FabFilter Pro-G online help

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External side chaining

FabFilter Pro-G offers the possibility of feeding an external signal to its side chain, so that you can make it trigger on a different signal than the audio it is actually processing. Feeding a signal to a plug-in's side-chain inputs works slightly different in various hosts. This topic describes the procedure for some of the most popular hosts around: Cubase, Logic Pro, Ableton Live and Pro Tools.

To explain how it works, we use a scenario with two tracks. The first one contains the audio that we want to process with Pro-G, which we'll call the main track from now. The second track contains the audio that we want to route to Pro-G's external side-chain input and use as trigger signal. We'll call this track the side chain track.

After setting up everything according to the instructions below for your host, you can check whether everything is routed correctly. Play the audio and enable FabFilter Pro-G's Audition button to listen to the side-chain signal. While auditioning, the real-time display and metering show the side-chain level, so you can easily set a correct trigger threshold. Afterwards, disable the Audition mode again. Now, you'll hear that Pro-G on the main track will react to the sound of the side-chain track. Of course, you can fine-tune the plug-ins settings to customize the effect.

Cubase

  • Open Cubase and create a new empty project.
  • Add two audio tracks that we'll use as main track and side chain track.
  • Add audio files on both the main track and the side chain track. You can simply drag audio files from a Finder/Explorer window onto a track.
  • Open the Mixer. In the main track, click on an empty insert slot and select the VST 3 version of FabFilter Pro-G in the Dynamics menu (note the VST 3 icon which looks like ///).
  • Open FabFilter Pro-G's interface, enable Expert mode and set Side Chain to Ext.
  • In the plug-in header, click on the Activate Side-Chain button (right of the R/W buttons) to enable the external side chain in Cubase.
  • At the top of the Mixer, set the output for the side chain track to the side-chain input of FabFilter Pro-G.

Logic Pro

  • Open Logic Pro and create a new empty project via File > New...
  • Add two audio tracks (via Track > New...) that we'll use as main track and side chain track.
  • Add audio files on both the main track and the side chain track. You can simply drag audio files from a Finder/Explorer window onto a track.
  • Select the main track and add Pro-G in the first Insert effect slot.
  • Open FabFilter Pro-G's interface, enable Expert mode and set Side Chain to Ext.
  • In the right top corner of the plug-in interface header, in the 'Side Chain' menu, choose the side chain track. Now, the signal from the side chain track is sent to FabFilter Pro-G's external side-chain input.
    Logic Pro Side Chain

Ableton Live

  • Open Ableton Live and start with an empty arrangement. We'll use Track 1 as the side chain track and Track 2 as the main track.
  • From the folder menu's on at the left top of Ableton Live's interface, drag different audio clips to the first empty slots of Track 1 and Track 2.
  • From the VST (or Audio Units) plug-in menu, also at the left top of Ableton Live's interface, drag FabFilter Pro-G onto Track 2, the main track.
  • Open FabFilter Pro-G's interface, enable Expert mode and set Side Chain to Ext.
  • In Track 1 (the side chain track) in the 'Audio To' menu select 'Track 2' instead of the default 'Master'. Now, an extra menu appears right below: choose 'FF Pro-G 3/4' instead of the default 'Track In' to route the track's signal to FabFilter Pro-G's external side chain inputs.
  • Note: In the scenario above, you won't hear Track 1 (the side-chain signal) anymore, since its audio is only routed to Pro-G's side-chain inputs. To avoid this, use one additional track (e.g. Track 3), choose 'Track 1' from its 'Audio From' dropdown menu, and in the 'Audio To' menu select 'Track 2' instead of the default 'Master'. Now, from the extra menu below choose 'FF Pro-G 3/4'. Of course, you can now leave Track 1's 'Audio To' setting to the original 'Master' so you will still hear the signal.
    Side Chain Ableton

Pro Tools

  • Open Pro Tools and start a new empty session.
  • Create two audio tracks that we'll use as main track and side chain track. Add audio files to both track.
  • Open the Mix window to display the tracks with their Insert slots and Sends slots.
  • In the first 'Sends' slot of the side chain track, choose 'Bus 1'. The track view for Bus 1 will open: set its level slider to 0.0 dB so the bus actually produces audio!
  • In the first 'Inserts' slot of the main track, choose Dynamics > FabFilter Pro-G.
  • Open FabFilter Pro-G's interface, enable Expert mode and set Side Chain to Ext.
  • Now, in the 'Key Input' menu of the plug-in interface (just above the FabFilter logo), choose bus > Bus 1 instead of the default 'no key input'. Now, the audio from the side chain track is routed to Pro-G's external side chain input via Bus 1.
    Side Chain Pro Tools


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See Also
Quick start
Manual installation

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