Cakewalk Sonar 7: Use Sidechained Processors For Special Effects

OBJECTIVE: Create the “heavy pumping” electronica drum sound used by artists like Eric Prydz. BACKGROUND: Sonar 7 allows sidechaining for several effects, including compression, so that one instrument can control the compression characteristics of another instrument. This offers a variety of effects, including a “pumping” drum sound for multitracked drum parts; we’ll do that by setting up the snare to control compression for all drum tracks.


  1. Create a drum submix bus, and send the drum tracks to it. Turn the individual drum channel faders down so that only the bus contributes the drum sound to the master.
  2. Assign the Drum Submix output to your main stereo out (master) bus.
  3. Insert the Sonitus:Compressor (which allows for sidechaining) in the Drum Submix bus’s effects bin.
  4. Set the compressor for really heavy compression—e.g., threshold below –20 and a ratio higher than 10:1.
  5. Create another stereo bus and assign its output to the Sonitus:Compressor’s sidechain input.
  6. Create a second pre-fader send in the snare track, and assign its out to the bus feeding the sidechain input.
  7. Start with the compression attack time set to 0ms; the drum sound will essentially disappear when the snare hits because the gain is being reduced so much. Gradually increase the attack time to let through more of the initial snare hit, and add a fair amount of release (250–50ms) to increase the apparent amount of pumping.


  • In Step 1, make sure to feed the bus pre-fader.
  • To create a bus, right-click in an empty space in the bus pane and select “Insert Stereo Bus.” To create a send in track view, right-click in a blank space in the track title bar and select “Insert Send.” From the menu that appears, select the send destination.
  • In Step 4, a softer knee curve often sounds better than a hard knee.