Rewired Records has just released a free sidechain plugin for Windows called SideKick2.
Apart from the naming and look-feel affinities with the renowned Nicky Romero’s KickStart 2, it looks like a solid plugin!
As you would expect, its primary purpose is to create the classic sidechain pumping effect so common in EDM and similar genres.
The interface is intuitive and straightforward, so you can get the desired effect quickly.
The core of SideKick2 is an editable graph, where you can customize the shape of volume automation you want to apply to your audio source.
Now, a bit of contextualization before moving on.
The sidechain compression effect is usually achieved in mixing when a sidechain input, for example, a kick drum, triggers rhythmically the gain reduction of a compressor applied to another source, like a bassline.
In this way, you can get the bassline bouncing rhythmically in between the kick drum hits. Usually, the effect is customized by adjusting important compression parameters like Threshold, Ratio, Attack, and Release.
Anyway, since the end effect is actually a reduction in the volume of the signal, we can get similar results with volume automation alone instead of employing a compressor.
The benefits of doing that are multiple and obvious since you get more control over the shape of the effect, and the workflow is enhanced.
SideKick2 features some pre-made shapes, to instantly try different flavors and styles of volume automation.
By making multiple sharp curves in the graph, you can also get the classic Trance Gate effect, which has found a renaissance in modern EDM productions by the likes of Fred Again and Skrillex.
A remarkable feature of SideKick2 is its possibility to tailor the amount of effect with the Mix percentage knob, which acts as a Dry/Wet knob.
In this way, you can blend in some of the original unprocessed signals for a hybrid result, which can fill up more of the mix if you feel it becomes more empty with the full effect active.
You can also select the rhythmical division of the effect between 1/4, which is the default setting, and 1/8, 1/2, and 1/1.
Altering those values in a musical phrase can create cool rhythmical effects, very popular in particular in the Future Bass subgenre of EDM if coupled with filter automation.
SideKick2 lets you also save your favourite shapes and load them at will. Another helpful feature is the fact that you can copy the current settings and paste them into another instance of the plugin if working on multiple tracks in your project.
SideKick2 is available as a VST3 plugin format for Windows 64-bit systems.
Download: SideKick2 (FREE)