Many VST 3 effects support side-chaining. Side-chaining allows you to use the output of one track to control the action of an effect on another track.

Effects from the following categories feature side-chaining:

  • Modulation

  • Delay

  • Filter

By activating side-chaining, you can do the following:

  • Use the side-chain signal as a modulation source.

  • Apply ducking to the instrument, that is, reduce the volume of the instrument track when a signal is present on the audio track.

  • Compress the signals on one audio track when a second audio track starts.

    This is commonly used to add compression on a bass sound when the drums are hit.


For detailed descriptions of the plug-ins that feature side-chaining, see the separate document Plug-in Reference.

  • Certain combinations of tracks and side-chain inputs may lead to feedback loops and additional latency. If this is the case, the side-chain options are not available.

  • Side-chain connections are only kept when you move an effect within a channel. When you drag and drop an effect between channels, or when you copy an effect into another effect slot, the side-chain connections are lost.

Side-Chain and Modulation

Side-chain signals bypass the built-in LFO modulation and apply modulation according to the envelope of the side-chain signal. Since each channel is analyzed and modulated separately, this allows for creating astonishing spatial modulation effects.