External VST Side Chain In Da Vinci Resolve Fairlight With PatchWork

Some DAWs do not have the ability to provide a side chain input for third party plug-ins. Da Vinci Resolve is one of them: side chain is only available for the built-in compressor, not for VSTs. In this tutorial we are showing a technique to overcome this limitation, using the PatchWork and Connector plug-ins, in order to provide a side chain input to ANY plug-in (VST, VST3 or AU).

Let’s say the source for the side chain is Track A, while the destination to receive the side chain is a plug-in you want to add on Track B.

  • On the source track, place the Connector plug-in and set it up as a sender, in “app” mode.
  • On the destination track B, force PatchWork I/O to stereo side chain (4 in / 2 out), using the I/O menu button in the main presets LCD area at the top of the plug-in. It should now be ready to do side chain routing internally.
  • Check that the destination plug-in in Patchwork has 4 ins and 2 outs (click on the slot and select “Audio I/O”). If not, switch audio I/O to manual and select 2 ins and 4 outs. The plug-in is now ready to receive the side chain signal.
  • Right before the destination plug-in, insert the Connector plug-in, and set it up as a Receiver in App mode (same port number as the sender). It should be receiving the signal from Track A.
  • Now click on the receiver Connector plug-in and select Audio I/O. Choose manual, with 2 ins and 2 outs, and select channel 3 and 4 for both input and output. The Connector plug-in is now feeding the side chain channels.

And here you go, you should now have a side chain running between Track A and B, feeding the destination plug-in on Track B with the output of the source plug-in on Track A:

Here is a video about the same topic. It is actuyally a bit simpler as you do not need to use parallel chains as explained above, but it shows you how the whole thing works in Da Vinci Resolve.

This is a workaround for DaVinci Resolve’s abysmal audio routing and VST support. The workaround involves using Blue Cat’s Patchwork plugin for inner-channel VST side chaining and Blue Cat’s Connector plugin to route signals from one track to another (like to use a dynamic EQ on a music bus triggered by a dialogue bus).

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