utilizing early reflections in a production

A quite often underestimated or even forgotten production technique is to take advantage of artificial early reflections which could be added somewhere during the mixing process. Without inserting any fully fledged reverberation at all, applying such techniques allows to dramatically increase stereo width and depth perception as well as a way better instrument localization even in a busy mix. Creating density is not the goal here but the opposite is the name of the game: achieving a clear and intelligible mix.

In a simple case, one can place a short and plain delay (a slap-back echo) on a track and properly place it in the stereo field – maybe on the opposite side of the source but that’s just an example. More sophisticated tap delays could be used to create a sort of room experience and some reverberators are allowing to disable the late reverb diffusion and just to use their early reflection generation. There are no restrictions in general – allowed is what gets the job done in that specific mixing situation.

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the Lexicon 224 reverb sound

As one of the first digital reverbs ever, the Lexicon 224 indeed is a classic device and even today, the Lexicon 224 reverb has its place in quite a lot of studios and productions. Whenever it comes down to that larger-than-life sound or that certain graininess, which cuts through a busy mix that easily, the 224 delivers. Of course, it can’t compete with todays smooth and silky reverb algorithms at all but instead and with its typical movement and animation, the 224 reverb tail offers tons of charm and character. [Read more…]

the many shapes of delay

VRS-23

About the different applications of audio delay effects.

There are quite a number of different types and applications for the audio delay effect in the audio production ranging from plain technical delay application up to all the musical and creative ranges of application. The rather technical or correctional delay typically is a plain digital delay which serves as a sample accurate alignment tool. Such alignments might be necessary for example for plug-in delay compensation (when a plug-in introduces latency) or during the mixing process to align a group of recorded tracks or samples. The so-called pre-delay can also be seen as an alignment sort of thing where the direct source signal has to be aligned in a positive or negative manner in relation to a processed signal, e.g. in a reverb effect. [Read more…]

reverb and delay, retro style

(via preservationsound.com)

the Dynacord VRS-23 analog delay

(click images to enlarge)

The VRS-23 was a quite successful BBD delay in the 80’s and some thousands of units were sold during that time. It’s a mono-in / stereo-out device and capable of delay times up to around 400ms. Providing also very short timings and a modulation option makes it capable of creating chorus and flanger type of effects as well. There were different revisions available and shown here is a later one with the white faceplate. [Read more…]

some great freebie tips

Urs' Tyrell Nexus6

Quite recently u-he released his awesome “Tyrell” software synthesizer as a freeware for the german online magazine amazona.de. If you are seriously into synth based music production then this is a must try for sure. It does not feature any fancy fx section but just raw synth waveform combination and modulation which are executed brilliantly. Soundwise this offers true analog qualities which includes both, punch and balls as well as some mojo which you rarely find in digital synths as of today. [Read more…]

NastyDLA – some tape delay fun

To make up a complete and sustaining sequence out of  some melodic pattern is a standard task for the electronic musician. The good old tape delay is his best friend then, providing not only consistent and sustainable echos which are glueing nicely with the original signal but also offering some realtime modulation possibilities as well, to animate some maybe rather static sources.

In this short demo a static pattern is used and NastyDLA is going to be in charge as a tape delay replacement. The chorus is not used in this example but the plug-ins coloring possibilities are shown to some extend: After some bars the timbre of the delay feedback loop changes to a higher pitch and then to a lower one (and vice versa) while simultaneously the feedback amounts are going to change. To the end when the pattern stops, the “tape speed” is slowed down first and accelerated back again afterwards to demonstrate its artifact-free modulation capabilities.

Note how smooth the saturation behaves when driven into self oscillation w/o the usual amount of aliasing artifacts. The delay line generation in this example is set to “dual mono” mode (with 8th to the left and dotted 8th to the right) and the time modulations can be done separate per channel. All animations were done in realtime with host automation and in general all plug-in parameters can be automated in the host.

NastyDLA – first public audio shot

A plain riff played with a simple Kontakt sample based guitar, no additional modulations or reverb is used.

Download both naked and rendered version in wav quality here.

short links, September 2010 edition

Lets start with another small but compelling Blog about gear and stuff as it has been raised this spring: groovesandgrammar.wordpress.com. The nerd might prefer something like www.nerdcore.de, www.modulatethis.com or maybe jakemcmillan.wordpress.com (man, that guy is crazy) while the designer chooses blog.iso50.com or so. Performance, anyone?  Yes, and here is a great one, as found on Vimeo earlier on: Ostracon Video from Unearthed Music.

While sitting here and writing, some gentle tunes of composer Paul Haslinger are playing in the background (check out www.myspace.com/phaslinger) – I adore his work quite a lot. Next on the playlist is Matthew Herbert – that will probably add some contrast. And if that’s not enough I might end up in watching this Detroit techno documentary again.

By the way, if some frequent travellers are reading here by accident, there is an excellent made Blog on guidebook.se with some very detailed and useful reports about the really cool locations, hotels and restaurants. Add www.tablethotels.com to that and your next stop in foreign cities might become even more convenient.

If you are more technically interested in things like pitch shifting and reverb design then Sean Costellos Blog is a good address to stop by and read.  I had a lot of fun in doing so and on top of that I’ve had some further fun in reading the Massive Passive manual which is really educating when it comes down to parallel EQ design (no, I’m currently not working on such concepts).

Just in case you’ve missed it on your tube, AutomaticGainsay is meanwhile offering quite a bunch of introduction or tutorial videos about MS-20, ARP2600 and the like. Did we missed some more gearpron? Here we go: synthnl.blogspot.com.

epicVerb vstpresets up again

The epicVerb vstpresets had been not available to download for quite a while and that was because the eV 1.5 update had broke compatibility. The stuff is back online again now.

What is that file about? It only matters for Cubase 4 (or higher) users and provides the original factory preset bank but with additional 25:75 and 50:50 dry/wet mix levels so one could use the presets more easily on the insert bus. I hope someday eV will have a “wet only” switch (or such alike) to make this obsolet.

To download the vstpresets archive just go to the downloads page here. Credits goes to user susiwong.