Search

Holy Bot

Bedroom music production, gaming and random shit

Tag

composing

No Reason to Go Back

image

I’ve started making electronic music on the Amiga 500 using music trackers many, many years ago.

I then got a PC and used several shady Cubase versions. After that, I got a Mac and started using Logic for a while. At that time FruityLoops was weak and Reason’s sequencer wasn’t in a good place. But then something happened – Reason 6.5 introduced rack extensions and shit. And then came version 7, and I though it was the greatest. Everything was fine –  for a short while. When Propellerhead released version 8, focus had shifted to the surface, and community building seemed to be the new black. So I switched to Ableton Live.

Reason 9 just revealed. It adds pitch edit, scales and chords, note echo and dual arpeggio. What do guys think? Well, I for one, am not going back.

The Wavetable

While you can make tons of random noise with simple waveforms (sine, sawtooth et cetera), wavetable synthesis offers even more possibilities. And softsynths – like the semi-modular wavetable synth Massive – are hugely popular among dubstep producers.

Before I move forward, let me just say that there are several definitions of what a wavetable is, and the word itself has seemingly different meanings to different people.

Moreover, nowadays, there are elaborated wavetables, such as Malström (which is mixed up with granular synthesis) or Serum (which is able to create, import, edit and morph wavetables, and manipulate these on playback in real-time), not to mention samples and synthesis (S&S) or vector synthesis.

Essentially, however, a wavetable synthesis is based on periodic reproduction of an arbitrary, single-cycle waveform, and it implies modulating (scanning) through a wavetable in real-time as part of the synth architecture.

More simply put, a wavetable is a set of sampled single-cycle waveforms that a synth can read from and use as its oscillator shapes.

The two fundamental aspects of wavetable synthesis are making the sound evolve in time and changing the timbre at different points across keyboard.

What to Expect

The kind of sounds wavetable synthesis can produce is almost limitless. Sweeping through a wavetable is a wide palette to use as the basis of sounds. Not only can wavetables emulate sounds reminiscent of analogue synthesis, but also strange, moving and unearthly sounds with unique timbres suitable for all kinds of shit. Expect the unexpected.

I think I stop there, this post is just supposed to be an introduction to get you interested in wavetables (if you weren’t already). Maybe there’ll be reason to return to this subject later on.

About Mid/Side Processing

Here’s a thing called Mid/Side Processing that offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to making adjustments to the spacialization of a mix or master.

In short, a boosted Mid channel produces a more centered sound, while a pumped up Side channel would give a wider sound to the mix.

The Theory

The sum of the Left and Right channels is called the Mid. The Side channel is encoded by phase reversing the Right channel and merged with the Left channel. (The phase cancellation will drop the center and only carry the stereo information.)

Audio In Left > Audio Out Mid
Audio In Right > Audio Out Mid
Audio In Left > Audio Out Side
Audio In Right (reversed) > Audio Out Side

Route the Mid and Side (mono) channels differently through two separate processes with EQs, compressors and shit. Then decode the Mid and Side channels back to a regular stereo pair.

Audio In Mid > Audio Out Left
Audio In Side > Audio Out Left
Audio In Mid > Audio Out Right
Audio In Side (reversed) > Audio Out Right

The Practice

In general, subtle Mid/Side processing is favorable due to phase shifts and imbalance issues which might occur on higher settings.

Remember that it’s possible to automate the Mid/Side processing to work during selected parts of the song, or to use it as a master bus effect (running throughout the song). E.g. if the mix is muddy, shelf the low frequencies in the Side channel.

About Mid/Side Processing

Here’s a thing called Mid/Side Processing that offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to making adjustments to the spacialization of a mix or master.

In short, a boosted Mid channel produces a more centered sound, while a pumped up Side channel would give a wider sound to the mix.

The Theory

The sum of the Left and Right channels is called the Mid. The Side channel is encoded by phase reversing the Right channel and merged with the Left channel. (The phase cancellation will drop the center and only carry the stereo information.)

Audio In Left > Audio Out Mid
Audio In Right > Audio Out Mid
Audio In Left > Audio Out Side
Audio In Right (reversed) > Audio Out Side

Route the Mid and Side (mono) channels differently through two separate processes with EQs, compressors and shit. Then decode the Mid and Side channels back to a regular stereo pair.

Audio In Mid > Audio Out Left
Audio In Side > Audio Out Left
Audio In Mid > Audio Out Right
Audio In Side (reversed) > Audio Out Right

The Practice

In general, subtle Mid/Side processing is favorable due to phase shifts and imbalance issues which might occur on higher settings.

Remember that it’s possible to automate the Mid/Side processing to work during selected parts of the song, or to use it as a master bus effect (running throughout the song). E.g. if the mix is muddy, shelf the low frequencies in the Side channel.

Straight Outta Bedroom

So I’ve had this blog for a year and a half now – yay! I’ve primarily focused on music production methods and tips. If you’re into that, making music, then here are a few (not all) old posts that could interest you. Now, did you ever wonder… 

You’re welcome.

Tempo Rubato

Tempo is the speed or pace of a given music piece. For bedroom producers, different tempos can really alter the mood of a track. And for a DJ, knowing the BPM makes beatmatching much easier.

In modern day music, a beats per minute (BPM) system denotes the tempo. And in our club-orientated context – based on a four to the floor time signature – conventionally a quarter note (crotchet) is specified as the beat. Here are some corresponding, relative BPM ranges:

  • Trap: 65-85 (or sequenced at 130-170)
  • Hip hop: 85-100, prominent 96
  • House: 120–128, prominent 126
  • Trance: 125-150, prominent 130
  • Dubstep: 138-142, prominent 140
  • Drum and bass: 150–180, prominent 160
  • Speedcore: >180, prominent 250

These values should not be taken too seriously though.

When mixing music, you can use the underlying tempo; e.g. a dubstep track at 140 BPM mixes well with a trap track at 70 BPM, due to the same underlying tempo. Recall that the standard dubstep rhythm patterns anyway are syncopated at this half-time tempo – the snare usually hits every third beat in a bar.

Furthermore, regarding dubstep, a wobbling LFO rate synced at 1/32 notes, is double the speed at 140 BPM compared to a tempo marking of 70 BPM. In theory, this means that you could program at 70 BPM, but then your LFOs may not allow you to reach 1/64 wobbles.

When I compose music, I usually don’t shift tempo, but I do accentuate the underlying tempo on parts of the track.

P. S. If you’re into Italian tempo markings and other musical terms, go to college or read Wikipedia.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑