Side Chain Compression in Ableton Live

What is Side Chain Compression

 

Side Chain Compression enables you to have the compressor react from a separate signal then the one that is being compressed. In essence one signal will be ducking under the other. There are a few different uses of side chain compression. One of the classic uses is when A radio DJ and some Club DJ’s talks over a song that is playing. Wen the DJ talks there is a ducking effect on the music. This effect is automatic so the DJ does not have touch the volume fader when talking. Another classic use is the pumping effect that is common in a lot of EDM music. Every time the kick drum hits the side chain compressor reacts and creates A pumping effect on the other elements of the song. Most commonly the Bass but EDM producers usually pump the synths and pads to. There is also a way to use the side chain compressor so that sculpts the destination audio just a little but so that the source audio can stand out in a subtle way. A great example if this to keep the kick drum and bass form competing for the same space. you can side chain the bass to the kick drum, set a fast attack, fast release, and a lower ratio then you would for the pump effect. In the mix you wont notice the bass ducking but you will notice the kick having a little more punch. I tend to side chain each individual element of my mix to my kick drum, including my sends. I do this with fineness so that you do not hear any pumping in the mix you just hear a phat punchy kick drum. This technique can be used with any thing that you want to slightly stand above your mix. Some other examples are vocals as the source to compress a guitar or synth, in Jazz music you can set the side chain compressor on the lead instruments so it will stand above the others, when you want a lead guitar or synth to have more presence during the solo without having to turn it up, and much much more.

 

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