Logic Pro makes side-chaining a fast, simple, and easy thing to do, and in this tutorial we’ll explain What it is, how to set it up with stock and 3rd party plug ins, and some of the lesser known side chain options we have in Logic. So if you are a VoiceOver user wanting to get a handle on side chain, this screen reader friendly tutorial is for you.
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Side Chaining at it’s core is using a compressor on one track, let’s say track A, however the compressor is listening to and reacting to another track we’ll say is track b. So although the compressor will be compressing track a, it’s listening to and reacting to track B. A classic use for this is on a bass track. The compressor will be placed on the bass guitar track, but side chained to or listening to/reacting to the kick track. This means every time the kick hits, the compressor will compress the bass track, causing it to duck down, and then after the kick hit, it will come back up to fill in the spaces between the kick hits. This allows for space for the two low end elements in the kick and the bass, and minimizes them clashing with each other.
In current day productions side chain is also used as a more audible effect. You side chain the compressor to something rhythmic like a kick or hi hat etc, and it will impart the rhythm of that part that it’s side chain to on to the instrument the compressor is on. This is because the compressor reacts to the track it’s side chained to, which will cause the track the compressor is on to pump in time to that rhythm.
In Logic, to side chain, you will select the track you want to side chain to from the pop up button found next to the pop up button where you can choose a preset. Once you have the track selected, you may have to choose in the plug in that you want to use the external side chain. In the logic compressor you just have to select the track you would like to side chain to. See the tutorial for details.
While the Logic compressor doesn’t necessarily do the best job of the EDM pumping effect, another option you can try is the Logic Noise gate, and the tutorial covers how it can be used as a gate or a ducker. Logic also has a ton of other effects that have side chain capabilities. Once you watch the tutorial, you will know how to spot if a certain logic effect has a side chain option.
In addition, there are 3rd party plug ins that don’t require side chaining in order to get the EDM pumping style effect, and if you are interested in seeing a tutorial on some of those then let me know.