Dimmer Setup Guide – Pro Tools
If you want to get Dimmer working in Pro Tools, you’ve come to the right place. For the Logic Pro guide, look here. If you would like a setup guide for a different DAW/OS, please get in touch via the contact form.
I’ll be showing you the setup with Pro Tools on Mac, using a stripped-down recording session (also used for the video), containing pretty much only what we need to demo the plugin. This example will be as if you are recording someone for a VO, but Dimmer can be used for other purposes too. You can get the session here.
The session contains the following tracks:
- Talkback: The engineer’s mic input
- Talent Mic: The mic input for recording
- Speaker Out: The master output to the speakers
- Record: Where the talent’s voice will be recorded to audio files.
- Take tracks, where you might drop the recordings, ready to record the next take.
Currently, if you have the talkback mic open, the talent will hear an echo of their voice coming out of the engineer’s speakers. So, let’s add Dimmer to Speaker Out in order to reduce that problem.
Dimmer opens up, with its four options (at the time of release), and the option for a ‘key input’. This will be a sidechain from the talkback mic.
Next, we must make the sidechain. We open I/O Setup and see our tidy bus layout containing just the three buses we are using.
We make a fourth bus for our sidechain.
And it appears in our list, currently unused.
We close the I/O Setup window and send our Talkback track to our new sidechain bus.
Unless you have changed your Pro Tools preferences, new sends default to silent.
So, we alt-click to set it to 0dB.
Then, we close the floating fader and our Pro Tools session looks like this.
We click on the ‘key input’ drop-down in the plugin window, and choose our sidechain bus as the ‘key input’ for Dimmer.
Once that is done, the indicator becomes functional and shows the amount of dimming happening – currently none, since our talkback mic is closed.
So, we open our talkback mic (don’t say anything yet!) and set the ‘Threshold’ to a little higher than the noise floor of the talkback mic.
The indicator will light up to show the Dimmer is being triggered, and the level of our main speakers will drop by the ‘dimming amount’ – 20dB here.
Once you’ve set that up, it’s probably useful to save a plugin preset that matches your talkback mic.
I use Dimmer to avoid echos and feedback loops, but you can use it whenever you want to duck any sound under another without the pumping effect of a compressor. For example, if you create podcasts or something with a similar ‘voice-over-music’ style, you can use Dimmer to duck the level of the music while you’re speaking.
And that’s it!
Here’s the whole process in a GIF:
If you have any questions or comments, or want me to make a guide for your DAW, please get in touch via the contact form. If you want my Pro Tools session, it’s here. If you want to try Dimmer, you can find it here.