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FX Plug-in Palette I

Lesson 7 from: Advanced Mixing and Sound Design for Podcasters

Jim Briggs

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Lesson Info

7. FX Plug-in Palette I

Lesson Info

FX Plug-in Palette I

I want to just go a little bit more into some of the time-based effects that we'll use. So reverb is obviously one of them. Delay is another one. Delay is you know pretty straightforward if you're working with a with a piece of music delay is just an echo, okay? So you can get into some pretty interesting places with that tool. Does anyone here listen to any dub reggae? So I mean if you do you kinda know the power of that kind of tool and how it can be applied in an interesting way. So you could use it on a drum part like that. Let me see if I move that and the percussion. This is just gonna kinda create like a strange effect but it's good and it's illustrative of what happens in the delay. So this delay unit's a really fun one. Kinda modeled after vintage stuff. Although interesting thing to look out for with a lot of them is they have this thing where they produce analog noise or you know analog noise to make it feel more real. Sometimes that really work and sometimes it doesn't but ...

more often than not it just ends up adding some hiss to it. So if you know your tempo you can plug that in and you can have like those kinds of delays happening but if you don't, you can also just do something that's called a tap. So I think this is actually kind of it at a interesting place already so I'm gonna bypass this just so you can hear it. Okay so delay. Pretty obvious. It tends to work best with sounds that are kind of isolated and in some space or things like guitar lines can end up being pretty interesting out of that context. So that's delay. Not a whole lot to it but you can use feedback into the delay mechanism and get some really interesting things happening. Then there's reverb. Again we talked about how reverb works in a room. There's direct sound. That's me my lips to your ears. The most direct path of the sound in a room this big. In a space where I'm at this distance from you, that is most likely not the bulk of what people are hearing. They're hearing what this room is doing to my voice to bring it to your ears. So you're hearing early reflections from here from here from there, you know and you know obviously if you have some absorptive or diffusive material, that will change the character kind of soft in those reflections. They won't feel as bright as they do when you're in that kind of tight space of a bathroom with tile and it's bouncing right back on you. So you've got the direct sound, you've got those early reflections that's kind of that simple direct not most direct path but the next most direct path and then you have reverb time and that's how it tells us how big a space is. You wonder why a reverb time of like seven seconds feels like a church that's because that's what happens in that space so you know if if you're thinking about how can I make this sound Church like, that's probably gonna be the kind of place the you're gonna go to is you know think of something that's a long resonant trail to it as opposed to a short kind of bathroomy sound. So you actually get control of those different parameters. The early reflections, the amount of reverb, wet/dry is always a tool that you see or a function that you see and then your reverb time. Reverb time is the amount of time that it takes for the sound to die down 60 decibels. You never need to know that or answer that to anybody again but just so you know how we're comparing this phenomenon in these different spaces. It's like how long does it take for it to actually expire in a reasonable way. So I think it's fairly obvious like what kinds of you know spaces you can get to like the the shorter, you know, less time is gonna feel like a smaller space or a box of your space more time is gonna feel like a more advanced space and that's no surprise to anybody but you know if you're trying to get that feeling of someone shouting in a well that's endless or something like that you know, play with the reverb time and then one of my favorite by the way before I get there almost every one of these kinds of tools is gonna have like some stock settings that are a great place to start from. You can kind of go and tweak. This is a hall setting right now. You can go to you know a room setting, church and you see that that early reflection moves way later. So those are great places to start and I just have like a few presets that are from other engineers that I love that I've kinda worked them into my setup too. So that's that one that I first showed you with the looks like the little handheld programming unit that's got some the most buttery long tail reverb that you'll ever hear. Yes I'm a dork. All right so. (laughs) and the next thing that I'll show you out of the time based tools is just this idea of convolution reverb which it's still like reverb but what it is, is there's an actual process of sampling a real space that happens and it's it's pretty remarkable. I don't wanna walk you too much through the process of it but you excite that space with something like a balloon pop or something like that. You obtain a sample from it and then mathematical addition of that sound to the sound that you have is gonna put it in that space which is I mean it feels like voodoo but it's it produces some pretty amazing results,. So Pro Tools. If you're a Pro Tool subscriber and I think it's somewhere around 30 bucks a month if you're just kinda looking to dip your feet in and try it out. They have a complement of plugins that come with it and you can see over here, tons of different spaces, different chapels, churches and that sample that I was talking about like the recording of a different space, people been doing this in other places. In like studios that I used to work in that no longer exist. They're still alive you know and other places like that so there's almost like a little bit of like a sonic archiving happening in some of these places that are not long for this world. So that's great and then some people have been just making you know great post-production presets. It is harder than all get-out to do something like recreating a forest sound but you know this kind of throws your sound into that kind of space and does it pretty reliably. Reverb, I should note is something that we tend to think of as happening in stereo space. However if you're doing something like you've got a mono track, you want to send it to some reverb for just a little bit. I can kind of show you how that works. So lemme make bass here and then I'll make a mono input. So the fact is that this audio is mono so to send it to a stereo space is going to be jarring and strange to the listener. So it's worth paying attention to that. Am gonna bring this over and got a mono version of it and so here's the kind of finishing touch. So L is not going through this reverb. It would make no sense for me to put him to reverb most the time. This is just kind of more for demonstration purposes but I'm gonna just send the very end of him through this reverb. So now this is one way of looking at the volume graphing. I don't do a lot of volume automation but you've probably seen like this kind of breakpoint automation where you bring things up or down with these little breakpoints and that's pretty easy to follow. Every track in Pro Tools has this kind of hidden volume graph line. I tend not to use it. I tend to let my compressors do most of that work and then I will use this to kind of bring up little bits and pieces where I need to but for this is not gonna use automation to control this send that I'm clicking on here. So I do not make it inactive. Okay we go to the send level. We look at that right now and it's a zero. I just put some breakpoints in. Now for this instant it's throwing to reverb. and forgetting what I preach here and then I need to make sure that that goes to my bussing structure. So here-- He's not going through that reverb until that very end. So here I'm just kind of doing this to exaggerate effect in the room or if you're listening at home just to understand but this can be a really great way to kind of cover up those edits where you did have to cut off the the reverb tail just like okay I use something more like a living room setting or you know go to my post-production stuff and go to domestic, living room, here we go. Looks good. And you hear that more of that like kind of short reverb you know the little excitation of the sound in the space and then this is just kind of like a under-the-hood goldmine of these strange presets that kind of turn out Letson into like My Bloody Valentine Okay so yeah I used this a lot just for sound design that I had not considered, right? so I will go in and I will just be like okay let's make some crazy drone and go through here and just just cycle through presets until I find one that kind of has some interesting stuff going on for me. So that's just kind of one aspect of the plug-in palette that I like to look at. The convolution reverb. There are a number of manufacturers that make it. This is one that's native to Pro Tools and Avid but most manufacturers are making them and there are also places where you can download these what they call impulse responses, libraries of other sounds that people have captured both real and very unreal as you just heard there

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