If you're a guitarist and you're not into multiband distortion...well, you should be. Just as multiband compression delivers a smoother, more transparent form of dynamics control, multiband distortion delivers a "dirty" sound like no other. Not only does it give a smoother effect with guitar, it's a useful tool for drums, bass, and believe it or not, program material – some people (you know who you are!) have even used it with mastering to add a distinctive, unique "edge."
Convolution reverbs are based on samples rather than synthesis, which produces a highly realistic sound. Technically speaking, convolution is a mathematical term that describes what happens when you multiply two spectra. For reverb, one of these will be the sound source itself, and the other will be an impulse, which is a recording of an acoustic space’s characteristics; but all you need to know is that convolution reverbs can sound great, and here's the place to find out more.
Although this article is based on drum loops and computer-based plug-ins, these techniques also apply to hardware processors used in conjunction with drum machines that have individual outs, or multitracked drums recorded on a multitrack recorder (or sample library tracks bounced over to a multitrack). Try some of these techniques, and you'll create drum sounds that are as unique as a fingerprint. Besides, what good are all these great new toys if you don't exploit them?
Back when hardware was king, creating parallel effects was pretty easy. You'd send an output into a Y-cable, split it to two different effects, and there you had it: Instant parallel processing, where one signal could take two different paths. DAWs make the process a little more difficult, but of course, the reason why this article exists is because we have a solution.
There's nothing like the sound of real reverb, such as what you hear in a cathedral or symphonic hall. For a digital reverb to synthesize this level of complexity is a daunting task, but the quality and realism of digital reverb continues to improve. However, the only way to unlock the true power of digital reverb is to understand how its parameters affect the sound. Sure, you can just call up a preset and hope for the best; but for world-class reverb, you need to tweak it for the best possible match to the source material - find out how.
Dynamics processing with studio-oriented processors? Been there, done that. But have you re-visited it lately in a guitar context? Dynamics control for vocals or program material is very different compared to guitar, because there are many ways to use dynamics processing for guitar (or bass). So, let's take a look at the different ways to apply dynamics, with examples of suggested settings.
Yes, it's all the rage: Lo-fi music, where you mess up sound not because you lack experience or can't afford good gear, but because you want to mess it up - and mess it up good. In this article, we'll consider when bad things happen to good basses, and why that can be fun.
Equalization is one of the most important and powerful tools in the recording enthusiast’s arsenal, yet too many people adjust equalization with their eyes – not their ears. For example, one time after doing a mix, I noticed the client writing down all the EQ settings I had made. When I asked why, he said it was because he liked the EQ and wanted to use the same settings on these instruments in future mixes – but EQ doesn't work that why. Find out why.
Although discontinued, DigiTech's Genesis3 remains a versatile, cost-effective studio processor. In fact, it's one of a select group of signal processors that makes it easy to "re-amp" your guitar track with a hard disk recording system's plug-ins - and it's still supported by editing software and the latest firmware update.
Propellerheads' ReCycle is a cross-platform software tool for creating REX files, which can stretch tempo and pitch independently. The process works by cutting a digital audio file into multiple slices, usually with the cut points at steep attack transients. So what does this have to do with signal processing? And how can chopping waveforms into little pieces do cool things? Read on for the answers.
When Dave Smith introduced Evolver, a lot of keyboard players salivated over the prospect of a compact, inexpensive, great-sounding monophonic synth with an artful blend of analog and digital technology. Almost lost in the shuffle was the fact that it had guitar- and studio-friendly stereo inputs, with pretty potent processing power - as this article describes.
Compressors are some of the most used, and most misunderstood, signal processors. Besides, compression was supposed to become an antique when the digital age, with its wide dynamic range, appeared.
Yet the compressor is more popular than ever, with more variations on the basic concept than ever before. Let's look at what's available, pros and cons of the different types, and applications.
Wall warts, and their cousins the line lumps, are a fact of life. But they're not even remotely interchangeable, and even if they have the same specs, one piece of gear might count on a voltage drop whereas another doesn't. Don't plug the wrong wart into the wrong effects - label them!
Many guitar multieffects have a footpedal that can be assigned to various parameters; for amp sims, you can use general-purpose MIDI control pedals. Although volume and wah tend to be the typical default pedal assignments, a lot of other parameters are well-suited to pedal control—and controlling them can add real-time expressiveness to your playing, and variety to your sound.
The critics are right: pitch correction can suck all the life out of vocals. But the critics are also totally wrong, because pitch correction—if applied selectively—can enhance vocals tremendously, without anyone ever suspecting the sound had been corrected. Pitch correction can sometimes even add the kind of imperfections that make a vocal sound more “alive.” Want to know how to do this? Keep reading.
This guide is aimed at newbies to the POD HD experience—as well as those who have dismissed, given negative reviews, or returned one of the POD HD line of products because of the higher-than-average learning curve for such not-so-simple computer based gear. This guide, written by Neal Vanderhoof, is intended to get you off on the right foot so you can get the most out of this family of sophisticated guitar processors.
This is an article about wah wah pedals, but we're not going to go too far into discussing the traditional uses - you're going to have to figure out how to get funky with a wah on your own. Instead, let's take a look at a less frequently discussed use for wah pedals, but one that has nevertheless been used by many musicians: the parked wah.
Many guitarists think of delay (a.k.a. “DDL,” for “digital delay line”) as the effect that produces an echo sound, and while that’s true, it doesn’t begin to tell the whole story of what a delay is capable of. A full-featured digital delay unit, one with precise controls, complex modulation circuitry, and good display read-outs can produce a range sounds—from flanging to chorus to doubling to ambience to slapback, to discrete repeats that can be synched to tempo-dependent rhythmic values.
When living in the world of guitars and amps, few things are more impressive than standing in front of a stack of cabinets. It’s not just about the visuals; multiple cabinets can add a tonal quality that’s impossible to duplicate in any other way. However, reality often intrudes in the form of how many physical stacks you can actually carry, hook up, and record (or play through live). Fortunately, these days we don’t always have to live in the real world: We can live in a virtual one, and use amp sims to do our bidding.
Guitar Rig is an extremely capable processor that can also host studio effects (like Native Instruments' Vintage Compressors) as well as guitar components. But it got its start as an amp sim, and these tips can help maximize its potential. Although this article is based around Guitar Rig 4, many of these tips also apply to Guitar Rig 5 as well as Guitar Rig 3.
Many modern delay pedals let you specify the discrete repeats according to musical subdivisions. For example, if your pedal has a tap tempo function, all you have to is tap to the beat (which the pedal assumes is the quarter note), and the chosen mode (usually) does the work for you, spitting out perfect eighth notes, eighth-note triplets, or 16th notes. But with older pedals, you often have to calculate how to get the right delay for a particular tempo. Ready for some math? It's really not that difficult.
Octave dividers aren’t just for guitar players: They also rock for bass, whether you’re getting mega-low sounds from the lower strings, or playing high up on the neck for very cool 8-string bass effects. It’s easy to do octave division with amp sims and DAWs, but there are some definite tricks involved - which this article describes.
In the psychedelic 60s, there weren't digital delays or DSP, so many effects - like echo - were done with tape, and this includes flanging. It wasn't real time, as signals had to be recorded first and then go past the playback head, but this had the advantage of the processed signal being able to be delayed not only compared to the dry signal, but even move ahead of it. But can you actually go into the future with plug-ins? Well, it can sure seem that way . . .
You can use many multieffects either in program mode, where each memory location can dial up a different set of effects, or stompbox mode, where each effect's location (distortion, delay, etc.) is fixed, and stepping on the pedalboard switches at the appropriate location toggles the effects on or off. In stompbox mode, you set up your effects to match the physical layout of your stompboxes—and it's the way to go for live performance.
There are still many pedals that lack EQ entirely, or that could benefit from more EQ adjustment than the onboard tone controls provide. Modifying the sound of distortion pedals is just one area where a dedicated EQ pedal can be very useful. Let's have a look at some of the types of EQ that you may find in pedal form, and what sort of problems they can solve; as well as some creative purposes for which they're well-suited.
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