I want to configure side-chain compression in Sonar LE, but I don't know how to do it. I have two tracks: a voiceover and music. I want the music to duck while the voiceover is talking. I can configure the following effect separately for both tracks:

Sonar's compressor

The side chain setting is just a toggle button. I expected I'd be able to choose which external input should be used to determine when to duck. I find this counter-intuitive, but then again I could be misunderstanding the way the effect works.

How do I go about setting up side-chaining here? I just realized the expander is on by default, but I know I have to set it to 1.0:1 to achieve the effect I want.

2 Answers 2


I don't use Sonar, but it might be that the sidechain input appears as a send/output on the tracks/mixes?

This page seems to confirm that:

When a plug-in that has a sidechain input is added to a project,
that input is exposed to all of the other tracks.
  • That isn't very flexible, but I'll give it a try. Which values for compression ratio, attack threshold and release time would you suggest for this particular situation?
    – Pieter
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 15:23
  • @Pieter i use sidechain compression pratically only on bass tracks (and driven by the kick drum to make it come up in the mix). I use pretty high compression (> 20:1), attack ~10ms, release between 60ms and 100ms, NO soft knee. But voice is another matter (kick is almost "instantaneous"). I suggest starting with the default preset and experimenting from there (expecially the threshold level!) until it sounds good to you.
    – Mr Shunz
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 15:35
  • I tried setting up side-chaining with the built-in compressor but the effect didn't show up in the Insert Send dialog. Then I downloaded this VST plugin, which does show up in the Insert Send dialog. Problem is, whatever it is the compressor is doing, it does not sound like it's dodging my voice. Here are my settings (changing the threshold didn't do much for me) and the voice track.
    – Pieter
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 17:56
  • @Pieter the compressor has a monitor button. Pressing it should let you listen to the side chain. Check if you can hear the voice track. Also, maybe it's too "soft" or too low volume to get to the desired thresold.
    – Mr Shunz
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 19:29
  • I do not hear the voice track (or anything else) when I solo the music track and set the monitor to input, even after messing with the knobs some more. I'll try downloading another side-chain plugin to see if it makes a difference.
    – Pieter
    Commented Mar 3, 2012 at 11:19

I haven't used Sonar, but the way you do it in real life and on the computer is the same. When you sidechain a compressor you tell it to compress based on the input from the sidechain. So you would put a compressor on the music track and sidechain that to the voiceover track.

Don't use too fast attack or too slow release. If you do it'll sound unnatural.

Normally you just choose to side chain and choose the track you want to side chain. If you have any further questions, just add a comment.

  • But how does Sonar know what the sidechain input is? As far as I know I can't configure that.
    – Pieter
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 14:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.