Does side-chain input blind the plugin to the "normal" input

Hi -

I’ve never used Cubase’s side-chain option before, so I don’t know if I’m expecting something that is not meant to work that way. Can you guys set me straight please?

Set up:

  1. I’ve inserted a plug-in (Melda’s MAutoDynamicEQ, “MADEQ”) into an audio piano track, and activated the side chain.
  2. I set up MADEQ so there was a large amount of dynamic gain reduction (the dynamic compressor function, where there is less gain reduction at lower volumes, and more gain reduction at higher volumes).
  3. I’ve sent a vocal track to MADEQ’s side-chain.
  4. I then muted the piano track itself.
  5. I then played a section of the song that had no vocal, just piano, and observed the behavior of MADEQ’s dynamic compressing function - the node’s dynamic envelope (the downward “bouncing” action of the gray “envelope”).
    What I observed:
  6. Even in portions of the song where there was no vocal to be sent to the side-chain input of MADEQ inserted on the piano track, there was still dynamic gain reduction occurring, as evidenced by the dynamic node envelope behavior (the dynamic downward bouncing gray “envelope”).
    What I infer:
  7. Even though the side-chain is active, MADEQ is still “keyed” by the audio on the track it is inserted on. In other words, the side-chain input does not make MADEQ “blind” to the track itself.
    What I expected (in my inexperience using side-chains ever before):
  8. That once the side-chain was activated, MADEQ would be keyed only off the side-chain, and would indeed be blind to the audio of the track it is inserted in. In this situation where there is no audio playing, I expected there would be no dynamic gain reduction occurring on the MADEQ inserted in the piano track.

Is that a silly expectation? Is there no way to have the plug-in that is inserted on the piano track respond dynamically only to the voice track that is entering it via the side-chain?

Cubase 9.0.20, Melda 10.07.

Thank you for helping me understand!

How would you know if the piano track is muted ?
It’s the piano track you are trying to duck when there are vocals right?

Thanks, peakae.

I didn’t want the excess verbosity in my post to divert from the main question, being - with the plug-in being a compressor, does sending a signal to a side-chain make the compressor respond only to the side-chain (and no longer to the signal being compressed)?

Would you (or anyone else) be able to help me understand that please?


Depends on the plugin…

The stock compressor YES, as ggc said depends on the plugin

Thank you peakae and ggc. Will pursue with manufacturer (MAutoDynamicEQ, Melda).

I have a few Melda plug-ins and they all have a ton of options. I wonder if it has a mix option somewhere hidden.

FWIW: the plug-in is MAutoDynamicEQ, and not only does the plug-in globally need to be put in side-chain mode (like any other VST3 plug-in), but each individual EQ band also needs to have its side-chain option activated.

Then it works as expected (if you’re expecting the usual sort of expected things, e.g., not the Spanish Inquisition), with the side-chain being the only thing that triggers the EQ.

Sweet! Thanks for help, all. :slight_smile:

That is what is great with Melda plugins, they go deep. That’s can also be a problem, when you just want to do something quick. I can’t say that v11 has improved that significantly.
I’m in a love/hate relationship with Melda :slight_smile: but you sure get a lot for your money .