In this tutorial I will show you how to sidechain in FL Studio. There are a couple ways to sidechain your sounds, in this tutorial I will use a method using only 1 plugin: Fruity Limiter. This plugin comes with every version of FL Studio. So it should be available for every Fruity user.
Note: This tutorial is made for FL Studio 12, but still applies to FL Studio 20.
What is sidechaining?
First of all, for those who don’t know; here’s a short explanation of what sidechaining is. With sidechaining you let a track (sound) influence another track.
When you link track A to track B, then track A will dip in volume to the amount you set the sidechain to every time track B is active.
A lot of EDM producers use it on their leads to make it “bounce” or to give the kick a bit of room. The best and easiest way to explain is with the two examples below.
This first example has no sidechain applied at all:
This second example has a sidechain applied to the synth track (As you notice, every time the kick hits, the lead dips):
Sidechaining can be used for a lot more than only a kick to a synth lead. However, this tutorial focusses on how to sidechain. So, let’s start!
1. Set up your tracks.
Make sure each sound has its own mixer track assigned. See image, where the kick is red and the synth is green.
2. Link your tracks.
Now click on your kick (red) in your mixer to highlight it. This will be the sound that influences the other track. Then right click on the little upwards arrow of the sound that you want to link the kick to, in this example the synth (green). Choose “Sidechain to this track”.
Note: If you want to cancel a sidechain, or you’ve clicked on the wrong track, simply select your kick track and then hit the little green arrow of the synth track. Now the link is canceled.
In the comments below Chandler asked how to use a sidechain, but mute the kick. Follow these steps to achieve that:
1. Select the mixer channel (track) where your kick is assigned to. In my example the red channel.
2. If you take a look at the image above, you can see that below the master channel there’s a green knob (bottom left of the image). Turn it down. This will mute your kick, but it will keep the sidechain.
3. Add Fruity Limiter.
Add the Fruity Limiter plugin to the track where you want to apply the sidechain to. In this example the synth track.
4. Settings for Fruity Limiter.
First of all set the limiter to Comp and then the sidechain to 1. After that you set your Ratio knob almost entirely to the right.
Now you can add the amount of sidechain with the Thres knob. When you play your song (or just the two sounds together), you can see how much the kick is making the synth dip.
Play around with the Threshold and Ratio settings to get an understanding of how it works and what amount works best for your track.
So this is how you sidechain a synth with a kick. However, like I said, there are more ways to achieve the same results and there are countless possibilities with sidechaining. This is just the most common way to use it. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop a comment below or contact us directly!