Maschine Studio / 2.0 Tutorial: Sidechain Compression / Ducking the Bass w/ Matt Cellitti

In this video tutorial, Dubspot course designer and Maschine specialist Matt Cellitti explores sidechain compression in Maschine 2.0, and offers some tips and tricks for mixing and getting the most out of the new audio engine.


Maschine 2.0 has seen some significant upgrades to the audio engine and the way audio routing is handled in the software. These enhancements allow for the use of sidechaining within Maschine, so now producers are able to take advantage of the benefits that sidechain compression has to offer.

In electronic music production, sidechain compression is particularly helpful for controlling low frequency issues caused by competing kick drum and bass instruments fighting for the same space. This is a technique referred to as “ducking the bass” wherein the kick drum signal is sent to trigger a compressor on the bass, allowing the gain reduction on the bass to activate at the same time the kick hits. This way the bass essentially gets out of the way of the kick by attenuating only when the kick comes through. There is only so much low frequency information to go around and we don’t want these two ever important instruments piling up on each other.

The other main use for sidechain compression is to create a “pumping sound” by routing your four on the floor kick drum to a pad, cymbal, or noise burst. With this more exaggerated compression technique, the compressor forces a sound to rhythmically swell and pump to the beat, creating a pleasing effect that works well in dance music. We can easily change boring, sterile pads into more lively, moving soundscapes.

The redesigned Maschine compressor now has a sidechain input which you can route any sound to. Thanks to Maschine 2’s new visual plugin strip, you can actually see the gain reduction activating in the compressor, allowing you to visually monitor the effect. An added bonus allows you to use third party plugins that have a sidechain input too, so feel free to use your favorite compressors of different flavors! – Matt Cellitti

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