miércoles, 14 de noviembre de 2012

Warmth & Colour

Have you ever heard a Guns n' Roses record and noticed that particular sound of slash guitar in the solos?

That distinct sound of the Les Paul Guitar with the Marshall amp that you can spot almost instantly. That sort of "colour" in the sound that tells you that it was recorded with that gear.

Every instrument has this particular "signature" sound, that warmth and colour that indicates that its a Fender Stratocaster or a Gibson SG hooked up to a Marshall amp etc. Not going to much into physics this relates to the harmonic content each instrument is able to provide.

When making electronic music this principle is the same. Every soft synth, hardware synth, external effects, vst effect etc has its particular "colour". Maybe its not as distinguishable as the above example, but it exists.

This being said I usually read and listen out there how people are extremely fond of massive or certain soft synth and making every instrument in their track with that particular plugin. The problem that you run while doing this is the following: A little bit of physics here; when two sounds are pretty close together in harmonic content(colour) two phenomenom tend to happen, the first is phase cancellation where the sum of two waves     LOWERS the overal volume of the resulting wave and second frequency masking where your brain chooses to listen only to one sound and ignore the other.(For more depth on the subject check any info on acoustics).

What is the effect of this in your song? Well your mix will tend to get muddy and you won't get that bright sound.

My approaches to this problem.

1. Less is more. Is a certain instrument really necesary? Does it really add something to your tune? If not, if you are thinking for more than 1 hour if that instruments really fits then probably, most usually, its more than you need. Delete it and try another thing.

2. Use different synths, there are a loooooot of free synths out there grab a few, 4 or 5 and make use of all of them, even if your using presets, use them all. They all have their own colour and warmth. The same applies for effects, don't use the same compressor with the same parameters in all of your tracks.

3. The "analog" feel. Analog gear, and analog recording has more warth and colour in their sound because they are not "perfect" and have this little nuances and harmonic content results of the electronics and the conditions where it was recorded. In soft synths sounds seems to be perceived as kind of cold because as sound is being generated directly in your software there is none of this tiny noise inside of the signal that gives you the analog feel. Anywats, a good aproach to give this warmth in the sound is adding small amounts of analog saturation to your instruments. Same principles as 1 and 2 apply here as well. Don't add the same effect with the same parameters to every track.

That are my tips for today!
Hope they are usefull!.


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