Different ways to sidechain?

  • #83456

    I thought there was only one way to sidechain? It seems there are other ways to sidechain.

    1. The way you show it in the videos.

    2. Xfer LFO tool or a vst like Nicky Romero Kickstart 2?

    3. Using a limiter

    4. Using a compressor

    Is there a so-called right or wrong way to use “sidechain compression”?

    GratuiTous Join Platform!

    Hey William!

    There’s LOTS of ways to sidechain.. the most important thing to understand about sidechain compression is “what is sidechaining actually doing?”.

    In short, you are just decreasing volume when another sound plays.

    For example, if a kick drum plays, we would use the kick drum to REDUCE the volume of the bass instrument.

    So in other words, you could just manually use your volume fader, but our human timing would never be able to get it right..

    So the next option is to use “volume automation clip for sidechaining in FL Studio”. This honestly is probably the most powerful way, because you have full control over the audio, but a bit tedious to set up.

    Using a compressor to do sidechain compression is a very easy “quick and dirty way” but doesn’t give as much control as the volume automation, because it’s based off the trigger of the kick drum.. whereas the volume automation is manually setting it up to how you want it to sound. (We’d also use ATTACK/RELEASE/HOLD to get the right pumping sound with a compressor).

    A limiter/compressor is essentially a very similar tool, so that’s why you can do sidechain compression with them.

    Also, a gate is a very cool way to achieve this volume pumping in FL Studio..

    The only thing to understand here is that not all compressors, limiters, and gates, allow you to do “sidechain compression”.

    The must be able to receive an “external sidechain”.

    For example, the Fruity Limiter allows for an “external sidechain”, however the “Fruity Compressor” does not.

    This “external sidechain” allows the compressor to see another source to reduce the volume of the sound..

    Example of External Sidechain Input:

    • BASS (has a compressor)
    • Set BASS compressor to receive KICK SIGNAL
    • Now, bass gets reduced when kick drum plays, based on compressors settings (threshold, ratio, etc).

    Hope that clears things up 🙂


    I didn’t think about the “volume automation technique” off the top of my head, that was a good reminder.

    Also, thanks to your advice I am more skeptical of plugin marketing because they all act like your DAW isn’t good enough to sell you their plugins. It is cheaper to use what is in the daw. However, as you have suggested, if you can find a high quality plugin that reduces your workflow then “do you”.

    I wasn’t too sure what to ask, but notice there are so many different ways to do the same thing. Thanks!

    GratuiTous Join Platform!

    No problem at all, great question!

    What I was trying to get across is that “sidechain compression” is actually just “turning down the volume”, and we can achieve that with a “volume automation clip”.

    From that point, it can get more advanced from there 🙂

    It’s just most tutorials don’t really understand what “sidechain compression is actually doing”, if that makes sense.

    Good question, keep them coming!

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