Tutorial - Real Time Side Chain Dynamics Processing

Tutorial Description

This tutorial shows how to perform side chain compression, ducking or gating with the Dynamics plugin and the Gain Suite free plugins. Side Chaining consists in using a track signal to control an effect on another track:

In our case, the envelope detection is performed on the source signal, and the gain computed by the dynamics processor is applied to the destination track.

This tutorial uses Cakewalk Sonar as a host, but you can use any other host provided it supports MIDI CC. For more information, check our other Tutorials for other hosts (the Digital Peak Meter Pro tutorials explain how to use MIDI I/O in many hosts).

Step By Step

01 - Insert the Dynamics plug-in on the source track:

Step 01 - Insert the Dynamics plug-in on the source track

02 - Open the presets settings window (right click on the background) of the Dynamics plug-in:

Step 02 - Open the presets settings window (right click on the background) of the Dynamics plug-in

03 - Setup the MIDI output channels and CC numbers for left and right total gain parameters:

Step 03 - Setup the MIDI output channels and CC numbers for left and right total gain parameters

04 - Insert the gain plug-in on the destination track:

Step 04 - Insert the gain plug-in on the destination track

05 - Open the presets settings window for the Gain plug-in:

Step 05 - Open the presets settings window for the Gain plug-in

06 - Assign the left and right gain MIDI input channels and CC number to the same values as the Dynamics output:

Step 06 - Assign the left and right gain MIDI input channels and CC number to the same values as the Dynamics output

07 - On a MIDI track, connect the Gain plugin MIDI input:

Step 07 - On a MIDI track, connect the Gain plugin MIDI input

08 - Set the Dry-Wet ratio to 0 on the dynamics plug-in so that the source track is not affected by the effect:

Step 08 - Set the Dry-Wet ratio to 0 on the dynamics plug-in so that the source track is not affected by the effect

09 - Hit play:

Step 09 - Hit play

10 - Tweak the parameters of the dynamics plugin on the source track, the compression is applied to the destination track in real time:

Step 10 - Tweak the parameters of the dynamics plugin on the source track, the compression is applied to the destination track in real time

Conclusion

You are now able to use Blue Cat's Dynamics plugin side-chaining capabilities. You can experiment the impact of compression, expansion or gating between different instruments, try mono/stereo or even mid/side compression (use the Widening Gain plug-in for such purposes). Note that the brickwall limiter is not taken into account in the side chaining process. So if you wish to use the brick wall limiter on the destination track, just instantiate a Dynamics plug-in right after the gain plug-in.

Any questions, comments? You want to submit your own tutorial to win a free license? Please post on our Forum!