Ro­nan Mac­don­ald roughs up beats with dig­i­tal dis­tor­tion

Computer Music - - Contents -

Last is­sue, we saw the ways ana­loguestyle dis­tor­tion can be brought to bear on drums, to make them dirt­ier and more en­er­getic. This time, we turn our at­ten­tion to dig­i­tal dis­tor­tion: that is, bit depth and sam­ple-rate re­duc­tion. There are count­less plug­ins for this job – many ded­i­cated en­tirely to those pro­cesses, oth­ers in­cor­po­rat­ing them as part of a broader cre­ative re­mit.

Dig­i­tal dis­tor­tion – par­tic­u­larly drop­ping the bit depth – is about as ri­otous as ef­fects get, so be care­ful with those con­trols, lest you blow your speak­ers, ears and/or mind; and ex­er­cise taste and aes­thetic judge­ment when ap­prais­ing the sounds you’re mak­ing. A good gen­eral rule with any dis­tor­tion or sat­u­ra­tion-based ef­fect is to set it where you think it sounds right, then back it off a touch. Un­less, of course, your goal is to­tal dec­i­ma­tion – in which case, have at it!

In this tu­to­rial, then, I’ll be mess­ing up my 808 loop from last time us­ing Na­tive In­stru­ments’ Dirt, Togu Au­dio Line’s TAL-DAC and FabFil­ter Saturn. These can all be sub­sti­tuted with any bit depth and sam­ple-rate re­duc­tion plug­ins you like, as as­sum­ing any pe­riph­eral con­trols ( jit­ter, fil­ter­ing, etc) are ze­roed, and dis­re­gard­ing any cir­cuit modelling that might also be play­ing a part, they should all sound the same, what with both pro­cesses be­ing en­tirely math­e­mat­i­cal in na­ture.

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