Sidechain Compression



It takes some practice to get a super-tight kick drum and bassline mix.

Usually the low end feels all mushy and flubby, and when you turn up the volume it just gets worse.

That's normal for beginner mixes.  Happens to everybody.

To really solve this problem you need to start doing sidechain compression in your mixes.


I can tell you from working as a live sound engineer and DJ'ing for the last 15 years, boosting up the bass EQ is not how to get the best bass sound.

That just makes a low-end soup that flubs around and roasts your sub amp (think of a DJ with all the bass EQ's up to max...  no good!)

What you need to do is CUT low-end elements out of the mix, so there's only one thing at a time happening.  Like time-sharing the sub frequency range.

And that is exactly what side-chaining does. 


Sidechain compression ducks one sound when another sound happens, and this hands-on session lesson takes you through the process of setting it up.

This lesson is different because you learn by doing it inside a guided Ableton session, not watching a video tutorial. (That's why I call them 'session lessons'.) 

Take a look at how it works in this preview vid, and plug in your monitors or headphones so you can hear the bass. 


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  1. You'll learn how to make your kick drum EXPLODE through the mix, keep your bassline and sub tucked right into place, and clean up your whole low end
  2. You will know how to get a tight and focused sound, not mushy and woolie, and hear your own original tracks make the room thump like every other song in your set
  3. Instantly dial in the right compressor settings to make your tracks pump and swell with energy, instead of sounding flat & lifeless.
  4. Stop being confused about what the right settings "should" be... No, Ableton's compressors are not the problem.  You just didn't know how to make it sound right.
  5. Learn how to setup a sidechain compressor the right way so you don't have to stop and google anything, or worse, sit through another video tutorial waiting for the missing piece!


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You get an Ableton Live Pack to download and keep, that comes with a built in SESSION LESSON to take you through the process.

It has audio instructions built-in:


They tell you the thought process behind everything we do, so you can understand it from the inside -- not just copying my settings.

voice guide

You see automated examples to show you the controls, and you do hands-on activities for practice, using the included Ableton Audio Effects and sounds. 


You'll learn how to make your kick drum louder in the mix, how to make your synths pump and swell, and even how to beatmatch your sidechain compression rhythm for super-tight tracks.

Sidechain compression is an essential production technique that you will be using in every session you touch.

And remember you're not buying a video tutorial, you're getting a hands-on Ableton Project where you learn by DOING IT.



If you missed out on the background compressor theory, you can catch up on it with these printable PDF guides that you find on the members' site when you get the lesson.


Attack, Release & Threshold: what to listen for so you can really hear these settings working.

inInput Filter Setup Process: reminder on what to do with the sidechain input filter and why it's so critical for beatmatching your compressor


How to Sidechain a New Sound: review of the process for doing this on any new session

There are a few more, and I know you don't want to sit around reading all day.  I just wanted to show you that this lesson goes DEEP.

If you only got these compression guides, and followed the written instructions, it would be worth the price!

But the hands-on lesson inside Ableton is what really makes it stick in your head.



You'll learn sidechaining with this FX rack that comes with macro knobs all mapped to the essential controls you need.  You just drop it on your bassline channel and dial in a few knobs.

This will let your kick drum be big and powerful in the mix, without making your bassline weak in comparison.

Sounds pretty good right? 



  1. Attack Time to use so it doesn't click
  2. Ratio and Threshold settings to use
  3. How Release Time works with bpm
  4. Input Filter details to control gain reduction
  5. Technical sidechain settings for kick drum & bassline mixing
  6. Creative sound design FX with sidechaining to make your reverbs & synths pump & swell

Trust, me, the best way to learn this is by DOING IT inside Live.

Don't waste any more time with a crappy low end that sounds all floppy and loose.

Get your kick drums bumping like you want them to!


  1. You need Ableton Live9 or Live10 to do this Project. You won't be able to open it with Live8 or anything earlier
  2. You need a basic understanding of how to use Ableton, for example launching scenes and tracks in Session View, and using macros in the Ableton FX racks
  3. A MIDI controller that has 8 knobs is helpful, but not necessary
  4. For listening, all you need is a pair of headphones.  Studio monitors or subwoofers are not necessary
  5. The Activities take less than one hour to do.  After that you should expect to spend several hours practicing what you learn, on your own music, to achieve best results.
  6. Key commands are for Mac, lessons work on both PC and OSX. 
  7. Instructions for download and installation are included in each lesson.  You need to be familiar with downloading, saving and backing up Ableton Projects on your music computer.


If you buy this lesson and for some reason it does not make your tracks sound better, just let me know and I will help you get it working.  You get personal 1-on-1 support when you buy my lessons. -Steve


  1. Check out using the secure payment form below. 
  2. Choose one payment or rent-to-own for $25 per month.
  3. Select the option for your credit card or Paypal and complete the purchase.

You'll get instant access to download the Live Pack, all the course materials, and instructions.



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Downloads Here

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Click the green “View Module” button to get started with the lesson download and instructions.

Compressor Theory & Tips

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Read through these lessons to get more of the audio engineering theory behind using compression, and to review what we did in the Live Project.

Sidechain Compressor FX Rack

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Here's the FX rack and installation instructions for how to drop it into any session you're working on.  Faster workflow using presets!