck the sides of the organ sound.

Plugin used in this video:

Waves F6 Dynamic EQ

Topics covered in this video are:

  • How to set up and use a Dynamic Eq to duck and boost the M/S of any frequency band
  • Learn about opposing and complimentary frequency management
  • Understanding where and how to incorporate M/S processing