This seems like a simple thing to do, but for some reason no one's been able to give me a clear answer at all. If I'm working with one stereo full mix track and one vocal track, how can I get the full mix to duck down when the voice over comes in? I haven't got any external hardware to work with -- just the base ProTools 8 plugins.

  • I'm not sure I understand. Can't you just use automation to pull down the mix track for the voice over and then release after the voice over?
    – BenV
    Dec 16 '10 at 0:36
  • sidechain compression?
    – Travis Dtfsu Crum
    Oct 16 '12 at 13:41

Set up a compressor on the stereo track (PT's own will do). Send the vocal track through a bus(mono) into the sidechain input of the compressor. Make sure to activate the sidechain, it's the knob with the key on it in the Sidechain section of the plugin.

Experiment with the knobs in order to get it to sound smooth.

Depends on what you are working on though. For bigger projects like commentary on a feature film it's a time saver bu not always the best choice.

I wouldn't recommend it for smaller things like ads or infomercials, then it's best to do a volume automation manually.

It can be hard to make it sound natural and smooth, bear in mind that in order to duck a signal it needs to reach the threshold first. So it'll never be as good as manual volume control.

Hope this helps.

  • 1
    Enabling look-ahead on the compressor would be a good choice as well.
    – Brad
    Dec 16 '10 at 14:45
  • Thanks guys...I'm aware of all of these alternatives and reasons why not to use the ducker. I will try your suggestion JohannV, thanks!
    – Laura
    Dec 17 '10 at 5:06
  • Create an empty project

  • Import or create an audio track you want to duck (mono) (track A)

  • Create an Aux track and assign its input to bus1 (track B)

  • In track A send 0 dB to bus1 = track B

  • Put Track B in mute (it only need for the compressor to "key")

  • Create another Aux track and assign its input to bus2 (Track C)

  • In track A send 0 dB to bus2 = track C

  • In track C put in the First insert slot the effect you need to duck (reverb or delay)

  • Then, in the second slot in Track C, put the compressor that will make the duck (use Dynamics->Compressor/Limiter Dyn 3 (mono))

  • Now open the compressor setting and in the "key input" select Bus 1 and in the SIDE-CHAIN area activate the button with a key icon

Finally experiment with the compressor parameters to find out your ducking amount. For example try this: Ratio=2:1, Attack=10.0 ms, Release=1.5 s, Thresh=-39.5 dB

Work especially on Thresh to find the right amount of ducking.

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