When needing extra layers of sound FX for a track, I like to use the content of the track itself to generate these sounds. For example, you can run the song, or parts of it, through a series of FX and record it. A chain worth experimenting with is Track > Distortion > Delay with tons of feedback. So hit record and tweak away. Be bold, take chances. Then you’ll have this performance on another track which you can bring into the mix when some noisy stuff is needed (like a swell or a crash) and it’s source will be the track it is being used on. Sometimes it can adapt your tracks tonality or original sound design.
Some FX respond interestingly to being fed back into themselves. In the below video, I am running all of the drums into the Pigtronix Mothership synthesizer pedal. That returns to its own fader on the board and then that return fader gets sent back into its own input via an aux send on the board. So the signal chain is Drums > Synth Pedal > Synth Pedal > Synth Pedal… you get the idea. It’s feedback!
There is also some delay too and we all know that feedback is a key component to multiple delay taps.
Try this out with any effect that has a sequence, rate, or other time dependent parameter and you may open up sonic doors never explored. Share the files for hearing if you do!
I teach a class at Purchase called Creative Production Techniques and this semester we spent some time exploring microphone construcion and usage. When thinking about real spaces and room mics, we came up with an idea to blast some samples into a large hall, record it, chop it, and lay it out on a sampler. The results were pretty rewarding. Now all of the classic drum machine sounds already in our library can also be used with a nice natural reverb on them.
It’s been a few months since I’ve been around. I apologize for the absence and am grateful for your patience while I embarked on several big projects. In September of 2010 I relocated my studio, Butcha Sound, to the legendary Music Building in Manhattan at 251 W30th street. While making the change to a new spot that required new desks and a few hundred cables, I remained working on a few albums that were already in progress. I’ve been set up for a few weeks now and its been incredible being 3 blocks away from Madison Square Garden and feeling the wild energy that only NYC can generate. We’ve been host to some very interesting sessions and lessons, including our unique Drum Machine Camp, where students get to jam on some vintage pieces of drum machine history.
One simple trick I like to use to give mono tracks a little stereo life is to create a duplicate track, pan them opposite each other, and delay one of the tracks slightly (anywhere from 1-40 ms). I often use this on claps and snares to widen them, and on background vocals and doubles to give a fuller sound. I’ve definitely used it on 303 lines and other synths too. (See 1:45 on the video of Innovation.) If you are using Pro Tools, you can easily pull this off by insterting a mono/stereo delay and turning one side’s mix to 0% (basically turnng the effect off on that side) and turning the other side to 100% wet. Then, play with the delay time on the 100% wet side to dial in the desired width. After you pass 25ms, you will begin to hear the events as two different rhythmic events, but this may be a desired effect.
This technique draws from the Haas effect, where Germany’s Helmut Haas studied the psychoacoustic effects of reflections on the perception of speech. Check it out.
I needed to make some dub FX for a rehearsal tonight with Uzimon so I finally put into use the software editor for the Dave Smith MoPho. I’ve had this lil’ one voice jammer in my setup for a few years but I never took the time (all 10 minutes) to try out using a computer to program it. Man, I’ve been missing out on a lot. Programming this thing with its 4 Assignable Parameters knobs is so limited when compared to seeing it all laid out on the screen.