Ducking in Reason

One of the things that’s great about Reason is the fact that it’s very easy to get an authentic Ducking vibe. So what’s ducking? Ever listened to a radio broadcast and noticed that whenever the DJ speaks the volume of the music goes down? It makes things sound much more professional and allows for the words to be heard clearly. Some pirate radio DJs will do this manually by riding the fader if they dont have the gear to do it automatically, whilst others just dont bother (take note some of you online radio stations please!)

Another example of Ducking is on commercial tracks like Benny Benassi’s – Satisfaction or Eric Prydz’ – Call on Me where the kick drum is used to reduce the volume of the the bassline or backing, a very popular effect also on Electro/Dirty House tunes. I’ll demonstrate how this works with a simple example;

Ducking a Sustained Loop in Reason

  1. On your Redrum, program some beats (4 to the floor house works best for this) and then drag an indiviual output for the kick drum into a spare channel on the Mixer (you might be doing this sort of thing anyway if you are an advanced user)
  2. Load up a Rex File into DrRex and copy the Rex Data down to the Sequencer by pushing ‘To Track’
  3. Select the DrRex and then Create an MClass Compressor
  4. Drag a cable from the Aux 4 Send on the Mixer into the Sidechain Input on the MClass Compressor you just created
  5. Now on the Mixer channel that has the Kick Drum rotate the Aux 4 Send fully clockwise to send signal into the Sidechain Input. You should now notice the compressor’s gain reduction meter (thats the green meter flashing downwards in the middle) reacting to each kick.
  6. Adjust the compressor settings to suit your taste, lower Threshold Values and Higher Ratios will give a more exagerrated effect. The Attack and Release times are used to add a fade in and out to the hole punched by the kick so listen by ear to get the effect you want rhythmically.

The whole point of routing through Aux4 Send was so that you can switch the Prefade button and analyse the ducked signal on its own without the kick but still being affected by it. To have a listen switch Prefade on the kick’s Aux4 and then reduce the level of the fader – you’ll hear no kick but you’ll still hear it affecting the ducking – niiiiice!

Download the example and listen to the difference it makes by bypassing the MClass Compressor (Sample Used on Dr Rex is from Pepe Braddock’s Deep Burnt)

Download file: duckingpepebraddock.rns