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Is there a name for this?

Certain types of recorded audio have this condition where it is as if there is really deep low frequency bass being played, and it is causing all other audio frequencies to be muted during the low frequency pulse.

As the pulsing continues, the higher frequencies are repeatedly muted, loud, muted, loud.

It seems like an attempt to simulate "thumping bass" with tiny high frequency speakers that do not have the capability of actually producing a low frequency sound wave.

Apparently the best example is an audio sample. Here is a Youtube video exhibiting this audio at starting at 1:16.

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This is achieved using simple side-chain compression or limiting. Place a Compressor into your programme chain and feed the "side chain" with the bass spectrum of your triggering signal. When the bass signal feeding the side chain exceeds the compressor threshold, the compressor will activate over the main signal path, reducing the overall level of the programme signal.

Adjust your attack and release in the compressor to taste.

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Had a listen to the clip... Bass frequencies take a lot more energy to be reproduced than low frequencies so at first I thought that maybe it's a compressor that when the high energy bass kicks in it puts a cap on the volume and because our ears don't respond as well to lower frequencies we hear it as the volume dropping. That was my first thought.

But then at 1.37 the higher frequencies duck down even though the bass is not present. So although you could reproduce this with something like a ducker by having the bass on one channel and as soon as it reaches x then drop the volume on the other track.....but I think on this track it was a much more manual process using samples prerecorded like that rather than the result of a specific effect.

  • You mean more energy than high? – frcake Dec 31 '16 at 15:48

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