In this list you’ll find the absolute top 5 of free sidechain plugins for both Windows & Mac. The list includes plugins from big names (TAL, MeldaProduction) and less known developers. They mostly give you access to LFO-Tool style effects, so they’re also perfect for all kinds of volume modulation. Let’s get started!
1. TAL-Filter-2 (Mac/Win)
TAL-Filter-2 is a host synced filter module with different filter types, panorama and volume modulation possibilities. This can be used for tremolo or trance gate effects. Panorama modulation maybe is useful to pan your percussion, hats or sound effects in the stereo room for more interesting rythms and sounds.
2. Flux Mini 2
This plugin offers a lot of the same functions as Tal-Filter-2. It features a handy knob for adjusting effect amount, a filtering section, as well as a bunch of interesting sounding presets.
3. Sidechainer2 RDG Audio (Mac/Win)
This unique plug-in also allows users to sculpt custom curves and shapes and comes equipped with dozens of presets to achieve desired results quickly. Customizable point + tension curve editor. Time with Triplet, Dotted and Straight features.
4. MeldaProduction plugins (Mac/Win)
MCompressor provides refined compression. It features an adjustable compression shape, giving you the power to create dynamic sound effects, and a range of up-sampling options for a crystal clear sound.
Even though MTremolo is technically a tremolo plugin, its advanced capabilities also allow you to dial in a sidechain curve and to use a MIDI track to trigger the ducking. It has a lot of advanced options which makes it a viable alternative!
5. Ableton Live Effects
In Ableton Live, a great way of adding a custom LFO-style sidechain curve is by using the Shaper device linked to a Utility Gain knob.
To be able to achieve custom timing of sidechain (for example if your kickdrum doesn't always follow a 4/4 pattern), you can use a custom modified version of Shaper as a Max for Live device - for instance "Duck Buddy".