Finding the perfect sound is not an easy task. The most important thing is to have the desired sound in mind even before you start working and know what effects to use, when, and where to apply to get the best results.
So-called bit crusher effects that reduce sample rate and bit depth aren’t only useful for getting lo-fi sounds. The aliasing caused by sample rate reduction introduces high-pitched artifacts into a signal, and this can be useful if you want to imbue a predominantly low-end sound (for example, a bass line) with some crunchy character. Bit-depth reduction can also make bass sounds grittier and severely reduce dynamic range when set to extreme values.
If a sound isn’t filling out the frequency spectrum as much as you’d like, consider duplicating the track and pitch-shifting the audio up or down an octave as appropriate. This can be especially useful for creating atmospheric vocal effects or to help give weight to acoustic bass sounds playing in higher keys.
If you’re struggling to give a sound the full frequency range impact you desire, consider adding a burst of noise at the start of it. This can either drop in volume rapidly or be filtered out with an envelope. This technique works well with snares that have a solid impact but don’t really sizzle in the highs. Be sure to EQ out any lows that interfere with the main snare’s impact.
Gate effects, while intended as a mixing tool, also have their uses in sound design. For instance, if a sound has a reverb tail you don’t like, you can use a gate plugin to silence it. Set the gate’s Threshold fairly high so only the wet signal passes through, then add your own reverb effect after the gate to replace the lost tail with one of your own reverb settings.
Using reverbs and delays on sends is great for practical reasons, but it’s also handy for sound design purposes. It’s common practice to use EQ after a reverb or delay plugin to filter out any extreme low and high frequencies that have crept in, but try adding modulation effects like a chorus, phaser, or flanger to add more width, movement, and character to the reverb, or transform it altogether.
A handy way to make a part that relies heavily on synthesized sounds a bit more organic is to layer it with its real-world equivalent – for instance, try putting a sustained string sound over a sawtooth-based ‘synth strings’ pad. This gives you the best of both worlds: the full weighty body of the synthesized tone along with the natural imperfections and authentic character of the real-world sound.
An extremely quick and easy way to give a sound precise movement is to sweep a band-stop filter over it. For example, put Philta CM into Notch mode and set its Highpass filter Cutoff just above the Lowpass one. Engage Link mode and use either the Cutoff knob to sweep the filters up or down over the course of the sound.
If you’ve got a sound with the right character but no weight, use a visual analysis plugin such as our own Spiral CM or your DAW’s audio-to-MIDI capabilities to discern its root note. Now use a sub or other beefy synth sound to play that note or the same note at a lower octave. Some fine-tuning of the synth’s amplitude envelope may be necessary to ensure that it sits naturally with the original sound.
Using vocals as the modulator input for a vocoder creates the classic “talking synth” effect, but rhythmic loops and beats are a great alternative. To give your sustained synth chords a more rhythmic feel, route them to a vocoder’s carrier input, and feed the modulator input with a drum loop or other rhythmic sound. Most vocoders will give you some kind of release time control that will allow you to make the rhythmic effects tighter or lazier.
This techniques are very frequent used by majority of sound designers and sound engineers in searching for perfect sound. If you enjoyed this article share with your friends, also any comment is welcome.