Using Sidechain Compression for Dynamic Delays

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Ducking Your Delays Out Of The Way

It's easy to have too much of a good thing, especially when that good thing is delay! Automating every single second of a delay send is tedious and unnecessary work, that’s why the recording gods gave us tools like compressors and expanders with sidechain inputs to do our work for us.

Ben Lindell shows you one of the best tricks for containing the spray of echos and fit your delay returns perfectly into the vocal gaps, no automation required. This technique helps you keep your mix from getting too washy, cloudy, busy or over-processed.

In this tutorial Ben works in Presonus Studio One but this technique applies to any DAW.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Achieve more clarity with your delays
  • Easily obtain a natural sounding balance between the delays and the dry vocal
  • Flip the trick around to an expander and gain dynamic control ove the delay tail
Featured Music

Freddie Cosmo - Floating on Air on iTunes or Spotify

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Ben Lindell

Ben is a NYC based producer/engineer who has worked with artists from MGMT to Soulja Boy, Bebel Giberto to Lloyd Banks, Ryan Leslie, Olivia, Tony Yayo, Red Cafe, Edie Brickell, Carole Pope and hundreds of other artists from around the world. He grew up in Iowa and then attended the University of Miami.

In addition to being a fantastic musician he is also a tremendous geek when it comes to anything technical, be it software, plug-ins, microphones or outboard gear. It's this marriage of musical creativity and technical know-how that makes him an in demand producer/engineer.


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Kelly Rowland



What do you have to say?
Leave a comment
2019 Jul 30
You are an excellent instructor! While I have a firm grasp on these side chain techniques, you have a way of explaining it that makes it new again. Haven't used the expander as a sidechain on delay in a long while, and it brought back some creative ideas I haven't utilized for a long time. Thanks for your clear examples Ben, I always enjoy your vidz! Cheers, Tunemxr
2019 Feb 03
Very helpful technique. Thanks. However, after watching a few of the free tuts on here, I don't think I'd ever buy a subscription because they all did the absolute most damaging thing you can possibly do in an audio tutorial: Stop the playback in the middle of comparing two settings and say "Now hear it with…" Pretty much makes an audio comparison worthless for training the ear or noticing subtle differences. Rookie move. Ideas are great, though.
2018 Feb 14
Thanks, great example and explanation.
2018 Jan 20
amazing little teqcnique. beautiful. thanks
2017 Dec 08
Thank you! Very intersting!!
2017 Mar 26
Thanks, man! It's an open mind tutorial! Can't wait to try them up!
2017 Mar 23
Hey Ben, You really ought to be making more and more videos..this is another excellent example of your concise to the point approach to mentoring. Be well man,g
isaac acevedo
2016 May 27
Excelente video, gracias por compartir esos conocimientos
2016 Apr 27
Ben your a treasure...thanks!
2016 Mar 23
Ben thanks for this nice is great
2016 Mar 20
Clear, concise and practical. Excellent work, Ben.
2015 Dec 25
1 of mine fav videos ..wish if could create playlist
2015 Oct 18
Awesome. Love the effects. BTW which song is this?
2015 Sep 30
Right on Ben. Thank you!
2015 Apr 30
Excellent lesson, very useful. Thanks a lot.
2015 Feb 01
nice! def gonna use it in my next tracks!
2015 Jan 27
2014 Dec 04
Ben, great easy trick with loads of options… gotta give a try. Thanks
2014 Nov 28
VERY Cool! I would like to learn more about side chaining. Thanks!
2014 Nov 27
a++++ WOW
2014 Nov 26
Nice trick! I'll be sure to use that! I always like how Ben explains stuff. And he always seems to offer more than one thing in his tutorials (here, sidechain compression and sidechain expansion). Thanks for the great stuff!
2014 Nov 25
great stuff, Ben!
2014 Nov 20
Excellent explanation...Thanks for this.