How To Use Sidechain Compression In FL Studio

44

Sidechain Compression

If you’ve been listening to electronic dance music for a while, I’m pretty sure you’ve noticed that “pumping” sound that a majority of the songs have – especially in house and trance music.


You can hear how the pads, the leads, and the bass line get sucked down every beat of a kick drum. That’s sidechain compression in action, and it plays a huge role in modern dance music.

Sidechain compression is a technique where the level of one audio signal controls the amount of compression applied to a second audio signal. That is how you create that – often called – “ducking” sound. In dance music, it’s common to sidechain the kick drum to a bass line, pads and/or a lead section to create that pumping effect.

In the video tutorial, I will show you how you can easily create sidechain compression in FL Studio. I’ve also attached an FL Studio project file (.flp) where the sidechain compression is all set. Download and open it to start experimenting. You’re going to need at least FL Studio 9.1 to be able to open it.

Download the project file here.

Share.

About Author

HowToMakeElectronicMusic.com (HTMEM) - A music production website with plenty FL Studio tutorials, interviews, news, free music production tips, and free downloads.

44 Comments

  1. That was the most complex bassline I’ve ever heard! LOL just kidding 😀

    That is a really helpful tutorial!!! I always end up clashing to many sounds with my kicks so it sounds bad. It also gives off more of a dance feel, but I guess that’s why its used lol.

    Keep them comming 😀

    Have a good one.

  2. imaROBOT on

    So how would you sidechain a bass without having the kick actually playing. Say you go into a break and don’t need the kick playing, but still need the bass line playing while sidechained. I’ve tried to just mute the kick, but that’s not working. Any ideas?

    • Hi,

      It’s quite simple actually.

      1. Open the Mixer View
      2. Click on the mixer track where your kick drum is
      3. Now, when you look at the master track, above that little yellow icon you see a volume knob. That’s a send knob which controls the signal level received from the source track (source track is kick drum in this case). Drop it to zero and you can hear the sidechain is still effective, but the kick is now muted.

      You can automate this to be used in breakdowns, offbeats and whenever. Just right click the Master Tracks send knob (when you’re in the kick drums mixer track) and select “Create automation clip”.

      Hope this helps. 🙂

      This was a very good question by the way. I’m going to add this to the tutorial.

      • imaROBOT on

        Wow I can’t believe I didn’t try that. Thanks for the quick reply. Very cool site you got here.

        Is that a M-Audio KeyRig midi keyboard you’re using in your studio? I’m look at getting a M-Audio Oxygen 49 or a Alesis qx49. Do you have any experience with these?

        You should post a video of you’re controllers/equipment, and maybe how to map them in FLStudio.

        • No problem 🙂

          I’m using M-Audio Oxygen 61 in my studio and I’m actually quite liking it. In my opinion it suits well in home studio usage.

          I haven’t tried the Alesis, but I’m pretty sure the Oxygen 49 has pretty much the same touch as 61.

          Thanks for the idea by the way, I’m going to actually do that in my future posts 🙂

    • Ryan Gowler on

      You could also go into the mixer and select gross beat to your bassline. It has a ton of different effects to add to it, but you want sidechain. Once you select sidechain, you will get a similar effect heard in this video without having to have the kicks play. You can do this with any sound in your arsenal. Hope this helps.

  3. I was actually wondering the same question that robot was hah, so thanks!
    Hey and Robot, I have the M-Audio Oxygen 49. I love it, although I haven’t programed the controls yet….it looks a little confsuing. But the keyboard alone saves so much time, especially with chords since you don’t have 3 or more mouses haha. I almost got a 25 key or 29…I can’t remember, but the 49 key is alot better, I just sit back on my couch with it on my lap, works great! It comes with a cd, I think it shows you how to program the controls but I just plugged it in right away lol.
    Anyways hope this helps a little….

    And Petri, your the best! Now I’m about to watch your house tutorial 😀

  4. OMG! Wow, that was so interesting and so nice and educational! Who ever that discovered or created this way of sidechain was a genius! Very cool! Thanks a lot!!!!

  5. paul cronin on

    there is a really easy way using peak cotroller this is a different way than most people use peak controller
    first put a kick drum in playlist and put peak controller on mixer channel 2,can be any mixer track then route your kick drum to mixer channel 2 leaving the mute on peak controller then in mixer channel 3 well call it sidechain add fruity compressor { by this time you should make a normal kick drum and pads hats bass etc in your playlist however you want obviously route them to empty mixer channels}
    so put a 4 kick on the first kick,the one routed to peak controller and have it go as far on the playlist your song will be,at the moment just do it for 8 bars underneath your pad or normal kick or whatever.
    now on the mixer, sidechain where fruity compressor is these are settings for fruity comp you can change if you want
    {RATIO:15. ATTACK 4.0 MS. RELEASE 90.MS } threshold is controlled by peak controller. now go to fruity comp and right click on threshold and click link to controller and choose internal controller half way down and choose just PEAK.then go down to mapping formula choose inverted click accept.then move base on peak controller up a bit about a third . then you have to send your pads bass whatever you want sidechained to sidechain,where fruity comp is just click on arrow above fx on mixer also deactivate the mixer channel fo the pad kick you are sending to comp.sounds complicated its not
    there is a video about on youtube probably easier to understand if you havent got a hang of fruity properly……

    • Thanks, Paul!

      Yeah, Peak Controller is another easy way to create sidechain compression. You already explained Paul, but I can post a video showing how to do it if anyone want’s.. 🙂

  6. Wow! just discovered your site and have spent nearly three hours just watching your tutorials, this one, definitely makes me write to you, thanks for this! I never knew how to do this!

    • Thank you, Charlee, I’m glad this helped you out! I think it’s essential to learn to use sidechain as it is a trademark on pretty much all electronic dance music styles these days 🙂

  7. A great way to sidechain indeed, but I encountered a problem. I wanted to sidechain a certain sound which also had a delay on it. This gave the kick which was sidechained into the delayed sound’s channel a delay too. Now, i could probably use another channel for every sound just for sidechaining, but is there another way? For now I’m back at peak controllers…

    • Hi, that is strange. The delay shouldn’t affect the kick. When you sidechained the kick, did you choose the “Sidechain to this track” or “Sidechain to this track only” ?

      • I don’t know anymore, actually. I think it was “sidechain to this track”. I can’t say for sure as I changed the sidechains in that song to peakcontrollers again. Does it make that much of a difference? I think your tutorials are great, by the way.

        • If you use “sidechain to this track only” it will send the signal to master track only through the track where you sidechained it though I’m not sure that’s causing the problem.. can you ‘replicate’ the problem with the native FL Studio plugins and send the .flp file to me so I could have a closer look?

          • I think I already found out what’s causing the problem. The problem was that I turned up the knob which regulates the intensity of the sidechained signal. That caused the kick to also go through the pluck’s channel, and thus have a delay effect. When I leave that knob on zero, sidechaining is still possible, without having the pluck’s fx on the kick.

            I really appreciate your help, but the problem has been solved already! Props to you for the tutorials and commitment though!

  8. Man i am so impressed with your tutorials. You make everything look so easy. I’ve learned so much. Keep them coming plz!!

  9. Joe Ezeh on

    Literally one of the most powerful effects in any kind of electronic music. Great tutorial. Really liked how you played with the limiter parameters at the end to show what they actually did instead of just a “copy these settings” type deal.

  10. So how would you sidechain a Lead Melody without having the kick actually playing? Say you go into a break and don’t need the kick playing, but still need the melody line playing while sidechained. I’ve tried to just mute the kick, but that’s not working. Any ideas?

  11. Awesome tuts.. I am impressed. But I would also like to know what tokiz asked, how to keep the melody playing without the kick actually sounding.
    Thanks a lot.

  12. Hey, I followed all the instructions and for some odd reason now I can’t hear the kick.

    I can hear the side chain happening to the bass but the kick sound is not playing.

    Can someone help me please????

  13. Hi…can anyone show me how to do a kick drum like Arctic Moon or TrancEye…. Those really in ur face type of punch kick drum…??

  14. Davekeyz Beat on

    U guys are amazing…. I love this site.. Thumps up to d admin, ur doing a great job.

Leave A Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.