How Sidechain Compression Works in Ableton Live 11 | Future Leo | Skillshare

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How Sidechain Compression Works in Ableton Live 11

teacher avatar Future Leo, Record Producer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (24m)
    • 1. Welcome to the Masterclass

    • 2. What is Sidechain ?

    • 3. Sidechain Compression Part 1

    • 4. Sidechain Compression Part 2

    • 5. Sidechain with the Gain

    • 6. Alternative Sidechain Technique

    • 7. Creative Sidechain with Effects

    • 8. Sidechain to make Space in the Mix

    • 9. Dynamic EQ and third party plugins

    • 10. Class Project

    • 11. Thank You for Watching!

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About This Class

Welcome to my Ableton Live 11 Masterclass completely about how Sidechain Compression works.

You'll learn every possible technique to achieve that pulsating effect present in almost all Dance/Electronic productions. 

Your Teacher:

I'm graduated in Electronic Music and New Technologies in a prestigious Conservatory, through the years I've worked with Billboard's featured artist, and gaining official support from big names in the dance music scene, like Martin Garrix and Sam Feldt.

This class is available to anyone who is a little familiar with the program, to beginner to high end users.

Why learn Sidechain Compression is useful?:

Nowadays, the sidechain compression technique is not only present in electronic music, but also in many modern pop productions, so mastering this technique becomes fundamental to compete with other commercial music standard.

I will not show you only the traditional way to sidechain, but also many other modern techniques to achieve the same effect with a more creative view.

Meet Your Teacher

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Future Leo

Record Producer


Hey, Future Leo here,

Artist and internationally acclaimed House Electronic Producer. I'm graduated in Electronic Music and New Technologies in a prestigious Italian Conservatory, passionate about dance music and music production, I started producing my own music, having great numbers just from the beginning. Through the years I've worked with Billboard's featured artist, and gaining official support from big names in the dance music scene, like Martin Garrix and Sam Feldt.

Now I landed on Skillshare to teach you all of my PRO tips about electronic music production!

See full profile

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1. Welcome to the Masterclass: Hi, I'm Future Leo. Welcome to my studio into my masterclass video series. We will be live everything above side-chain compression. You will learn out to utilize in your next production. I'm a music producer, good read it in electronic music and new technologies in the prestige that Italian conservatory. I've been producing dance music from a very long time. Many of my songs as being offshored, supported by artists like marketing areas suffer many others. Let's dive in to the masterclass. 2. What is Sidechain ?: What is a side chain? Side chain is a term that gets used a lot in modern music production is a key part of many common production techniques, especially in electronic dance music. But it may not as easy to understand, say, change if you never deal with them before. Even if you use the most common searching techniques, you are probably only scratching the surface of what possible. Using side chains. Chain is essentially an extra input to an effect per share, sir. That's not part of its main signal part. Such an inputs are typically found on dynamics processor like compressor and the gates. And the int is fx. We said chain signal is fed to the processor detector circulated to separate from the signal their fifth axon. And in this setup, the compression is just listening to the side-chain to decide how to effect the main signal. The advantage is that the side chain, it can be processed differently from the main signal part to get better results from the effector. And in this way, that might not sound very clear, but the best way to understand the side chain is through a sample. So let's start right now to listen. Typical docking, say chin effects. 3. Sidechain Compression Part 1: To demonstrate is effective, we're going to use this little setup that consists in our kick track that you're going to do a four on the floor kick pattern. That is going to sound like this. Very straightforward, very common in almost every EDM track. Underneath, I add a clap track that is not necesarily to the purpose of this video, but I wanted to add a little bit more rhythmical element. Just textured domain, musical element of this template is our ped, our synth pad data alone. It sounded like this. If I play it at the same time with the kicker, you can hear it's very static. Static sounding of paddle with no rhythmical element. And most important without the pumping, the pulsating effect you can hear in the previous video. To do that is very simple, enabled on that a lot of technique that we are going to see in the courts of our tutorials. For the first, the most simple and use just the side-chain compression with utilize the stock Ableton compressor. So let's go to our audio effects. Under the Dynamics folder. We can find the compressor and we can add it to our synth pad track. Let's go to our default view. There's three view in the compressor. So you may be in the default one. To do the side chain. You have to activate the side chain routing signal. And you can easily do by clicking on this yellow arrow. You can see it open. I said chin window. To activate it, we need to click on the side chain tab. In the audio from. We have to select our side-chain sorts input. So in this case will be our kick. Let's open the window and click our kick input. Now, if I click on this headphone button that we make hard to hear the side chain inputs. We will hear the kick. And also we can see it in the threshold bars selection. Now, let's mute this bed for now. For a little bit more clarity. Let me play. You can hear the difference because we have to put the threshold point below Dickey clever. More, we put the threshold down more, the side chain will be pronounced. So let's here. It's almost done. You're almost there. We can change some parameters like the ratio will be, how much the part will be compressed. For a more stronger feeling, we can augment our ratio like 10.19 is the same. Maybe let's increase our output level because when we compress, we reduce the output level to match the regional before the side chain. For a good searching, we need a fairly fast attack and release. Not too fast the attack, somebody like one millisecond will be very good. For release. A very, almost be very depend on the source material because if you have very long key, maybe we can increase our list. But in this case, 13 milliseconds, 40 will be very good for the final effect. We can activate now our club. And this is the way, the very simple way we can do it in Ableton using this stock compressor. 4. Sidechain Compression Part 2: Let's go for a second example that is very similar, but in some way very different. And they will let you understand that we don't need our static grid to make this side chain works these in. For example, I have the sync IQ, but in a different pattern. It's not foreign floor is not linear. Whitman and I have a piano track underneath. Now we're not going to use the standard compressor, but we can use also the Glue Compressor, which is an analog emulation of a very famous compressor. The process is almost the same, so we can expand our side chain input. Let's select searching the audio from. We can select our Keq input. Let's just reduce our threshold. You've done it also here. This is a very common technique user old zone, not also in EDM, but also in the ePub. Production is very, very useful in simple word that we can describe it as. We're going to make the space for the kick to breathe through. The, we need to remember that it is mostly our main important thing on the track, especially in electronic music. And we need to make each breath and say, chain is almost the best way to do it. 5. Sidechain with the Gain: If you need a little bit more control of the side-chain amount you're doing. You can also use volume automation technique. So let's see how we can do it. So we have the same kick clip pad. And for doing that, we need the utility device in Ableton is almost gain plug-in. Under our audio effects utilities, we can add the utility device to the, our pad track. We needed to go in the automation tab in able to live. Let's select the automation view. We click on the game. We select the first beat. Like this. We can, instead, we can also draw our sheep, but for the side-chain and needs, we can also right-click on the part we'd need say chin and select. It is wave shape. We have this one. Now if we hear the result, you can also take a look to our gain knob. You can hear the session effect now is a little bit drastic effect because it start with minus infinity dB with very, very low level. So we can increase the start level at, around that point. And now we can simply select our part and duplicate the rest of our clip. And if we hear right now, we have the side chain effect. This can be very useful in the, maybe the part of the data. We don't have the Keq playing, but we still need our pumping effect because now if I mute the kicker, the side chain will still continue to do. 6. Alternative Sidechain Technique: For remaining on this mindset that don't link the kick and the part at the same time, but still wanting the pumping effected is using Auto Pan. So let's go to grab our auto pan and putting on the pad. We can also solve the pylori. Now. We need to sync the auto pan in doing the main BPM and select our 1 fourth division. We need to increase the amount for the moment we can put 280% defeats if very important. To put at 0, we need to select our cascades shape and we can reverse it. Now, we have something like this. We are also FR, right now are pumping effect. But we can do more. We can do, we can play with the shape made very similar to the volume automation we had before. And we can also play with the amount. So maybe in subsection we don't have such in other we can increase it. The very extreme. 7. Creative Sidechain with Effects: In this example, I wanted to debt. You understand that it's not necessary to do say chain. We'd kick drum elements and melodic elements together. But you can use side-chain in a more creative ways. One very most user from the pro producer mixer engineer is a two, say, chin effects. Like in this example, we are going to side-chain the reverb on this vocal sample. So let's first of all, let's listen to the dry vocal sound. If I asked you. So it's a very dry vocal. I've set up a reverb sand and with a very long time of five seconds. And now I can send these vocal track to my reversible by increasing the send amount. Right now with fuel sand. I have this very long tale, but you can hear that delivery is almost covering the vocal. I want that. I want to maintain the Taylor, but I don't want to reverberate when the singer is singing it. To do that, I can go to my truck and grab my compressor. Now, I can say chain, the original vocal signal to just select our vocal track and reduce our threshold. If I asked you, you can already hear that when the vocal is singing, you're not hearing no more the riverbed and only when the vocal fit-out, the reverb tail come out. But now you can also hear a little bit of stuttering effect because we have a very faster releasing. Let's just increase the release time at around for other DBT. Second will be fine here. If I asked you. This is a very common technique used by many mixing engineer to clean up the vocal without losing this sense of space that we usually do. You can also apply this effect to not only river, but delay, flanging effect and many other creative ways. 8. Sidechain to make Space in the Mix: Now we're going to see a technique that make space between your instrument. For this example, we're going to make our vocal comes to the mix with the side-chain compression. So we have our loop, same loop with our vocal. To do that, we're going to group our instrumental, our pods and base. Let's press Command G to group book. Let's rename it to instrumental. Now, we are going to take our compressor and it puts it on the group. Let's activate our researching. And for the input, we are going to select the vocal track. In this way every time the vocal heater, we are going to apply Ali, just a little bit of gain reduction to our instrumental bus. Let's try, maybe let's reduce the ratio because we need a very gentle compression. If I asked you if I asked you, if I asked you if it is way, we have just a little bit of gain reduction that permit our vocal to come two more, two in the mixed. This is especially useful when we have a lot of instrumental track in the same frequency range. 9. Dynamic EQ and third party plugins: For the final part of this masterclass video, we're going to see some other methods to do say, chaining that is not possible with only using stock Ableton effects, but we are going to use only free third party plugin as the first example. We had bass track to our loop. We are going to use our dynamic EQ. For these purposes, we are going to need the TDR Nova, which is free. You can load on the bass track. And right now, if we play, we hear the bass is just static with no pumping effected. To do a little bit more precise and located the side-chain, we can use our dynamic EQ. What dynamic EQ does is when they keep heater, only 13 banded on dQ will gain reduction. The base frequency of the base, sorry for the repetition. To do that, we just use the side of the chin. The session inputs in the device enabled them to select our kick source. On the plugin. We're going to select it as a side-chain is source, the external side chain, the side chain that comes from Ableton. Right now. We don't hear any different because we can we needed to adjust our acute level. So let's go to our first acute. At around 100 hertz will be fine. We can select a different shape of the acute are low shelf in the details. And now we can activate how a threshold that will act exactly as in the compressor. Let's start our track and reduce the threshold. And you can visually see that as we reduce the threshold, only the first band will move. We can adjust those to the queue. It this way we say chain only the frequency they are interacting with each other on the kick and the bass and lead all the high frequency of the base comes to the mix. Another way to do with etc. Plugin is using an envelope follower. Let's keep our best truck is example. We can use another free plug-in called towel filter to get is very useful because you can draw your automation shape. Let's select the volume. So this is a shape with this envelope will control our volume. We can do something very similar to what do we do with the automation. We needed to select our 16 multiplier. And now we can just simply draw side-chain envelope. We can listen the result is very useful because you can adopt these envelopes to the sound. You are going to side chain. 10. Class Project: For the class project, I asked you to make our simple full bar loops with our main kick that will control all the side chain. And the other at least two musical elements, like a pad or obese as what do we want that user to? Different technique that we covered in this video to side-chain. If you want, you can also add the vocal sample to experiment with the side-chain reverb technique. 11. Thank You for Watching!: So for this master cast, hope you enjoy and hope you learned something. I highly recommend you to try these techniques in all your future production. Thank you again. See you next video.