Re: Side Chain Compression Question...
I use gentle sidechain compression for things it's good at e.g. pulling back a bass transient that masks kick drum hits. Using it to drop the backing level behind vocals however can sound very artificial indeed, pump like mad and take the 'drive' out of the backing as well. Structuring the backing in some way to leave 'space' for the vocal,works much better.
As for sidechaining background music behind narration, I think you generally need a more even and slower response than a compressor, which even at its slowest release is still pretty fast acting and can obtrusively pump up the music in short gaps between words or phrases. Common practice seems to be to use a volume envelope on the background music track instead, so that the music is dropped throughout spoken passages and shifts in music volume can be slow and smooth. Keeping the background track sparse and not too ear-catching helps as well. While the music can go a long way to setting an emotional atmosphere, you want people to listen to the words not focus on the music.
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