How to Use Track Stacks and Sidechain Compression in Logic Pro
Track Stacks and sidechain compression are very useful tools for producing. Let’s look into each one so you can implement it in your music production and build on your existing sounds.
If you’re new to using Track Stacks, we went into depth about the different types in a previous post: “How to Build a Worship Set in Logic Pro”.
Summing Stacks give you more flexibility to tweak sounds to your liking. Summing Stacks have the same inserts as normal tracks. A plugin on a Summing Stack will read all of the tracks as one track, therefore affecting the different tracks as a whole. This is great for tightening sounds and making them sound similar. For example, if you have two different bass sounds in your track, it may be a good idea to add them to a Summing Stack and place a compressor on that stack. The compressor will compress both sounds as if it were one, allowing for a tighter and more in-sync bass sound.
Another good compression tip is to use sidechain compression on certain tracks. Sidechain compression is a widely-known technique in production that allows for one track to become quieter while another track is playing. This technique is commonly used for sounds that are similar in frequency, such as the bass line and kick drum. The bass line and kick drum are both low frequency sounds. When they are playing at the same time, they can interfere with each other creating an unclear sound. What sidechain compression does, is every time the kick drum hits, the bass sound will become quieter. Once the kick drum hit is over, the bass sound will become louder again until the next kick. Now, when heard on its own, the bass track may sound weird as it will continually be getting quieter and louder, but within the context of the song, it will be less noticeable and allow for the kick to hit harder.
To use sidechain compression in Logic, place a compressor on the track that you want to become quieter every time the second track plays. In the example above, it would be the bass track or bass Summing Stack. Next, open up that compressor and find its sidechain settings. For the stock compressor in Logic, there is a drop down menu that reads “Side Chain:” in the top right of the plugin. Click the drop down menu and a list of the tracks in your session will appear. Then select the track with the sound you want to trigger the compression. In our example, this would be the kick drum track. The two tracks will now be linked. Tweak the compression settings to your liking and hear how it affects the two different tracks.
It’s as simple as that! Track Stacks and side chain compression can be very helpful in getting the sound you want in your song. Stay tuned for our next post on basic mixing and pre fader metering in Logic.