AR - Using Sidechain Compression

Hey there,

Does anyone have any information on how you work with the sidechain on the AR compressor?

I was hoping that there would be a specific input on the back for the sidechain signal, but images reveal there isnt.
Is possible to assign a pad to work as the sidechain input?

I was watching the Roland tr8 vids and the way their sidechain works is that you need to lay down trigs on the sequencer in a special sidechain track. Having to sync your ‘sidechain track’ with a changing beat would be a huge pain. The best thing about sidechain compression in my experience is that it follows another channel automatically as you modifiy it (kick drum or whatever).

I hope that this is not the way elektron has gone, but i have to admit the tr8 ‘trigs on a sidechain track’ sounded very elektron style to me.

Do we have any information, or can we get some?


Not sure what pictures you looked at but you seem mistaken: there are 2 inputs on AR and i’m pretty sure Cenk said in a namm demo that you could use these to side chain… fwiw i think they are still fleshing out the details on several features including this one and something tells me they were waiting for the TR8 reveal to perhaps offer something similar/better :wink:

Yeah, I was just looking at the images of the back of the machine. I was worried when I didn’t see a dedicated sidechain input.

Routing from one of the outs back into one of the inputs doesn’t sound too bad. It would also be cool to be able to route a signal to the sidechain internally from the compressor page for instance.

Any specifics would be sweet, this is a big feature for me!

Can any new owners update us on the options for side chaining.

What I’d like to do:

Run a heavily reverb’ed synth sound from my Analog Keys into the Rytm’s inputs.

Have the AK synth sound run through the Rytm’s compressor, and have the Rytm’s kick drum side chain the compressor?


What about having a AR sample side chain the compressor but not play back in the audio (i.e. just act as a side chain trigger)

I wonder what the configs are on the comp as well. Is it like ^, which I’m guessing for sure. Detector on internal track, squash on the external in. Do we get the option like the OP is suggesting? Detector on the input, squash on the internal.

The TR8’s version of sidechain has always been available on the MD with P-locks and control machines. On the AR, that technique should still be viable. But, in my opinion, sidechain needs to detect the signal.

Here’s a photo of the compressor page. SEQ (side chain eq) options are high pass, low pass and HIT. I’m not sure what HIT does yet but I plan to play around with it today. I’ll try inserting some audio into the ext ins as well.

The compressor is powerful but still a bit mysterious for me. I need some serious training there, I think. And I couldn’t find any settings for external input gain. It seems a bit low by default, no? Anyone found any dedicated external input gain function?

By the way, if any of you hear strange reoccurring noises after playing, where it should be silent - I got rid of it by making sure the AMP decay of the sounds aren’t set to maximum (which is the default). Somehow it seems there’s analog dirt in there if they’re long like that. I could hear it when the compressor was active.

Are you sure that’s not the sound of delays? Hit stop once for regular sounds to stop playing, hit stop twice for sounds and dealys to stop.

I’m digging the compressor so far when used sparingly. The HPF is great for keeping the low end from triggering the compressor. Also slow attack and fast release times will keep it bouncy and dynamic while adding some nice glue. Keep the ration pretty mellow. 1:2 or 1:4 and use the mix control to balance out the compressed signal with the clean. This setting yielded me some nice buss type compression. You can hear the compression before you will see the gain reduction meter kick in. So trust your ears.

Next I’ll experiment with some more extreme parallel compression. Ye olde crush and blend!

The filter controls don’t seem to be specific to the external input. The external input is processed by the compressor as well not just used as a side chain. I like the filters a lot. I mostly go for HPF but HIT is close but takes out a little more low end but not nearly as much as off. I’m curious to know what it is. Also the reverb is post compressor but I think that’s in the schematic.

Cuckoo I couldn’t find any external input level control either but I had no problem getting a nice level from my MNM using an insert type cable. I could easily make it as loud or louder than the AR itself.

At this point side chaining from an external input seems not possible. It would be great to hear from HQ on the functionality. I know…soon come. :slight_smile:



I did hear the decay issue you were talking about. It was driving me crazy for awhile. I too thought it delays at first but it was the decay control on the CH. I would stop the sequence and here this weird distorted regeneration. Dialing back the decay control fixed it indeed.

According to the schematics and earlier discussion on here in a thread, the effects have two different returns (reverb and delay) one for before the master distortion and the 2nd after the compressor. The reverb should be able to hit the compressor. I definitely need it for the delay when in feedback experimentation mode. There should be a setting in their somewhere.

Yep you are correct. It’s in the FX / Distortion page. Both delay and reverb can be selected pre or post distortion/compressor.

I tried the Analog Keys outputs, but I felt it was not loud enough. I’ve tried it again, and maximized the the output, the tracks and the amp etc. I can get the volume to fit there, but I don’t like to maximize everything. I guess I’ll have to set all the levels lower on the Rytm and see if I can match them up better.

Maybe this has been suggested already, but have you tried symmetrical cables?

@tsv would love to see a video of you demonstrating the compression settings. Seems like you understand the fundamentals :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: would be interested to hear the various settings


I’ll try it with the AK today. I know what you mean about keeping the levels down on the AK for a cleaner sound. The MNM may have a hotter output too.


The AR only has a single TRS jack for a stereo input so you need to use an insert type cable.


I’ll work on that! Thanks.

Yes, sorry for any confusion… btw. I think the audio inputs on the A4 are also unsymmetrical.

Seems a little bit odd though, as these units were meant to be plugged together directly.

Anyway, I always found daisy chaining gear rather awkward to use when it comes to gainstaging and levels.

But with the side chaining capabilities of the RYTM it definitely makes sense.

Would be nice to hear something from the official side on this issue.

Keeping the A4’s levels balanced across kits - let alone managing the input level to sit in the mix nice across patterns/kits has always been a challenge for me.

I’ve had some luck using the OT’s compressor and EQ settings p-locked across patterns but if I can just use the AR/A4 in tandem with it’s superior analog compressor it would be awesome

@tsv thanks as always! really appreciate filling us in who have to wait a bit to get their units in :disappointed:

this topic interests me because I currently run a drum machine and the A4 into my OT…I run the OT compressor on the drum machine (thru track) and then run a compressor on master track 8 of the OT

Would be nice if I could free up an FX track on master track 8 to do other things and get compression elsewhere…this is running everything OTB obviously.

No idea when my AR will arrive of course. :slight_smile:

Yeah I think this compressor is going to be super useful. I’m liking the sound and functionality a lot so far.