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Ableton 9 Tutorial: Sidechain – How to make Kick and Bass sound like a Pro

Ableton 9 Tutorial: Sidechain – How to make Kick and Bass sound like a Pro
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In this new tutorial dedicated to the electronic music we will see how the sidechain compression works and how to use it to improve the quality of your track. This tutorial can be useful for any kind of electronic pumping style of music, like techno, techouse, house, progressive, trance, dubstep and so on.

What is the sidechainClick here

The sidechain is applied when a sound modificate another sound. The sidechain compression is usually about ducking. It’s sound became popular with the french producer.

You can notice that the sidechain is applied when you hear the level of a bass or a synthesizer decreasing when the kick is played.
A famous example is the track Technologic from Daft Punk

Another good example is the track Chain Saw from Gee Van D

Sidechain compression for dummies:

For the purpose of the tutorial, we are going to see the most simple example of sidechain: Kick and Bass.

Let’s assume that we have 2 channels: the kick and the bass. We want to use the sidechain in order to decrease the volume of the bass when the click is played. In this way we can keep the total output volume higher and have a higher RMS level without clipping when the kick is added to the bass.

To do so, in the bass channel you need to insert a compressor. To enable the sidechain compression, click on the arrow in the top left corner, then select the kick as input source.

At this point, you can set the parameters of ratio, attack and release. Also the threshold is important: this allows you to control the amout of input that you’ll be using as sidechain parameter.

Here it is an example of how to set a basic sidechain compression in Ableton Live 9 using the native compressor:


ableton sidechain compression

This image is about a classic setting of sidechain compressor


Here it is a nice tutorial from Dubspot about how to use sidechain compression with Ableton:

Hope you enjoy this post! Please share or reply if you have something to say, questions or suggestions, please reply the post 😉


22 March 2014 Music Tutorial , , ,

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