Real Sidechaining


(KarplusStrong) #1

I hate to be “that guy” that brings this dead horse back to life only to beat it further, but I would like to see real sidechain compression in Renoise.

Yes, I know about the signal follower and hydra, and I realize that they are powerful effects.

Yes, I know that you can use one of these in conjunction with a gainer effect to get the “my pad is pumping with my kick” effect.

No, this is not sidechain compression. Here’s why:

Take a look at the compressor in Renoise. See that “threshold” control? That selects the amplitude at which attenuation begins. See that “ratio” control? That controls how much attenuation happens after the signal passes the threshold. At a ratio of 2:1, if the signal passes the threshold by 3dB, the compressor attenuates the signal by 1.5db. See those “attack” and “release” controls? They affect how quickly the attenuation happens once the amplitude passes the threshold, and how quickly the attenuation stops once the amplitude falls below the threshold. Some compressors have a “knee” setting that softens the “slope” change of the attenuation to make it less obvious. Wikipedia has a good article on compression that explains these controls in more detail. Although any given compressor may only have a subset of these controls, all of these parameters have an effect on the way the compressor processes a signal, in more or less subtle ways.

For those unfamiliar with the term, sidechain compression refers to using a different signal as the “control” signal for the compressor than the signal that is actually being processed. This has the effect of the processed sound being reduced in volume as the “control” signal increases in volume, but only according to the settings on the compressor. That is, the processed signal is only reduced in volume as the control signal passes the threshold, and the amount it is attenuated is related as a ratio to the amount by which the control signal exceeds the threshold.

Now take a look at the signal follower and hydra effects. Do you see any of the controls that are on a compressor? How about on the gainer effect? Only the attack and release, right?

This means that the with the current workaround, as soon as the control signal has any volume at all, the gain of the processed signal is attenuated. There’s no threshold, which means no knee. Also, while you have the option of changing the scaling of the input value (logarithmic, linear, exponential etc.) and the min/max attenuation values, this doesn’t easily translate to a ratio of (dB over threshold) to (dB of attenuation).

Thus, sidechain compression is not possible with native plugins only, despite what some have said on this forum, and I feel it is sorely missed.

The main reason why I bring this up is because I really like almost everything about Renoise, and am considering making it my main music making software (despite what I’ve said here, I love the signal follower and hydra effects, and wish there were similar devices in other programs). However, the lack of sidechain compression alone is a dealbreaker for me, and means that I have to export all my tracks and mix in another program that has native sidechain compression (any given compressor that is bundled with a DAW today has a sidechain input). This is a tedious step that I would like to skip if possible.

No, I don’t want to buy a VST compressor. If there’s a free VST/AU compressor out there that doesn’t suck and has sidechain input, please let me know, but I’d still like to have it native because I don’t like the whole “external editor” mode of dealing with VSTs.

Whew, sorry for writing a book.

TL;DR: Signal follower doesn’t have compressor controls (most importantly threshold IMHO), so sidechain compression isn’t possible. I would like to see it added.


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(Bit_Arts) #2

I second this request. There is nothing that really sounds like true sidechaining in Renoise. And even alternatively switching to a VST of your choice doesn’t work, because Renoise doesn’t support/can’t adress multiple audio ins, most often requiered by sidechain compressors. I recently bought one of the few external sidechain compressors, that come with internal routing and triggering for several instances and had to realize, it didn’t work with my OS anymore. Renoise REALLY lacks true sidechaining, which is imo a no-go in these days, where almost any modern EDM track makes use of it.

Edit: Just to add this. The one I’ve bought was Twisted Lemmon Sidekick v4, not working anymore on Win7 x64 (with Renoise as 32bit host). A few minutes ago I’ve tried the db audioware Sidechain Compressor, which also not works in Win7 x64 + Renoise 32bit.

These two are the only Sidechain compressors I know, that have internal routing and triggering. No internal routing possible, no external routing because of Renoise lacking the ability to adress multiple VST inputs. -> ATM it’s impossible to use real sidechaining in Renoise.


(Acidfire) #3

[s]Why does the signal follower need a threshold and ratio to use sidechain compression? Simply send the sidechaining track to the renoise compressor (which has threshold, ratio, attack, release and knee) and feed that into the signal follower. Then mute the send track.

Am I missing something here? I thought it was very obvious you actually need to put the compressor in the sidechain (the send track) and not try to use meta devices to mimmick a compressor.[/s]

Edit: See attempt #2 below


(Jalex) #4

because compressor after conction to signal folower workin uncorect, and sound have many cracle.


(Cas) #5

so Acidfire I’m not clear about whether you mean routing a Sign. Follower inversely to a Compressor’s Threshold or you are really just doing parallel compressing?

edit: I actually really don’t know what you mean, could you post a example xrns? Doesn’t need to have sample content but just the chains…

PS +1 for OP


(Thomas) #6

Wow ??
Can you explain that a bit acidfire.
I just send the signalfollower to a gainer.
Sensitivity is like threshold right
And there are multiple ‘knee’ types selectable too
There is also attack and release…
And I find the lookahead cool as well


(Acidfire) #7

Yes I guess I had a brainfart there ^^ Compressing the sidechaining track would do the opposite of compressing the track you want to be ducking of course…

Attempt #2!:

Use the formula device to cut off all sound below the knee (literally just subtract x% of the maximum) and feed this into the signal follower. This should be the same as using a threshold. Of course this is not a permanent solution since the formula device isn’t really supported…


(Suva) #8

When you use 64 bit plugins on 32bit renoise then the internal routing doesn’t work because the plugins are run outside the renoise. You need to use the same bit version of renoise as the plugin and then it works just fine:

64 bit Renoise + 64 bit plugin = OK
32 bit Renoise + 32 bit plugin = OK
64 bit Renoise + 32 bit plugin = NOT OK
32 bit Renoise + 64 bit plugin = NOT OK

Simple as that.


(Cas) #9

Too bad the formula device does not modify sound in any way it’s a MetaDevice… Maybe you mean Gate? That’s an option tho.


(Bit_Arts) #10

The plugins are both 32bit, running in 32bit Renoise on Win7 x64. And they both don’t work! Simple as that.

Anyway, when I turn off the “can run in multi processor environments”-option, Sidekick seems to work. Have to test this now. Would be way strange, because I hadn’t to switch this before on Win XP and Vista, both 32bit on a dual-core machine.

Update: Worked for an hour and then does the same crap as with multicore support. Each instance only triggers itself then. Btw… I don’t blame Renoise for this. These are known problems with the plugin (like with db audioware too) and Win7. Still it’s a fact, I can’t achieve sidechaining in Renoise, because Renoise itself doesn’t offer sidechaining, nor supports multiple VST inputs. A def lack.


(Acidfire) #11

Ah, that’s a problem. I should try to build these things before posting… I was thinking you could use a signal follower to feed the formula device raw amplitude and then use the signal follower again to use it’s attack and release… But the signal follower can’t be used on meta signals of course. So like the OP said, the signal follower should have it’s own threshold. Or there should be some sort of meta compressor.

Using a gate to raise to create the threshold sort of seem to work tho!


(Bit_Arts) #12

The formula device is indeed the thing to go with to help out with threshold for sidechain simulation. You’d have to trigger the formula device with the LFO or Signal Follower and cut the throughput (of the Meta-data that triggers the gainer then) at a defined point, which could be set individually by one of the remaining sliders.

Attack and release have to be defined in the LFO or on the signal follower then, like usual. In theory this could also be calculated within the formula device, but it’s accuracy is dependend on the TPL/LPB/BPM. So it’d be nonsense to define a few milliseconds as attack, when it takes a multiple times then to check the triggering signal and build an attack/decay ramp after it.


(delt) #13

I was just thinking about this yesterday… it would be nice if the compressor could use an external signal as source for its gain control.

/* EDIT */

by “external” i meant the signal from another track, not external to renoise as in plugins/vst’s etc… though i guess some people would find that useful too =)


(Daniel Karlsson) #14
  • 1 for true compressor sidechaining.
    I was very surprised when I first realised that I couldn’t do this with Renoise, and started running Renoise Through Logic to be able to use Logic’s (awesome) compressor.
    Now, I have to admit I have been playing around a bit more with the signalfollower/gainer method and actually got some nice results, but it’s still not the real deal.

Also, a little bit off topic perhaps, but I’ve got used to creating a group track in Renoise that I call “Duck”, put the gainer on that one and throw in the tracks I want to duck to the beat of the kick, or whatever, in there (I would never do that with a real compressor).
Sometimes I like to send things to let’s say a really long reverb and duck the reverb tail. What seemed obvious to me was to drop the send with the reverb into the “Duck”-group, but no luck.
Sure, it’s not really that much work to set up a hydra after the signal follower to make sure I have a bunch of slots available whenever ducking is needed on an extra channel, but I really don’t see the point why send tracks can’t be put into groups.
The abillity to do so would be really nice and simplify things.

Other than that I am super satisfied with Renoise and it’s totally taking over my life.
Sleeping, eating, cleaning, doing the dishes. All that belongs to the past now. :)
This is by far the most brilliant and inspiring piece of software I have ever bought, so keep up the good work developers!


(wubluv) #15

Density Mark III is a free compressor that’s highly regarded. I hook the Signal Follower/Hydra up to its “Drive” input, which is kept at 0 when the Hydra isn’t triggering (the “Range” is left turned all the way up). This, in effect, creates a compressor that does nothing until the “sidechain” input from the Hydra wakes it up.

I do agree, however, that even this solution is a bit hacky, and doesn’t provide true sidechaining like you get even in environments like Reason. I hope my technique helps someone, but I agree that I’d like to see more complete/traditional sidechain abilities in ReNoise.


(delt) #16

So is that a vst? If so, does it have a linux version? If so, what about people who don’t want to clutter up renoise with vst’s?


(ffx) #17

Please this now implemented in Renoise 3.01! Yeah! Compressors still sound much better in Logic and Cubase thanks to real sidechaining.


(Zer0 Fly) #18

As of possibilities, even if complicated and unfeasible…

So renoise can’t route other signals that pure stereo into a plugin? That’s bad, also for other things than sidechain-compression.

But renoise (at least on my linux machine with jack) can output a track or send track to virtual outputs? And receive via virtual inputs from the outside? So a workaround could be to output the signals to the outside of renoise, hook them into another plugin host actually capable of multiple inputs, and use the line input device to get the processed signal back into the software. Complicated because you’d need scripts and stuff to manage your projects without too much manual work. And limited in other ways, as for example no direct access to plugin parameters from renoise other than via midi, if supported by the other host.

No, not really fun this way. Please implement a solution for plugins with arbitrary number on input and output channels, and i’ll actually buy renoise. Doesn’t need to be full modular routing interface, just enable sending into plugins’ extra channels and from extra output channels to send tracks or some kind of “receive” devices. If you wine for having to detect bad routing setups, make up a strict left-to-right limitation.


(oneunkind) #19

I suppose you could try the old fruity trick of linking the envelope follower to the stock compressor threshold?


(ffx) #20

Real Sidechain of course sounds much better, because you can use the character of the compressor for ducking purposes. I never get very satisfying results using the signal follower, and I always get the character of this device.