Sidekick: Howto

Oh dear! Can’t sidechain in Renoise! - We hear this over and over again, and yes it’s technically correct. Native sidechaining will probably happen later on, but in the meantime let’s take a moment to learn that we can do simple sidechain compression for purposes of mix management. It’s especially useful for the common mix task of “ducking the bass volume from the kick”. The VST plugin you’ll need installed is Twisted Lemon’s SideKickV3!

Read the description on the website to familiarise yourself with the plugin. Now, load up a song with a kick drum in one channel and a bassline in another channel. The aim is to have the volume of the bass ‘duck down’ when the kick drum is sounded, thus providing more headroom in the mix which would have been taken up by big bass amplitudes. Because the kick is a transient (short percussive sound) it only takes away from the bass for a small moment and you have a win-win situation if you want a heavy low-end mix.

Try theses steps to learn the basic usage:

  1. Have the kick channel before your bass channel - the parse order is important so that the plugin knows what is going on. This is where most people trip up when trying SideKick. So you need something like the kick on channel 1, and a bass on channel 2.
  2. Put a copy of the plug on each chain. Load them up in that order. Then, open up each plugin interface so you can see both of them in front of you on the screen.
  3. Click-off ‘Bypass’ for each effect. This engages the effect.
  4. For the kick-plug instance make sure no greek-letter is selected (the greek letters are the four buttons under the ‘use virtual channel’ label up on the left).
  5. For the bass-plug instance make sure the “alpha” greek letter is selected. This will link it with the kick plugin instance. Thus we are sensing for sound from that first plugin.
  6. On the bass-plug instance select ‘ducking’. This is the reductive mode we’re using to reduce the bass volume when the plugin senses something from “alpha”.
  7. Then adjust the threshold to how deep you want it to duck. The deeper the threshold the more the bass volume is reduce. This works the same way as a compressor.
  8. Adjust attack and release to make the sound tight or flabby. Allow a little bit of space both ways to make sure you’re leaving the right amount of room per the wallop low end sound of your input kick.

If you’ve done all the above right you should hear the kick “ducking” the bass. You can have this as obvious or as subtle as you like - some make a stylistic statement out of it, others just use it to tighten up their mix. Renoise’s PDC feature also makes sure that it is accurately syncronised with the rest of your mix, although the ‘character’ of the compressor sound is fairly limited: a common issue with many DSP compressors. Nevertheless, it is a simple and effective tool!

Of course you can use SideKick in different ways, especially changing modes to make it “Key” the response sound. You can get fairly artistic with it if you put your mind to it. It’s a good thing to master while we’re waiting for native sidechaining in Renoise; it will help you understand the concept of it and what we can do with it in the future.


Thanks, looks good! (and doesn’t seem to use the hard pan-solution most of these plugs have)
Will try it tonight.

There were problems that it didn’t stored its channel settings upon song saving (In Renoise but i believe in other hosts as well), is this still an issue?

No problem at all.

Thanks again Foo? for another tutorial on compressors!
I’m not a big fan of the obvious ducking you often hear in recent productions (especially when overdone by people who just discovered the technique), but it could be useful for subtle tightening or the like.

One thing I may have made not so clear in my tute: On the original ‘kick instance’ of the plugin, obviously on the kick channel, you need to make sure that it is set to ‘ducking’ mode, as well as the bass instance. If it is on ‘keying’ it won’t work and will mute the kick.

I primarily use it as a very subtle mix tool for management of low frequencies in order to have even-headroom in my mixes. I’ve done occasional arty things with keying and ducking…

Hm, it won’t load for me. Renoise gives a ‘Failed to initialize the plugin’-message

Wohoo, got it working!
If it fails to load, be sure to have the file “msvcr71.dll” in your C:\Windows\system directory

Fuck, they removed this plugin from their site.
I really need this one asap.
Could anyone who has it please make it available to me?

Contact me on aim: djpsychofreud
or on email:

Thanx alot!

I´d really love to have this one to.

Upload and paste link, please?

Thanks in advance

And this is why anything that is not implemented in Renoise directly does not really exist…


Thanks alot Johann!

I dont get what youre saying though.

I meant to say that everything that depends on 3rd party software can vanish just like that. If Renoise vanishes we’re screwed anyway, so if we exclude that possibility, everything that is implemented in Renoise will be around forever. :blink:

Hello to all!! (as it’s my first post)

For linux users, it is possible to do the same thing, using ladspa plug-ins ( SC2 & mono to stereo splitter):

  1. put the kick on channel 1 & the bass on channel 2.
  2. send both channels on the same bus (keep source on channel 1, mute source on channel 2).
  3. put the SC2 on the send channel.
  4. pan channel 1 to the left & channel 2 to the right.
  5. put the mono to stereo splitter on channel 1 after the send device.
  6. that’s it!

hope this helps.

OOoooh yeaah! Thanks for this, works wonders! Just was I was looking for!


just noticed on KVR that sidekick 4 has been released,but its not free anymore

That works really cool, and in stereo! Who wants to buy my Presonus ACP 22 compressor? I don’t need it anymore.


thanks, works nice =)

It’s a shame that this plugin isn’t available anymore.