BLEASS Sidekick is a combination of a kick drum synth, a step sequencer, and a ducker (aka a sidechain compressor). The result is a plugin that provides a unique way to create exciting rhythmic dynamics within your music.
The kick drum synth uses an analogue-style engine inspired by vintage beatboxes, which allows it to create a wide range of classic analogue kick drum tones with ease. This synth can be triggered by the built-in 16-step sequencer or by an external MIDI input; its sound can be mixed with the audio passing through the plugin, be used to trigger the plugin’s ducker stage, or both.
Used without the ducker, BLEASS Sidechain makes it easy to add your own kick parts to loops and other percussive parts.
Bringing in the ducker causes the input signal to reduce in volume whenever the kick synth is triggered. When used on a drum loop this lets you impose your own creativity on the underlying feel and beat of the loop, ducking-out the loop’s kick sound and pattern so that you can replace them with a sound and pattern that you have crafted.
Perhaps BLEASS Sidekick’s best trick, though, is to use the kick synth and sequencer purely as a trigger for the ducker. This lets you create fascinating and detailed dynamic rhythms within any part or track, whether individual instrument or an entire mix.
TUNE: Sets the pitch of the kick drum sound, from 20Hz to 100Hz.
WAVEFORM: Selects the waveform that the kick synth will use. The waveform can be morphed smoothly from sine wave to triangle wave.
HARDNESS: Adds overdrive to the kick sound, giving it a harder, brighter edge, and emphasising the pitched part of the sound.
BODY: Mix in a second oscillator tuned an octave above the first, giving a thicker, fuller sound.
IMPACT: Accentuates the initial attack portion of the kick sound, giving more thump and impact.
PUNCH: Adds a resonant filter sweep to the beginning of the kick sound.
PUNCH DECAY: Sets the duration of the Punch filter sweep. Fast settings add a short, punchy transient; longer settings create noticeable filter sweep effects.
DECAY: Controls the overall decay time of the kick drum sound. Use low settings for short, ‘clicky’ kicks; use longer settings for booming and pitched sounds.
GHOST: When enabled, removes the kick sound from the plugin’s output mix. The kick sound can be routed in a different channel thanks to Multi-bus output (iOS: see tutorial) or Multi-out compatible DAWs (Desktop: see tutorial).
GAIN: Sets the output volume level of the kick drum synth.
SEQ. LEN.: Specifies the number of steps in the sequence, from 4 to 16.
STEPS RES.: Sets the length of each step as a note length.
GROOVE: Adds swing timing to the sequencer for a groovier result.
MIDI IN: When enabled, allows you to trigger the kick sequencer from a controller or from a MIDI track within your DAW. Any pattern programmed into the plugin will still play too.
STEP GRID: Shows the steps that will, and will not, trigger the kick synth. The velocity (or loudness) of the trigger is set by dragging up or down within a step’s cell. The alternating grey and blue colour-coding helps you to distinguish each group of four steps.
THRESHOLD: Sets the sensitivity of the ducker effect. When the kick’s volume level exceeds the threshold, a compression process will be applied to the audio passing through the plugin, reducing its volume.
ATTACK: Determines how long it takes for the ducker’s compressor to reach full compression once the threshold has been exceeded.
RELEASE: Determines how long it takes for the ducker’s compressor to return to no compression when the kick synth’s signal falls back below the threshold.
RATIO: Controls how much gain reduction will be applied to the plugin’s signal. Works in conjunction with the Threshold control to determine the overall strength of the ducking effect.
MAKEUP: Compensates for any loss of overall signal level that results from the ducking process.