Home > Tutorials > Tutorial: Sidechaining in Ableton Live 8
28 Jul

Tutorial: Sidechaining in Ableton Live 8

Ableton is probably the DAW with the easiest way to create the thumping/pumping effect of sidechaining. You hear this effect in heaps of today’s dance music.
This is what we will create today:


Sidechain tutorial for Ableton Live by Abletonation

Start with loading up a string instrument in a midi track. I chose “Stringmelody” from the Strings folder for this tutorial. Add a compressor by clicking and dragging from the Audio effects library to the track. Leave the compressor as it is for now. Add a midi clip by right clicking the first slot in the track and choose
“Add midi-clip”.

Stringmelody track with compressor. Click to enlarge.


Extend the clip length to 4 bars by entering the number of 4 in the length box to the left and paint in the following notes with the pen tool:

Click to enlarge

Paint in these notes or choose your own. Click to enlarge


Next add an Impulse drum rack and add a standard kick drum to the first box. There are some kick samples in the standard library, which one you choose doesn’t matter.

The Impulse track added. Click to enlarge


Add a midi-clip to the Impulse channel and create a standard 4/4  beat with the pen tool:

Standard 4/4 beat. Click to enlarge

After you added the beats you can mute the Impulse track. You don’t need the beats sounding to get the sidechain effect.


Go back to the string instrument. In the compressor window click the small arrow next to where its says “Compressor” to extend additional options. Activate sidechain by clicking so it turns to yellow. Choose “Audio from” to the Impulse. Adjust the threshold meter to get desired pumping effect, you can also adjust the output meter to get desired volume. These are my settings for this clip:

Compressor close up. Click to enlarge.

Please let me know if you succeeded in the comments below! Have fun!


Categories: Tutorials
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=550191946 Dani El Mauricio Hernández

    thanks dude…that work just awesome!!!!…greetings from colombia :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.sailings Brandon Sailings

    Great tutorial! You can also use the gate for sidechaining as well. A trick I like to use is sidechaining from impulse or the drum rack, then using the drop down box to select only the kick. That way you can make a drum track but still have just the kick giving the instrument that pumping house effect.

  • wolfspider