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Setting up side chain effects easily

From: Ableton Live 8 Essential Training

Video: Setting up side chain effects easily

Side chain effects processing can be used to create useful and interesting effects, but it is often perceived as difficult to set up. Let's take a look at couple of classic side chain effects and see how easy they are to set up in Ableton Live. So side chain processing uses the signal from one track to trigger or modulate an effect on another track. In this first example, on the synth pad track, I've got a sustained synth sound. Let's hear what that sounds like. (Music playing.) Okay. And I will flip quickly over to the MIDI Editor on that clip, so that you can see that I've got a whole note drawn in on this track.

Setting up side chain effects easily

Side chain effects processing can be used to create useful and interesting effects, but it is often perceived as difficult to set up. Let's take a look at couple of classic side chain effects and see how easy they are to set up in Ableton Live. So side chain processing uses the signal from one track to trigger or modulate an effect on another track. In this first example, on the synth pad track, I've got a sustained synth sound. Let's hear what that sounds like. (Music playing.) Okay. And I will flip quickly over to the MIDI Editor on that clip, so that you can see that I've got a whole note drawn in on this track.

Here's the virtual instrument, and what I want to do is I want to add an effect after that that will actually cut off the sound. So I am going to go up and grab a gate and drop that on the track after the Pad. Now what a gate normally does is attenuate a signal that falls below a certain threshold. In this case, I'm actually going to use a signal from another track to set the level that I want to come through, and then when that other signal is not present, the gate will actually shut down and close off any sound coming through the track.

So what I'm going to do is open up the Sidechain button here, so that I can see the side chain parameters. I'll turn that on, and then I'm going to actually tell it to look over at a drum track that I have got on the first channel. So what I need to do is have a signal that's present on that channel that then can trigger over here. So I am going to this first clip, and if I go over the MIDI Editor, I can see that there's currently no notes on that track. So I am going to choose something like the kick or snare that's got a really nice attack, so that I have a note that will then be sent through the side chain over to the synth pad track to trigger the gate.

So I going into Draw mode, which is Command+B, or you can click the little button up here--that would be Ctrl+B on a PC-- and I am going to click it and every other note to start off with. Now what I want to have happen is every time this kick hits and it sends a signal through the side chain over to the synth pad track, the gate will open and let the synth sound through.

But every time that the note is not present--every other 32nd note--that gate will swing shut, and it should stop the sound coming out the synth pad track. So let's go back to this other clip, into Device view. So I have got the Side chain on, I have get it set to Beat Bugs, and let's here what this is going to do. So I am going to trigger both clips here. (Music playing.) So we can hear it pulsating in time with those kick hits. Now if you want, we don't actually need to hear the kick sound.

I can actually disable that track. The signal is still can go through the side chain, and I'll still be able to hear this trigger, that pulsating effect on the synth pad. (Music playing.) So some things you might want to consider here in the gate plug-in: You want to make sure your threshold is below the sound of the signal that's coming through. In this case, it's already set there. And then you can also use your attack, hold, and release times to determine how much of the sustain that you're getting on that synth pad track, or how staccato that sound is.

So first of all, I'd probably dial the attack time pretty fast, because I want the gate to react as quickly as possible to that kick note that's coming through the side chain. (Music playing.) So you can hear we are getting a much clearer attack now. The next thing I'll do is I'll go down the hold parameter. Each time the kick note comes through, the gate swings open, and the sound is allowed to come through. When the kick note stops, the gate is supposed to close, but the hold parameter will actually hold that open for a user-defined amount of time.

In this case, we can use that to determine how much decay that we actually want to hear. So let me play the track, and let's listen to what that's sounds like. (Music playing.) So you can hear that getting more staccato or more sustained, or legato. In this case, just to review, the gate is used to open and let sound through each time a note comes through. Now, in another case, we may want to actually compress a sound, or reduce the level of a sound, each time a note comes through.

So let's take a look at what's happening on the second clip and on this brass track. So in this case, I've got a brass sound, and let's hear what this clip sounds like. (Music playing.) So we can hear that that's a sustaining sound. Now over on the kick track, I've got a kick that's hitting on the beat: 1, 2, 3, and 4, like a classic electronic kick. And what I want to have happen is I want the sound to dip each time the kick comes through, so that we get that really strong pulsating kick that you expect to hear in electronic music.

So what I've done here on the brass track is after the virtual instrument here, which I have got minimized--I will minimize that again--I have got a compressor. And again, the compressor does have side chain processing. So I'll click and I will open that up. I am going to enable the plug as well. I've got side chain enabled, and I've got it set to accept signal coming in from Beat Bugs track. So this is a little bit different. Each time the kick hits, it's now going to push down the volume on the brass track.

Let's hear what that sounds like. (Music playing.) So now you hear the sound kind of pulsating off the beat. And if I turn back on the kick, we can hear the kick come through nice and strong. (Music playing.) And again, I am going to use the attack time to set how quickly the compressor pushes down the sound and lets that kick come through. So in this case, I have got it dialed all the way down.

And the release time I can use to set the sustain, or how long that kick is going to actually compress this other sound. So let's see how that sounds. (Music playing.) So you can hear that if I actually set that release time even longer, you start to get a very, very interesting effect. So side chain processing can be used in so many ways that its only limitation is our own imagination. So experiment with the technique, and have fun.

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This video is part of

Image for Ableton Live 8 Essential Training
Ableton Live 8 Essential Training

69 video lessons · 17250 viewers

Rick Schmunk
Author

 
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  1. 1m 30s
    1. Welcome
      49s
    2. Using the exercise files
      41s
  2. 8m 43s
    1. What is a digital audio workstation?
      4m 13s
    2. Choosing the right gear and setting up a system
      4m 30s
  3. 12m 59s
    1. Setting up audio preferences
      3m 54s
    2. Setting up MIDI preferences
      3m 31s
    3. Optimizing performance
      5m 34s
  4. 35m 42s
    1. Understanding Session view
      8m 7s
    2. Working with Live browsers
      5m 3s
    3. Working with Live clips
      7m 57s
    4. Understanding clip properties
      7m 52s
    5. Working with Live scenes
      6m 43s
  5. 28m 16s
    1. Building Live Sets and projects
      4m 25s
    2. Learning Live file management
      4m 2s
    3. Exporting content from Live
      7m 32s
    4. Importing and exporting Live Packs
      3m 17s
    5. Searching for and auditioning clips
      4m 58s
    6. Setting up frequently accessed folders
      4m 2s
  6. 23m 3s
    1. Preparing to record MIDI
      5m 51s
    2. Recording and overdubbing MIDI
      4m 32s
    3. Working with alternate MIDI entry methods
      6m 49s
    4. Using multi-output virtual instruments
      5m 51s
  7. 24m 26s
    1. The MIDI Editor
      4m 49s
    2. Quantizing MIDI data
      6m 6s
    3. Advanced MIDI editing
      6m 49s
    4. Setting up groove in editing
      6m 42s
  8. 9m 18s
    1. Preparing to record
      5m 0s
    2. Recording audio
      4m 18s
  9. 22m 37s
    1. Understanding Arrangement view
      3m 41s
    2. Recording in Arrangement view
      3m 51s
    3. Recording from Session view to Arrangement view
      5m 21s
    4. Reworking clips
      9m 44s
  10. 27m 57s
    1. Understanding Live's mixer
      12m 38s
    2. Using sends and returns
      3m 47s
    3. Building headphone cues
      3m 49s
    4. Grouping tracks
      7m 43s
  11. 43m 14s
    1. Working with effect devices
      4m 56s
    2. Understanding EQ and filters
      7m 14s
    3. Using compressors and dynamic processors
      7m 28s
    4. Building interesting effects with delay effect processing
      8m 18s
    5. Using reverb effectively
      8m 22s
    6. Setting up side chain effects easily
      6m 56s
  12. 15m 37s
    1. Creating rhythmic patterns with the Arpeggiator effect
      8m 38s
    2. Building background parts with the Chord and Scale effects
      6m 59s
  13. 25m 24s
    1. Building automation patterns
      8m 44s
    2. Editing existing automation information
      5m 3s
    3. Using fades to mask audio pops and clicks
      4m 10s
    4. Understanding the power of clip envelopes
      7m 27s
  14. 20m 17s
    1. Understanding the basics of looping
      6m 54s
    2. Creating tracks that loop smoothly
      7m 50s
    3. Using warp features to quantize audio
      5m 33s
  15. 17m 47s
    1. Using the computer keyboard to control Live
      6m 39s
    2. Mapping device controls to the MIDI keyboard
      4m 36s
    3. Using Live's instant mapping feature
      6m 32s
  16. 10m 44s
    1. Exporting audio
      5m 37s
    2. Freezing tracks
      5m 7s
  17. 20m 45s
    1. Building with the Impulse virtual instrument
      11m 35s
    2. Working with the Simpler virtual instrument
      9m 10s
  18. 36m 22s
    1. Overview of Live racks
      10m 13s
    2. Combining instruments and effects into a single device
      8m 22s
    3. Adding effects with Drum Rack
      11m 28s
    4. Assigning rack parameters to macros
      6m 19s
  19. 13m 53s
    1. Setting up ReWire with Pro Tools
      7m 3s
    2. Setting up ReWire with Logic
      6m 50s
  20. 33m 43s
    1. Preparing audio clips with the Warp tool
      14m 31s
    2. Triggering clips using follow actions
      8m 9s
    3. Using Live as a sound source
      11m 3s
  21. 7m 21s
    1. Working with video files
      7m 21s
  22. 37s
    1. Further Recommendations
      37s

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