Ableton Live Tutorial: Sidechain Compression Pt. 1 w/ Steve Nalepa

In this first video of a three-part series focusing on sidechain compression, Dubspot course designer and Ableton Live expert Steve Nalepa introduces us to the concept of sidechain compression.

In this first video of a three-part series focusing on sidechain compression, Dubspot course designer and Ableton Live expert Steve Nalepa introduces some creative ways to use the concept of sidechain compression. The popular technique of sidechaining has been used in a number of different ways by audio engineers and electronic music producers such as Daft Punk, Justice, Baths, Nosaj Thing, and many many others. In part 2 Professor Nalepa demonstrates how to use the Sidechain feature on Live’s Compressor to help drum sounds cut through the mix better by creating a simple dubstep drum pattern and a group of synths that overpower the kick and snare.


Ableton Live Tutorial: Sidechain Compression Pt. 2 w/ Steve Nalepa


Ableton Live Tutorial: Sidechain Compression Pt. 3 w/ Steve Nalepa


About Steve Nalepa

Californian polymath Steve Nalepa is known for his vast and eclectic array of artistic collaborators. He’s a founding member of the esteemed beat collective TeamSupreme and a key node in the electronic music scene cultivated through years of creating music, producing events and mentoring many of today’s top artists in Ableton Live. Nalepa has published award-winning art books through the self-­launched Dilettante Press, scored several feature-length documentary films, and set up touring Ableton rigs for artists including Drake and The Weeknd. He produces solo and collaborative work under the moniker Nalepa, creates audiovisual works with the project Airspace, and releases music and tours with his bandmates The Acid (Infectious/Mute).

Connect with Nalepa on Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | Website


Ableton Live Producer Certificate Program

About This Program

At Dubspot our world-class instructors provide the most complete and cutting-edge Ableton Live learning experience. The Ableton Live Producer Certificate Program is the flagship of our music training. After completing this program, you will leave with a portfolio of original tracks, a remix entered in an active contest, a scored commercial to widen your scope, and the Dubspot Producer’s Certificate in Ableton Live.

This program is about learning Ableton Live by going through the entire process of being an artist, by developing your own sound through a series of sketches and experimentation. You will also learn the ins and outs of this powerful software through a series of exercises designed to help you master the steps involved in producing your own music. After a level of getting familiar with the tools that Ableton has to offer, you will then develop your sonic ideas into full-length tracks. You will be exposed to a variety of approaches to arrangement and composition, storytelling techniques, ways of creating tension and drama in your music. At the end of the day, it is the sum total of your choices as an artist that define your sound, and levels 2 – 6 will give you the experience of actually completing tracks to add to your portfolio.

What’s Included

  • Ableton Live Level 1: Beats, Sketches, and Ideas
  • Ableton Live Level 2: Analyze, Deconstruct, Recompose, and Assemble
  • Ableton Live Level 3: Synthesis and Original Sound Creation
  • Ableton Live Level 4: Advanced Sound Creation
  • Ableton Live Level 5: Advanced Effect Processing
  • Ableton Live Level 6: Going Global with your Music


  • Dubspot’s complete Ableton course load: six levels/48 class sessions
  • 132 hours of hands-on instruction
  • Additional lab hours to work on assignments in Dubspot’s onsite facilities
  • 24/7 access to Dubspot Online’s Ableton Live course videos
  • Access to the course videos for one year after course completion


Visit the Ableton Live course page for detailed information on this program here.

If you have questions, please call 877.DUBSPOT or send us a message.

  • Mike Abb
  • 9/28/2010

Great start with two of my fav artists in que in the project. Digging your delivery of the info — with any tutorial it can be difficult to communicate creatively without being boring!

Good job —

p.s. what screen capture app do you use?

  • alex ruzov
  • 9/28/2010

thanks! wait for next parts

  • Anthony Arroyo
  • 9/28/2010

Dubspot tutorials setting the standard real high! Like how yall reference the Nosaj track as an example.

  • Ableton Live Tutorial – Sidechain Compression 2 of 3: The Basics | Dubspot Blog
  • 9/28/2010

[...] explains Dynamic Range, or the ratio between the loudest and the quietest sounds. As he states in part 1, Sidechain Compression simply allows “different elements of your songs to essentially dance [...]

  • Ableton Live Tutorial: Sidechain Compression Pt 3/3 Filter & Gate | Dubspot Blog
  • 9/28/2010

[...] Ableton Live Tutorial: Sidechain Compression 1/3: Examples & Setup [...]

  • mythikle
  • 9/28/2010

is there a part 2 and 3 ??????????????

  • Ableton Live Video Tutorial: 'Stutter Gate' Real-Time Vocal Gating Techniques | Dubspot Blog
  • 9/28/2010

[...] On a MIDI track you will place a Simpler, in this instance we load it up with an acoustic piano preset. It doesn’t matter what sound you choose, you won’t be hearing it in the mix anyway. The key is to choose a sound that has a quick attack and a relatively short release. A slowly ramping in pad sound for example wouldn’t be helpful, as you want the level of the sound to be at full volume as soon as it is triggered. You next place an Arpeggiator MIDI Effect in front of the Simpler. Create a one bar MIDI Clip and draw in a one bar long note. Again, since you won’t be hearing the sound, it doesn’t matter what note you pick, something in the middle range works well like C3. Turn off the track so you don’t hear it in the mix. Next, on the track where you are receiving the live vocals (or the other sound you wish to gate), drop the built-in Audio Effect: Gate. Gate is normally used to only allow an audio signal to pass through if it is above a certain threshold. If it is below that threshold, the track will be silent. This can be useful when working with drums or vocals, when there is not supposed to be any noise you don’t want to pick up background sound like a computer fan, etc. The Gate is one of three built-in Ableton Live effects that incorporate Sidechaining. (For a more detailed look at Sidechaining, check out our previous series of videos on it here.) [...]

  • Electronic Music Theory: Analyzing Classic Dubstep Basslines – Loefah’s “Root” (DMZ) | Dubspot Blog
  • 9/28/2010

[...] Ableton Live Tutorial: Sidechain Compression 1/3 – Nosaj Thing [...]