RDGAudio has released SideChainer, a freeware faux sidechain effect in 32-bit VST plugin format for Windows-based host applications.
Pumping synth, bass and drum parts have dominated much of electronic music in the past decade. That sound is typically created by the use of side-chain compression. For those unfamiliar, a kick drum is routed into the sidechain input of a compressor which triggers a rhythmic pulse of whatever instrument it is being applied to. This effect not only creates a more upbeat feel but also creates space for the kick drum to cut through the mix allowing more headroom.
An alternative to the traditional bus-routing method of sidechaining is to use a dedicated sidechain “emulation” plugin. The freeware VST plugin “SideChainer” created by RDG audio automatically creates the rhythmic pulsing effect but offers more advanced options that would be near impossible to achieve with a compressor alone. Available for Windows only, it syncs with the host BPM to provide tempo-locked effects. However, you are not only able to create a simple up/down sine wave compression pattern but also more complex patterns and shapes.
From looking at the plugin’s user interface, it even appears that you can combine several shapes one after the other for longer rhythm patterns. There is also a Wet/Dry control for dialing just as much of the effect as you need. Currently, I use the Waves OneKnob Pumper to achieve this effect, but it only can create a simple sine-shaped pattern. I’ve noticed that I need to use the “Offset” control of the OneKnob to get just the right pocketing for the pump. I don’t see this feature on the SideChainer but perhaps it magically just fits into the pocket even without it! Unfortunately, the YouTube promotional video for this product does not play audio examples of how it works so, if you’re a Windows user, it will be necessary to try it out for yourself.
The plugin is available for direct free download from the developer’s website, no registration required. The downloaded ZIP archive does contain an EXE installer, though. If you’re looking for a freeware alternative to SideChainer, take a look at the excellent BIGKIXDIPPA by Hinton & Fairchild. And if you want to go commercial, Kickstart by Cableguys and Nicky Romero would be the obvious choice.
SideChainer is avaialble for free download via RDGAudio (6.9 MB download size, ZIP archive containing EXE installer, 32-bit VST plugin format for Windows, made with FlowStone).