Sidechaining a third party plug-in

  • Live Versions: All
  • Operating System: All

Sidechaining in Live 10.1 and later

Sidechaining is now simplified using the new sidechain routing panel on plug-ins, similar to that on our native compressors. 

Note: Sidechain functionality depends on the plug-in itself: if the plug-in does not already support external sidechaining, then the sidechain routing will have no effect. 

1. Add a sidechain capable VST or Audio Unit plug-in to a track.

2. Enable sidechain support within the plug-in GUI itself. This functionality will vary from device to device, so consult the plug-in manual for exact instructions. In this example, we're using the Izotope Neutron Compressor. The power icon needs to be activated and then the sidechain source is set to "Ext Full":


3. Create a track with a sound source to be used as the sidechain trigger.

4. In Live's plug-in GUI, enable "Sidechain". Then choose the sidechain trigger source in the "Audio From" dropdown:


5. Adjust the gain and mix as required.

Sidechaining in all versions of Live until 10.0.6

Although the sidechain browsing router is only available in Live 10.1 and later, it's still possible to sidechain 3rd party plug-ins in earlier versions of Live. In order to prepare for this, you should set up the following tracks:

  • A Track with a sidechaining capable VST or Audio Unit plug-in (in this tutorial, this track is named "Sidechain-Capable Plug-in"). Note that you may need to enable the sidechain in the plug-in itself.
  • A second Track with the source for the sidechain signal trigger (in this tutorial, this track is named "Sidechain Trigger"). When sidechaining a compressor this could be a kick drum, for example.
  • An additional Audio Track which is used to route the audio signal (in this tutorial, this track is named "Audio Signal Routing Track").
  • In case the Track's In/Out section is hidden press [cmd][alt][I] on Mac or [ctrl][alt][I] on PC.

How to route the sidechain signal from the sidechain trigger Track to the plug-in in the other Track

  • Make sure that the Monitor of the Audio Signal Routing Track is set to "In".
  • In the Input Type chooser of the Audio Signal Routing Track, select the Sidechain Trigger Track. The Input Type chooser is the top "Audio From" chooser.
  • In the Output Type chooser of the Audio Signal Routing Track, select the Track with the plug-in which should receive the side-chain (in this example "Sidechain-Capable Plug-in"). The Output Type chooser is the top "Audio To" chooser.
  • In the Output Channel chooser of the Audio Signal Routing Track, select the plug-in. The Output Channel chooser is the bottom "Audio From" chooser.


In the example above it's assumed that the sidechain signal itself should also be audible. However, in certain cases, the sidechain trigger signal is only used to trigger the plug-in, but it shouldn't be heard itself.

This routing can be achieved in Live with only two Tracks. The Audio Signal Routing Track from the example above is not needed in this case. The Sidechain Trigger signal can be sent directly to the plug-in by utilizing the Output Type chooser and the Output Channel chooser.


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