12 ar­range­ment ef­fects

Use these tools to de­sign great tran­si­tions and vari­a­tions for new song sec­tions

Computer Music - - Make Music Now / Arrange Tracks Like A Pro -


Throw­ing a snare into a long re­verb on the last beat of the bar be­fore a break­down makes for a smooth tran­si­tion as the long tail dies away into the next sec­tion. Pretty much any re­verb plugin will work for this – we par­tic­u­larly like D16 Group’s To­raverb 2.


De­lay is, of course, an es­sen­tial item in any pro­ducer’s tool­kit – a ping-pong, quar­ter-note de­lay works bril­liantly on ris­ers and down­lifters, and a synced re­peat can add life to the dullest of synth parts. For a great re­sult, try u-he’s new Colour Copy or Even­tide’s QuadraVox.


Most fil­ters or sin­gle-band EQs will be able to han­dle the task of fil­ter­ing down drums dur­ing break­downs and builds, but as stock plug­ins go, Able­ton Live’s Auto Fil­ter is a par­tic­u­larly good one for this job. It’s an ab­so­lute dod­dle to set up and use, and sounds great.


Flang­ing has been with us since the dawn of time, but that doesn’t make it any less ef­fec­tive for pro­duc­ing a star­tling dy­namic ef­fect that can re­ally switch up a sec­tion of your track. Ev­ery DAW comes with a flanger, so try it on per­cus­sion or vo­cals for in­stant sat­is­flang­tion!

kilo­Hearts Trance Gate

Avail­able free with 261, Trance Gate is a gem of a plugin for quickly di­alling in gated ef­fects that work on just about any­thing. Used as a spot ef­fect in odd places, it’s a handy tool for gen­er­at­ing quirky chunks of ear candy be­tween dif­fer­ent sec­tions. kilo­hearts.com

Ap­ple Step FX

A rem­nant of Ap­ple’s ac­qui­si­tion of Camel Au­dio (and thus only avail­able as part of Logic Pro X), Step FX pro­vides Cho­rus, De­lay, Dis­tor­tion, Fil­ter­ing and pro­gram­mable gat­ing all in one tasty bun­dle, and can trans­form the dullest of synth parts into in­spir­ing rhyth­mi­cal grooves. ap­ple.com

Stein­berg LoopMash

Only avail­able with Cubase, there’s noth­ing quite like LoopMash for gen­eral beat man­gling. It’s its tal­ent for cre­at­ing stut­ter and re­peat ef­fects on the fly with just a tap on your MIDI key­board that makes it a great ar­range­ment tool, how­ever. stein­berg.com

iZo­tope Vo­calSynth 2

iZo­tope’s Vo­calSynth has all but rev­o­lu­tionised the way chart hits are made. Blur­ring the bound­aries be­tween vo­cals and, er, synths, it af­fords you end­less scope for cre­at­ing vari­a­tions on ex­ist­ing song sec­tions. times­pace.com

Sugar Bytes Tur­nado

This bril­liantly men­tal plugin is a bit like an au­dio blender – fill eight slots with a se­lec­tion of 24 sep­a­rate plug­ins, then mod­u­late their depths us­ing a mini built-in se­quencer known as the Dic­ta­tor. Fan­tas­tic for ran­dom, glitchy tran­si­tion ef­fects when you need a quick idea for a fill. sugar-bytes.de

AIR The Riser

A synth-based tran­si­tion de­signer in­stru­ment specif­i­cally built to pro­duce ris­ers, falls, swells, fades and more. Based on a three-os­cil­la­tor synth engine with mul­ti­ef­fects, and with over 300 pre­sets to get you started, it’s a great go-to re­source for the time-re­stricted tran­si­tion­ist. air­mu­sictech.com

Gl­itchMachines Frac­ture

This free, cross-plat­form glitch plugin comes with a ton of pre­sets, so if glitch is your thing, it’s a great source of in­spi­ra­tion for gen­eral weird­ness. Take a two-bar sec­tion of au­dio and man­gle it to the edges of recog­nis­abil­ity in just a cou­ple of clicks. gl­itchmachines.com

In­ear Dis­play Eury­dice CM

A freebie avail­able with ev­ery is­sue of this mag­a­zine, Eury­dice CM com­bines Buf­fer, Fil­ter, De­lay and Crusher pro­ces­sors to cre­ate wacky tran­si­tion ef­fects you prob­a­bly won’t hear any­where else. Our ad­vice is to strap a brick­wall lim­iter across its out­put be­fore you start ex­per­i­ment­ing! file­silo.co.uk/com­put­er­mu­sic

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