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What does it mean to Sidechain a Compressor?

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asked Apr 15, 2015 in Audio Terms by AlexTinsley (924,570 points)
What is a Compressor Sidechain?

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answered Apr 15, 2015 by AlexTinsley (924,570 points)
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The sidechain jack interrupts the signal that the compressor is using to determine the amount of gain reduction to apply. When no connector is inserted into this jack, the input signal goes directly to the compressor’s control circuitry. When a connector is inserted into this jack, the signal path is broken. This signal can then be processed by an equalizer for example to reduce sibilance (de-essing) in a vocal track. The signal is then returned to the unit via the connector. The signal returned to the sidechain could be that of a narrator or vocalist. In this application, the audio that is passing through the compressor will automatically ‘duck’ when the narrator speaks or vocalist sings