The Easiest Sidechain Compression Ducking Tutorial Ever!

This is quite possibly the easiest to understand music production tutorial on how to accomplish a sidechain compression ducking effect for you projects.

[aside title=”Sidechain Simplicity!“] Just because it has a complicated sounding name does not mean that it needs to be difficult to learn![/aside] There are countless tutorials out there that show you how to work with sidechaining. A large majority of them are focused on ducking an instrument behind a kick drum. Unfortunately way too many of these videos and walkthroughs are a bit convoluted and make things more difficult to understand. There are really only a couple of steps to this process and this lesson will walk you through each of them as quickly and easily as possible.


Step 1. Create a Synth.

[audio:|titles=Sidechain Compression Ducking Synth]

Step 2. Create a kick drum. Set the output of this channel to a Bus/Aux. I have used Bus 1 in this example.

Step 3. Add a compressor to your Synth. Select Bus 1 from the Sidechain menu. Adjust the parameters to your liking. (every synth and kick drum is different. (THERE IS NO MAGIC NUMBER).

[audio:|titles=Sidechain Compression Ducking Kick]

Step 4. There is no step 4. But if you wanted to you could add some other elements to the mix, like some hi-hats. Or perhaps the rest of your song.

[audio:|titles=Sidechain Compression Ducking Full]

This effect is really that simple. It’s only three steps, and should only take you a few seconds to set up once you get the hang of it. There are many, many more things you can do using the sidechain feature available in all sorts of plugins and synths. But those are for other tutorials at a different time.

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