In this Ableton tutorial Point Blank instructor Daniel Herbert shows off his custom Max For Live sidechain plugin. Simply click here to download the free plugin!
This post was originally published in DJ Magazine’s free online edition DJ Weekly issue 112
Everyone seems to be using sidechain compression at some point in their productions and now it’s got a whole lot easier! We are giving you exclusive access to a Max for Live device called the Point Blank Auto Sidechain Device. This free plugin simplifies the whole process and also offers you the ability to sculpt and shape the attack and release. This can be used to just tighten up the sound, or even help you achieve that killer groove and energy in your productions which you’ve been looking for.
If you’re not sure what Sidechain Compression is about then check out Eric Prydz’ Call on Me (watch below) or Human by the Killers and you can hear that classic pumping effect synced to the kick. Sidechain Compression has a whole variety of uses, whether for practical mix purposes or for more creative reasons and the infamous pumping effect has long been synonymous with modern day dance music. It was a popular production technique during the 90’s with the sound of French Electro House, but if you check out any modern dance production chances are there is some form of sidechaining going on!
This type of production techniques is covered on a number of Point Blank courses, and typically when creating this effect we’d just route the kick to the sidechain input of a compressor either inserted on a bus or individual channel. But with the Point Blank Auto Sidechain device we’ve simplified the whole process for you, so you literally just drop the device in, and it instantly starts ducking the audio right on the beat; you can use it on pads, textures, sweeps, basses, beats, pretty much anything!
Another great feature about this device is that it allows you to shape the attack and release curves, providing you with the power to give your sound that extra pump or to really explore the vibe and energy that it can bring to your productions.
Watch the video to learn more about using Max for Live devices in Ableton and see how easy and quick it is to get professional results from the Point Blank Auto Sidechain device.”
Simply click here to download the free plugin.
Learn more techniques such as this on Point Blank’s range of Ableton Live Courses
Watch free exclusive music production tutorials on Point Blank’s sample course page
Hi, I’m Dan Herbert, and I’m a course developer and tutor at Point Blank online. Here at Point Blank, we’re developing a range of Max For Live plugins, which will be available for you guys to download for free. We’ll also be showing you how we created them.
The first plugin in this series is Point Blank auto sidechain device; which makes it simple to get that classic pumping or ducking effect commonly heard in dance music. The technique is known as sidechain compression, I’m sure we know the type of sound. The great thing with this plug in is you drop it in, and that’s it. Instant sidechain compression.
We look at a range of classic production techniques, such as sidechain compression in the pro-producer courses at Point Blank. But, this exclusive Max For Live plugin automates the whole process; and gives you some additional control which conventional sidechaining doesn’t offer. There’s a whole variety of free tutorials and downloads available at Point Blank online. So make sure you check out PointBlankonline.net for more info.
To use this plugin you’ll need Max For Live installed along with Ableton. If you don’t already have it you can try it out for 30 days by downloading it from Ableton.com/maxforlive. So once that’s all installed, you’ll need to download and unzip the Point Blank auto sidechain device. Then when can access that directly from the browser within Ableton. So I’m just going to locate the desktop.
Then when can just drag it, and drop it into the audio effects area. If you want to access the plugin from the live device browser, then you’ll need to drag the file into this location. So let’s just create a new window, you go into your user folder, into library, then application support, then Ableton, then Ableton’s library, then within here we want to go to presets and open up the audio effects folder, and we should find Max audio effect. Then we can just drag in here, it’s already here, I dragged it in earlier. Let’s do that again, place that, and that’s all set up.
Now, if I come back to Live, click on the live device browser, there and open up audio effects. Come down to Max audio effects, open that up, and here you can see here’s the Point Blank auto sidechain device, which you can now drag in and drop, just as you do with any other device.
So, as soon as you drop it in, that’s all we need to do, if I press play, [inaudible 02:34] Instant ducking. So there’s no need to set up any additional kicks or route to the sidechain input, because this plugin handles the whole process for you, and makes it really simple. Now the important thing to realize with sidechain compression is the energy it creates, and how it can contribute to the groove. So we’ve provided here some additional controls which are well worth tweaking.
I have here the decay time and also the shape of the decay curve. This is all displayed in this oscilloscope view if I press play. You see the shape of the ducking effect. Let’s speed up the decay a bit, and just adjust the shape. You get a slightly more obvious pumping effect now. Let’s make it go a slight longer. That’s playing quite a nice groove, and if you want to make it a bit more subtle, then we can just adjust the amount. Equally, we can speed up that decay a little bit. Tweak the shape a bit more. Bypass.
So you can see the shape adjusts the curve when it’s positive values, you get a [scooped] or concave shape, and then when we go to negative, you get a convex so slightly tighter. So that’s much more subtle. You can hear it’s got a slight click when we put the attack to one millisecond it gets rid of that click if it worries you. So there’s a huge amount of scope here for exploring different feels and different vibes. We’ve also given you an attack control and the shape of the attack curve as well. And this can create some real interesting flavors. Let’s press play. Shorten the decay right now.
That seems to be bouncing along nicely as well. And you get the instant feedback from the oscilloscope view, how you’re actually shaping it, but all ways go with what your ears are telling you. So that is the Point Blank auto sidechain device. You can use it on pads like we’ve done there. You can also use it on loops, let’s just drop it in here. Give it a little more energy. And, as you know, sidechain compression is great on bass lines as well. If you stumble across some settings which you like then also you can store these. Call that Loop Pump, so that is the Point Blank auto sidechain device. If you want to find out more information about Point Blank or enroll in one of our courses then click on the logo here, that will open up automatically into your browser.
At Point Blank online you’ve got two methods of interaction with your tutor. Firstly, you’ve got the weekly online master class which is in real time. And then also we’ve got feedback on your assignments, and that’s known as DVR. So the online master class is a one hour session you get with your tutor every week. You can ask questions about lesson content. You get instant feedback and also demonstrations on the fly from their computer desktop with our streaming technology.
DVR stands for direct video response and the concept is really simple. You upload your Ableton, Logic, or Cube-based project file to your tutor. He downloads it and then pushes record on the screen capturing software, and evaluates your work, basically giving you one-to-one feedback. You see all of the mouse movements and any parameter changes made by your tutor. It’s kind of like sitting in the studio, over their shoulder, watching what they’re doing whilst they work. We’ve found the DVR process has truly revolutionized the way that we teach you online, and the results speak for themselves. Book your place on the course now, by visiting pointblnkonline.net.