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What does it mean to "Sidechain"?


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It means to send a plug-in some audio from another track, or from a Bus. That's useful for plug-ins capable of processing two audio signals at once, usually processing one depending on the contents of the other. Applications vary: vocoder (sidechaining a voice track to a vocoder synth track), compression (having the whole song, or just the bass, pump in rythm with the kick in dance music), effects, like routing a drum loop to sculpture and using the external disturber.


Here's an example: http://logicprohelp.com/viewtopic.php?t=2780

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this is vague.


basically you can have a device triggered by input from a track or input device.



say you have a bassline and a drum track (kick drum). the bassline is making the kick muddy, and the kick isn't punching through the mix.


what you do is put a compressor on the bassline track, and then have the kick drum activate the compressor via a sidechain. so when the kick drum hits it will dip the bassline in the mix.

so you would hear more of the kick and less of the bassline.


this is the most generic description and use of a sidechain. but a standard mixing tip.

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What is a sidechain?


Normally FX processors react to the input signal. (the sidechain is permanently linked to the input)


Example: a noise gate opens when the input signal reaches a threshold.


A seperate sidechain input allows you input-independent access to an FX processor's controls.


Example: a noise gate is triggered by another signal, distinct form the input signal - i.e a hi-hat is used to trigger a gate to open on a pad sound (not uncommon). . . or use a kick to compress everything else. . . . (also not uncommon)


This exists in the 'real' world. I used to use Drawmer gates for this exact 'triggered pad' effect, and equally, an EQ on a compressor's sidechain facilitate de-essing. . . .

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