Two Examples of Side-Chaining in Logic

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In this blog I explain side-chain routing in Logic by demonstrating two separate side-chaining techniques.  Side-chain inputs (also known as key inputs) are found on many dynamics processors of both the hardware and software variety.  These inputs are used as a way of “tricking” a device into responding to something other than it’s regular input.

Side-Chain routing in Logic – Example #1

My first example of this in the tutorial is keying a gate on a synth pad track from a high-hat track.  In most DAWs this is fairly easy to set-up.  Here’s how you do it:

1. First you will need to get the high-hat track to feed the side-chain input of the gate.  This is done using a pre-fader send on the high-hat track assigned to an un-used bus.  It’s best that the send be pre-fader because the threshold setting in the gate is dependent on the level of the side-chain input it receives.  Since the side-chain is being feed from the send on the high-hat track, if this send were post-fader any movement of the high-hat’s main volume fader would change the level feeding the side-chain input.  This inconsistent level feeding the side-chain could make it more difficult to find the constant threshold setting for the entire song.

2. Once the send is set-up on the high-hat track you need to tell the gate on the synth track where to receive its side-chain input.  To do this open the gate’s plug-in window and in the top right corner set the side-chain input to the same numbered bus you used for the send on the high-hat track.  Now adjust the threshold of the gate to taste.  Although faster attack and release times work best, try other settings as well.

Side-Chain routing in Logic – Example #2

My second side-chaining technique is more of a mixing than production technique.  In this example a synth bass track is masking the low frequencies of a kick drum track.  A compressor is inserted on the bass track and again a pre-fader send is used to send signal from the kick drum to the side-chain input of the compressor.  Using a fast attack and release time the synth bass now quickly ducks out of the way for the transient kick to cut through.

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