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Sidechaining is a production technique that uses an audio track to trigger an effect, using an alternative audio source to trigger a processor. The alternative source is set to a threshold, which when exceeded activates the effect. You feel and hear this most often in EDM, the bass ducks a bit allowing the kick to punch through the mix. Allowing the dynamic volume output of the kick when the bass is being played. This is a great place to start becoming familiar with sidechaing. It can be used for a variety of instruments and effects, feel free to experiment.
You can apply these tips to any DAW. I’m working in FL as I write this. Therefore I will describe what I am doing in this particular DAW. Make sure each sound has its own mixer track. FL has a great mixer. We want to link our kick to our bass. Now click on your kick (teal color in pic) in your mixer to highlight it. Then right-click on the little upwards arrow of the sound that you want to link the kick to, in this example the bass (red color in pic). Choose “Sidechain to this track”.
Sidechain to Bass
Add the Fruity Limiter to the track where you want to apply the sidechain to. In this example the bass track. Set the limiter to “Comp” and then the sidechain to kick.
Route to Kick
Now set your Ratio knob almost entirely to the right. You can add the amount of sidechain with the Thres knob. When you play the two sounds together, you can see how much the kick is making the bass duck. Play around with the Threshold and Ratio settings to get an understanding of how it works and what amount works best for your track!
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