What are the specific steps to follow to apply advanced sidechain techniques in Ableton Live?
Advanced Sidechaining Techniques in Ableton Live
The use of sidechain compression in music production has always been a go-to technique. Its iconic ‘pumping’ effect – especially in the house, trance, and EDM genres – has become essentially a genre-defining element. Now, let’s dive into some advanced sidechaining techniques in Ableton Live to tweak your mixing skills to perfection.
Standard Sidechain Compression
Although this is a common method, understanding standard sidechain compression is necessary to cement more advanced techniques. To use this function in Ableton Live, you must use the ‘Compressor’ effect plug-in.
- First, load your chosen ‘Compressor’ onto the track you desire to be affected by the sidechain.
- Then, click the small arrow in the compressor’s top left. This will reveal the sidechain option.
- Activate the sidechain function by hitting the ‘Sidechain’ button.
Ghost sidechaining, or ‘dummy’ sidechaining, gives you the control to trigger the compressor whenever necessary, independently from the source track. This technique enables you to structure the rhythm and create dramatic drops without interfering with the main track.
Ghost sidechaining is relatively easy to implement. The key is to create a new audio track (which will be your ‘Ghost’ track). Load a simple kick drum onto this track, and program it to your desired rhythm. Finally, set the output of this track to be ‘Sends Only,’ so that the audible impact of the ghost track is nullified.
Sidechaining via Send/Return Channels
Another advanced sidechain approach is the use of Send/Return channels. This technique’s goal is to affect only specific frequencies of your audio signal, rather than the entire track.
To implement this technique, you’ll need to set up a new return channel. Load your desired effects onto this new channel, and then activate the ‘Sidechain’ button in the same way as standard sidechain compression. To clarify, the effect will only be applied to the audio frequencies you send to the return channel, providing a higher level of detail and flexibility in your mix.
These advanced sidechaining techniques in Ableton Live can make your mixes stand out by providing an enhanced level of control over your tracks. A mastery of these methods will offer a multitude of audible benefits as you fine-tune your sound to its absolute best!