How To Use Sidechain Compression In FL Studio


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.


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44 Comments on "How To Use Sidechain Compression In FL Studio"

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Jon W

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.

Petri Suhonen

hehe 🙂

Yeah, sidechain compression is also a great way to make two bass heavy sounds like fat kick and loud bass work nicely together.


You rock Petri


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?

Petri Suhonen
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… Read more »

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.

Petri Suhonen

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 🙂

bob henry

cant put the sidechain in limiter to 1\

Ryan Gowler

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.

Jon W
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… Read more »
Petri Suhonen

Thanks mate!


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!!!!

Petri Suhonen


Yeah, the guys at Image-Line has made sidechaining very easy 🙂

paul cronin
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… Read more »
Petri Suhonen

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.. 🙂

paul cronin

that would be good,petri


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!

Petri Suhonen

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 🙂


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…

Petri Suhonen

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.

Petri Suhonen

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!

Petri Suhonen

Ok, glad you got it solved 🙂


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

Petri Suhonen

Thank you, I’ll try my best 🙂

Steve T

Thanks for taking the time to make a great tutorial.


Petri Suhonen

thank you Steve!

Rakam the Red

Amazing! Thanks a lot for all your tutorials. Great job bro

Petri Suhonen


Steve Vinx

Thank for your tutorials

Petri Suhonen


Joe Ezeh

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.

Petri Suhonen

Thanks for your comment, Joe! Yea, sidechaining is a must know stuff for every producer 8)


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?


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.


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????

paul b

thanks for that tutorial bro,, what do you think of the axiom pro ?


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…??

Siddhi Susant Behera

thanx sir , this tutorial really helped me and for my band to create songs like rap and hip hop as ………..


Your tutorial are sexxxxyyyyyyyy