Voiceover Gating with Sidechain (Pro Tools Version)

Hey guys, Richard Dolmat here from
Digital Sound Magic Recording Studios www.digitalsoundmagic.com how you doing? It’s an awesome sunny day
here in Vancouver Canada so I’m glad you guys can join us. Today
we’re going to be doing gating, voice-over gating specifically
for spoken voice. Tthis is a somewhat complex technique
that we use to do gating on voice-overs when it’s a long project, so for example we won’t be doing this if we’re doing
vocals in a song or if we’re doing a 15, 30,
60-second spot we would just do those by hand. I’m
talking about. taking out the breaths in between the
voice; inhales, exhales, lip smacks, all that other stuff that
people don’t really wanna hear when you’re doing commercial spot. But for this particular purpose we’re going
to use a somewhat automatic method for doing
this which is extremely helpful for the
larger projects such as your six-hour audiobooks or your one
hour meditations, things like that that are pretty much
just plain voice, with no bed music, no backing tracks
beneath them to help mask all that noise that’s
in-between. Today I’ll be using Pro Tools for Mac I will also be doing a Cubase for Windows
version and from those two anyone else who’s
using Logic, Samplitude, Reaper, any the other
stuff…other programs, they can just adapt how you need. But
everything, all those programs nowadays are able to
do this kind of process. Voice-over gating! Let’s take a look. Pro Tools here we go. So I just have a
quick track, we did this track with a voice talent somewhere in the States,
somewhere down south through Source Connect. And we had the
producer in our studios and we connected with the voice talent there. So you can see hear that there’s some direction, …some direction going on there so of course first thing you need to do
is remove all that stuff. That stuff you could do by hand or you would mark it when you’re
recording with the talent to edit it out later but I’ll take that
out. I’m going to keep some of the head and
tail here just so you can hear what the difference is when the gate’s working and when it’s
on or off. You can hear…have a listen to this
quickly “…now listen to the whole lesson in your other
ear… this time you don’t need to repeat what
you hear” You can hear there’s some lip in there, there’s a clock noise, I’m not sure exactly what kind of …um… I mean we might have recorded this just
straight through Source Connect or Skype and then got the
his original wav files FTP’d later. Regardless, there’s some noise
in there that we need to take out. So instead of going to our track here putting in the gate and being
done with it, what I’m going to do first is I’m going to copy
this track, duplicate the entire track… bash! there we go and let’s call this
“side-chain feed”. This is going to feed the gate that we’ll
end up putting on our original voice track. So let’s take the output, instead of going to our main outputs here in the FireFace or whatever you have to use, let’s go to a mono bus: bus-1 sounds good to me. W’re only working
in mono here so we’ll just keep using mono buses. So now it’s going nowhere but
the bus the bus need somewhere to go. Let’s set
up a gate in the original vocal track here plugin “dynamics”. I’ll just be using, I mean I love
the default Pro Tools plugins. 99% of the time I’m
using that, unless I want something specific with one of the UAD
plug-ins or any other ones that you can buy on the market. “Expander gate”, there we go, perfect. Ratio: you could go absolutely hard if you want, I don’t see
a point to do that but it’s up to you, anything you want to do. Let’s not worry about
the rest of these controls just yet let’s first setup our key. So here’s our key, this is what signal is
going to open the gate for us. Quite often people will use this
musically, so you have for example back in the day in the 80’s 90’s you’d have a pad or strings going on a keyboard and
you would gate that or trigger it with a hi-hat or
snare, I mean it’s just…the way you could reroute reroute the sounds is awesome. But let’s just take our simple bus-1, bus-1 which is coming from the output
of our sidechain feed channel here, the one we won’t actually hear, but its
important to use. So bus one’s coming out into our gate which is on our original vocal
track that is going to be used to trigger
open/closed our gate. So we need to make sure that we have our
sidechain set to use the key. Instead of listening to its
own track, now it’s waiting to hear the sound
that’s coming from this track. Might be a little confusing but just
keep following along its not too difficult. So that’s step one! We’re 90% there already. (save because I save all the time). The next step is: if we go in here we have a look, we can see that we’re
lined up. What we want to do is we want to make sure
that this sidechain feed, the feed that we use to open the gate on the original
track, is advanced by a bit. You can do it this
way, you can actually physically move that
region over, but when you have a long project that’s
eight hours long I can guarantee you’ll forget one region
and then your whole thing’s gonna be messed up. Let’s undo that. An easier way is to set a delay on your original track. “Delay>time adjuster” ..ah let’s just pick that one. and let’s do something like… in Cubase, it’s actually easier in Cubase,
because you can advance or delay a track with the built-in channel in Cubase. But here we have to do it this
way. In Cubase I prefer to advance the gate track so this original track
remains locked to the time line. But in Pro Tools
we’ll do it this way. Yes, you can group all this together and
all that stuff but just believe me. Here we go. Let’s do it about 4000 samples put that away and let’s hear what we’ve
got. I’ll open up this gate here. “…now listen to the whole lesson in your
other ear this time you don’t need to repeat what
you hear” Not bad. Its opening nicely. Iif you find that this gate is opening too early and you’re
getting a bit of the breath still, very easy solution: all you need to do is just
adjust your time quicker. “…now listen to the whole lesson in your other ear…this time you don’t
need to repeat what you hear” Okay so we can hear that the end to the
phrases are getting cut off the gate’s closing a little too early, and it’s also closing in between the words, so we don’t want that to happen. What we want to do is adjust this by adding more “hold”, we’re moving this knob
up here 200 maybe 150 about there, I find that’s
good starting point it depends pretty much on the source
like anything in the studio, everything depends on
what you have to work with. Let’s have a listen to that that “hold”
will affect how late the gate closes as well so let’s
start with that. “…now listen to the whole lesson in your other
ear… this time you don’t need to repeat what
you hear” Not bad, not bad. I can even lower
some of this threshold a bit to catch some of the ah, the ending and we can add a bit more
release “…now listen to the whole lesson in your other ear…this time you don’t
need to repeat what you hear” Awesome. I’m quite happy with that. And
there you have it! In my opinion, the best way to gate any
voice-over and of course you could always just…when
you’re done you can just hide that track and you’re back to normal. Nice and
clean “…listen to the whole lesson in your other year this time you don’t
need to repeat what you hear” Let’s bypass this gate and hear what we got “…now listen to the whole lesson in your other ear…this time you don’t
need to repeat what you hear” Quite a difference. There you go. It’s as easy as that. Don’t forget to
check us out on our website digitalsoundmagic.com we’re going have more tutorials more blog postings, a bit have everything for everyone. We love to hear what you’ve been up to. Subscribe to our YouTube channel let us know what’s going on. We’ll keep
you posted with our workshops: were going to be having here at the studio. Exclusive workshops for 5
students at the most. Hands-on with real clients doing and applying these techniques in real life and not only with the
promise that you’re going to become a producer for Kanye, but how to actually make money from your
studio and from engineering, whether it’s doing voice-overs for a
client or audiobook recordings, or producing music. This is something for everyone. Keep in touch with us have an awesome

4 thoughts on “Voiceover Gating with Sidechain (Pro Tools Version)

  1. That's very ingenious and effective Richard.  Then I found myself asking why on earth does software as advanced as ProTools not offer a lookahead on its gating, so it is not 'caught out' ?   The simple default mac AU dynamics processor effect does, therefore words begin clean just as they should. Agreed you can only adjust threshold and ratio, but the hold time is well judged so you don't on the whole lose terminal k's and t's.

  2. This seems way more complex than it needs to be. Just insert Izotope Alloy on your original track. 

    Bob is now your uncle.

  3. I'm still exploring advanced techniques in my tool of choice – Adobe Audition CC.  Any pointers for that app?  Thanks!

  4. Hi Richard,

    Thanks for that excellent tutorial! Why don't you just gate the source track itself with the audiosuite plugin and render?

    I'm a medium beginner Pro Tools user and a voice actor doing audiobooks at the moment.

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