Sidechain this XRNS

I read and have been applying all your sidechain tips you guys gave me earlier in the week. I just can’t get my bass to go into a groove. I’m six hours deep and just got my head on the desk. I’ve copied this guys tutorial note for note, the only difference being he’s using Logic Pro X.

He sidechains through a compressor to get a fantastic bass groove. You can hear it at the link below. It just grooves. I see what you guys were talking about when you said sidechain is essential. You weren’t kidding… When I sidechain through the compressor with the exact same compressor settings it sounds like doo doo. It reminds me of when I used to pump the volume on my walkman to pretend I was a DJ.

If you would try and sidechain the song I posted below (a copy of the tutorial) it would be a good challenge. PS - I also did the default Renoise sidechain with the gainer and that sounds just as lame.

Is it possible to get this same groove? I did 95% of the work already.

I don’t have the instrument you used so I can’t hear what the bass sounds like but that looks like a very strange way to attempt sidechain compression. Renoise can’t do proper sidechain compression but it can some things kind of similar. There are a few ways to approach it. Look at the attached project, enable the gainer on the bass channel to hear volume based ducking or enable the eq on the bass channel to hear it ducking the low end on the bass rather than the whole signal. Neither is particularly well set up in this example but you get the idea. You could also try duplicating your kick channel, muting the output and changing the sample to something much shorter to get a more responsive trigger for the sidechain.

Try something like this, alternatively, simply use a different free daw with audio routing separately once the song has been composed.

Traktion 4 is free and reaper can be free, depending on your conscience.

I am using Eatme’s Groove3 file with his signal follower technique. It sounds good, but I wanted to change the signal follower settings to mimic what the Renoise tutorial shows (I liked that sound a little better). The renoise signal follower suggested settings for Sidechain are seen in the following image. Note some values are not zero and although the sliders appear to be zero they are slightly higher.

The only problem is these settings only work on the Renoise default tutorial sidechain XRNS and these settings produce zero sound off of my song, posted below as Groove4. What’s going on here? Why do the settings work on Renoises Tutorial but not my jam?


open LP filter all the way up. In this way the side chain will react on nothing… You can activate the speaker button right above to hear what your filter settings sound… Sensitivity around middle.

You might get a bit further by trying to understand what you want to achieve and the thinking about what would need to happen in renoise to make it happen. Blindly copying settings is just confusing you, especially when you don’t understand what the settings are doing. The settings in that image look they the source material is a drum loop, the filters used to isolate the kick. Unless you’re using a loop then the filters are (more or less) irrelevant for simple sidechaining kick to bass. Settings for sidechaining in general are extremely subject dependent, attack, release, and threshold, will all sound different from one song to the next so learn to understand what you are doing first before you get carried away with more complicated setups. You are always going to need to use your ears rather than settings you see in some tutorial.

Yes, I opened the LP filter up and am able to get sound again. I’m playing with the sliders to get the best sound. It still leaves me wondering though. How was the Renoise team able to get their ducking sidechain sound with all the sliders at or near zero? Here’s the default file we all have (attached, look at “bass ducked” section). They did it somehow.

The notes tells you how it was done.

But why does it work if all the sliders are at zero? When I apply the same slider settings to my other songs I get silence from the bass track? What’s special about this one?

Out of curiosity soundwave, have you tried replacing your kick sample with the one in the Renoise tutorial? I tried this myself, and…oh…suddenly I can get the signal follower reacting just as it does in the Renoise tutorial. Hmm, so it seems to be something to do with the kick sample itself that you feed into the signal follower. Interesting isn’t it? If you look at your kick sample in the sample editor, it is quite ‘sine wavy’ and smooth. But if you look at the Renoise tutorial kick sample, it is far more jagged. If you zoom in on the Renoise kick sample at the start you see a very fast transient with clip. Bit of complicated math in that signal follower :slight_smile:

I would guess if sensitivity of signal follower is all the way down, you could use it as a transient shaper…

But why does it work if all the sliders are at zero? When I apply the same slider settings to my other songs I get silence from the bass track? What’s special about this one?

They are not at zero, the filters are tuned to the low frequencies of the kick, hover your mouse over an you’ll see the high pass is at 20hz (everything below 20hz is filtered out) an the low pass is at 110hz (everything above 110hz is being filtered out) so everything between 20hz and 110hz is triggering the sidechain. The energy in that area is presumably fairly low so the sensitivity is lowered, it acts like a threshold or input gain for the triggering signal. The attack and release are very quick but the release is not at zero. Again this is mostly dependent on the subject material, this example particularly so because it is using the low frequencies from the kick, if your kick has more or less bass frequencies or a longer or shorter tail then it will sound different.

^ I think it’s important to note the speaker symbol on device like the signal follower, so it would be possible to hear what’s actually goes into the signal follower after the filtering.

You actually can do “sidechain”, at least for compressors:

  • Add two send busses. Each containing the desired compressor with some ducking settings. So two times the same with same settings

  • Add a left channel muter on on send, and a right channel muter on the other send (renoise cannot do this, use mutility). Post compressor.

  • Add a -20dB volume lowering pre compressor on each send (or better more than -20dB), only for the channels that a not muted (renoise cannot do this, use mutility)

  • Add a+20dB volume lowering post mute / compressor on each send

  • Now route the “side chain signal” (e.g. kick) to the channels of the sends that are muted. So left on one, right on the other.

  • Route the ducked signal to the send, to the channels that are not muted. So right on one, left on the other.

  • Setup the compressors in the way they only will react on the much louder transients of the side chain

Of course this is really annoying to setup. You can save it into a template then.