Ducking any Frequency using Middle and Side

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


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Ducking any Frequency using Middle and Side is a video tutorial that explains how to use a dynamic equaliser to duck frequencies within a mix.

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 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 powerful 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 Ducking any Frequency using Middle and Side 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 are kick, snare and organ sounds 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.

The 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 complementary frequency management
  • Understanding where and how to incorporate M/S processing

If you found this tutorial helpful then check these out:

Side-chaining vocals against the mix

Dynamic EQ – what is it and how do you use it

Linear Phase Eq versus Minimum Phase Eq

Eq Filters and Slopes/Responses

What is an equaliser and how does it work

EQ Uncovered – (second edition)

EQ Masterclass

Vocal Production Masterclass

Using Side-Chaining to Duck Reverbs on Vocals

Ducking Effects in Real-time using Vocal Triggers