jdn

… purveyor of funky beats and assorted electric treats …

FX Halos in Ableton Live

Posted on | February 29, 2012 | No Comments

This is a very sim­ple trick to do, but not so obvi­ous to fig­ure out that it’s even pos­si­ble.  The idea is to sidechain com­press the pro­cess­ing on a Return bus by its own input sig­nal, in order to clear out some “empty” space around the dry sig­nal. It’s like mak­ing a “breath­ing fx bus”.

For exam­ple, if you have a stac­cato vocal sam­ple being sent into a reverb or a delay, using this trick the effect tails will “swell in” over time after the dry sig­nal stops.  It’s sim­i­lar to kick sidechaining.

Here’s an exam­ple with­out a halo:

fxNo­Halo

Now with:

fxHalo

That’s not the most inspir­ing demo, but this can sound very organic, and helps clear space in a full mix.  To set up in Live:

  • Send sound from an Audio track to a Return track.
  • On the Return track, add a plu­gin that cre­ates a tem­po­ral tail: ie reverb or delay.
  • Add a com­pres­sor after the fx.
  • Enable Sidechain, and set the Audio From drop­down to the same Return track you’re on.
  • Set the Audio From posi­tion to “Pre FX” in order to sidechain from the dry sig­nal.
  • Set up your thresh­old, release, ratio etc. to get your desired “halo” pump­ing sound around the input signal.

This can be a really nice way to get some breathy flut­ter­ing organic motion in a net­work of Return tracks that might even be cross-sending sig­nal to each other in a feed­back network…

Click for full-size

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