Cre­at­ing an au­dio

Future Music - - FEATURE -

As we’ve seen else­where in this fea­ture, cre­at­ing spa­tial treat­ments around the core parts of a mix by de­sign­ing long, lush re­verb treat­ments can be an ex­tremely ef­fec­tive way to place sounds in space. How­ever, some­times it’s worth think­ing about sound in a slightly dif­fer­ent way. The only draw­back with re­verb is that no mat­ter how much you ma­nip­u­late a re­verb’s pa­ram­e­ters or seek to create some­thing un­usual, at the heart of that treat­ment, you’ll find the har­monic foot­print of the sound(s) trig­ger­ing it. As a re­sult, the artis­tic brush­strokes of those re­verb tails will be painted in the same colours as the sounds at their core.

What if you could think about tex­tu­ral treat­ments in an­other way, al­most seek­ing to create a ‘can­vas’ of sound made from one or more tex­tu­ral lay­ers and then place the sounds cen­tral to your track in the fore­ground, on top of those? In one of the videos ac­com­pa­ny­ing this fea­ture, we’ve ex­plored that very con­cept by us­ing the ‘Am­bi­ent De­signer’ patch within Vir2’s Apollo Cin­e­matic Gui­tars library for Kon­takt 5. This in­stru­ment takes an in­ter­est­ing ap­proach to cre­at­ing a pitched layer of tex­tu­ral sound by al­low­ing you to draw on a se­ries of loops, phrases and tex­tures, all of which can matched to the key of your track.

Each sound group con­tains one or more tex­tures and each is trig­gered from its own ded­i­cated oc­tave. Each sound can be au­di­tioned via its own key press but the best way to build up a full layer of pitched am­bi­ence is to en­gage the Latch but­ton, which acts as a kind of au­to­matic looper for any new notes or phrases you wish to add. If you trig­ger some­thing you don’t like, sim­ply press that key again and the loop will dis­en­gage. Be­cause all of the lay­ers of sound were orig­i­nally recorded from some­one play­ing the gui­tar, nu­ance and ‘hu­man per­for­mance’ are ev­i­dent in each sound and this gives a won­der­fully nat­u­ral feel, even to some of the most pro­cessed tex­tures.

Once you’ve built up a col­lec­tion of sounds you like, you can turn Latch off. Apollo will re­mem­ber the snap­shot of set­tings which were ac­tive up to this mo­ment and now, key C7 will trig­ger this col­lec­tion from a sin­gle key, leav­ing you free to start and stop it when­ever you like.

Broader strokes

Apollo’s Am­bi­ent De­signer can go fur­ther, pro­vid­ing you with a set of mixer func­tions for each sound layer, ef­fects and plenty more be­sides, but you don’t need to buy this library to be in­spired by its ca­pa­bil­i­ties and to start think­ing about ways to bring some of what it does so well to your own pro­duc­tions. Any pitched in­stru­ment will al­low you to do some­thing sim­i­lar, if you’re pa­tient at the post pro­duc­tion phase to blur out the im­me­di­acy of sounds, to round off any sharp edges and to use space as a col­lec­tion of lay­ers around your source record­ings. Record a vi­o­lin phrase and then put a re­verb on an ef­fects insert in its chan­nel, set­ting a 100% wet bal­ance in the mix. Roll out the up­per fre­quen­cies and add a wide stereo de­lay so that the re­ver­ber­ated sig­nal is split into two sep­a­rate, smudged channels. Then record some pizzi­cato from the same in­stru­ment, or gen­tly bow a syn­co­pated rhyth­mic pat­tern over the top. Find an­other col­lec­tion of ef­fects (which com­ple­ment this new sound and are a good fit for the first one too) and place it in a dif­fer­ent po­si­tion in the stereo field.

There’s no end to how far you could take this process, slowly build­ing up chords by in­tro­duc­ing new notes, or new ar­tic­u­la­tions to trig­ger very am­bi­ent or more per­cus­sive el­e­ments in your se­quence. Tak­ing time to de­sign the ‘can­vas’ sounds on which more fore­ground el­e­ments can be painted is just as re­ward­ing as de­sign­ing those big, stand­out sounds. And they’ll bring huge amounts of orig­i­nal­ity to your pro­duc­tions.

What if you could think about tex­tu­ral treat­ments in an­other way?

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