I haven’t posted anything game related for over a year. I don’t get to play that much these days, and since long I’ve noticed that the game posts don’t get as much attention as the ones about music production do. Still, I started this blog focusing on both subjects. And the very first post, way back in the beginning of 2013, was about Call of Duty.
This video shows my first efforts of quickscoping in Call of Duty: WWII. I’m not good, but maybe I can be a little better.
Shimmer is a feedback-reverb-pitch-shift-effect made popular by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. The idea is to feed a reverb to a pitch shifter and back again. Each delay repetition gets shifted one octave up. In this case I’m using Ableton Live with stock effects, the Reverb and Grain Delay where the signal gets delayed and pitch shifted. You can use these guidelines in different environments (hardware/software) but here’s how I do it:
Insert two Return Tracks and put a Reverb on A.
Turn off Input Processing Hi Cut, set Global Quality to High, turn off Diffusion Network High, a fairly long Decay Time and turn the Dry/Wet to 100 %.
Enable Send B on the Return Track A and set it to max.
Use the Grain Delay on Return Track B.
Set Frequency to 1.00 Hz and Pitch to 12.0.
Enable Send A on the Return Track B and set it to max.
Dial Send A of the Track with the signal source that you what to shimmer.
Also try to bring in Send B on the signal. And play with the Size and Diffuse controls of the Reverb.
To do so, three copies of the sound are needed. Or, as this post will show, you could split the frequency into three bands (high, mid and low). By doing this, it is possible to apply different signal processing on each band.
Now I usually try to write about music production on a more abstract level, and not about a specific DAW or instrument, but this time I going to illustrate with Ableton Live on Mac. The theory is the same though, you just need to figure out how it works in your particular environment.
So I’m using the stock effect Multiband Dynamics to split frequency. The device has noticeable affect and coloration on the signal, even when the intensity amount if set to zero, but it should be transparent enough for now.
Drop a Multiband Dynamics in the Device View.
Set the Amount control to 0.0 % to neutralize compression or gain adjustments to the signal.
Group the Multiband Dynamics in an Audio Effect Rack (select the device and press CMD + G).
Show the Chain List of the rack.
Dictate the crossover points on High and Low (the Mid consists of what is left in between, so remember to also change the crossover points in the mid chain if you make adjustments on the others), e.g. set the bottom of the frequency range of the high band to 1.00 kHz.
Duplicate the selected chain two times.
Rename all of the chains High, Mid and Low, from top to bottom.
Solo each band respectively on the Split Freq, i.e. solo Low on the low chain.
Now process each band individually. Use a Utility device on the low chain and set Width to 0.0 % to direct the low frequencies to mono. Also, on this band, set up a side-chain compression triggered by the kick drum. Try a stereo widening effect and some reverb on the mid chain. And perhaps a little saturation to add some crunch on the high chain, I dunno, it’s up to you.
I’ve made a synthesized sountrack-like suite this summer. I’d a different approach to composing and presentation than my usual routines; the new tracks are more melodic, less aggressive. I also had to manage the suite on micro sessions, in the corner of the apartment, due to family and raging kids. Anyway listen.
The first volca I got was the bass, and it was the last of the modules I sold. I’ve had three volcas – bass, keys and sample – and I’ve owned two of them for over two years.
While they had their own ecosystem they never quite fit in my particular, DAW-driven, workflow.
The three detunable VCOs of the bass, and the ring modulation of the keys, are great features, but in practice, when I wanted a bass or a lead sound for a track, I sometimes tried using a volca first, but then ended up designing those sounds on other synths. Like always. While the volcas sound fine for the money, they are not on par with my other synths, well that’s just me.
Anyway, I recently acquired the discontinued monotribe, and oh man, that timbre is golden!
Its sound might be clicky, noisy and dirty, but I do prefer this tone over the analog volcas’. To my ears, the filter is so much better on the monotribe, and the LFO is wild and really dope.
I still have to test run it in context of a full track though.
I didn’t expect much of the drumpart, but it’s cool enough it turns out.
So yeah, try to get a monotribe if you haven’t already. I got mine to 70 USD, meaning it’s the next cheapest gear I’ve got.
The Korg monotribe is a desktop analog monophonic synthesizer with an additional three preset drums sounds. Its sound is warm and rich but quite clicky and noisy – although I think I prefer this timbre over the newer volca series. The monotribe was released in 2011 and is now discontinued.
How to Silent the VCO When Processing External Audio
The synth has an audio in port to feed external audio into 12 dB/oct lowpass filter (which uses the same circuit as the classic MS-10/MS-20). The crux is that the synth engine must be triggered to run the filter, meaning it’s not possible to process external audio solo (without being modded). But the LFO can modulate the oscillator so that it becomes nearly inaudible. The workaround below is not exactly neat, but should do the trick. On the monotribe, do as follows:
Press PLAY button and then REC.
Set RANGE select switch to WIDE and press the highest key on the RIBBON keyboard during the whole sequence.
Set EG to GATE.
Switch TARGET to VCO.
Set MODE to 1SHOT.
Set WAVE to SQUARE WAVE.
Set LFO RATE knob to minimum speed and INT. to maximum depth.
Select TRIANGLE WAVE on modulation waveform WAVE.
How to CV Control the monotribe with the Analog Keys’ Keyboard
OS version 2.11 allows the SYNC IN connection to be used as a pitch CV/gate input. This makes it possible to control the monotribe with an external keyboard or sequencer (which is great because the ribbon keyboard is almost impossible to play). There are many ways to do this, but the theory is the same: send CV and gate via a TRRS 4-pole mini jack – where gate is tip and CV the second ring.
Now I got an Elektron Analog Keys which can send both tip and ring from the same CV output, but to do that to the monotribe I’d need a special cable (sort of TRS to TRRS) and I haven’t soldered any yet. So until then, I hacked a workable cable with many different pieces I found laying around (e.g. the composite video cable was provided with a TV I acquired last year). Again, you can build this patch cable more streamlined, but here’s my solution:
Connect a composite video cable to SYNC IN on the monotribe and connect a RCA connector, white male to white female and red male to yellow female. On the other end, connect a pair of adaptors, RCA female to mono 3.5 mm mini jack male and then another pair of adaptors, 3.5 mm mini jack female to 6.3 mm jack male and plug white in CV AB and red/yellow in CV CD on Analog Keys.
While this setup only uses the tips, and demands both CV ports on Analog Keys, set CV A to Gate, V-Trig, 5.0 V and CV C to Pitch V/oct, C 3, 1.000 V, C 6, 4.000 V. (CV B and D are not used.)
Prepare the monotribe as described in the documentation that came with the download package. Activate CV/GATE mode, set the Pitch CV curve to V/oct and GATE polarity to high.
P.S. It’s also possible to create a feedback loop by feeding the headphone output back into the monotribe’s audio in. This will render a mild thickening, and if you have some kind of attenuator on the feedback signal path, you can dial in some overdrive too.