Posts Tagged ‘compression’

So its been a while since my last post, but there is a reason. I’m working on something big… real big… hopefully it will be up by the end of the year. But for now, some sound design info/mini tut.

Sound design is quite simple when you think about it, in a lot of ways its just recording the sound you’re looking for, then cleaning up the recording and using it, but sometimes you can’t find what you’re looking for… like when you need the sound of a dragon, or a giant vegetable monster (encountered both of these in the same project… lolwut) so what do you do? The answer is much simpler than you think.

‘When you don’t have creatures, be the creature…’ – Geoff Garnett (Wabi Sabi Sound – Dead Space 2, Dante’s Inferno, Left 4 Dead 2)

So start by setting up a mic for yourself, press record, and just go nuts. Make the most messed up creature sounds you can, but whatever you do, don’t hold back, you have to really go over the top. (If you’re too embarrassed, find a shameless friend.)

Now when you listen back you’ll probably think ‘omfg… am I retarded?’ and this is ok. Now, the optimum plug-ins for mixing are Pitch Shifter (for a lower monster sound), and possibly some light distortion (if you want a higher monster sound,) the obviously EQ, Compression, Noise Gate, the standards.

Low monsters: Pitch shift down as low as you dare, create a new track, C&P the recording onto the second track (preferably just slightly offset, like Beatles style double tracking) and put this one at a slightly different pitch (I like 3 semitones higher), you may do this as many times as you like, however once you start getting too high in pitch it won’t work as well. But feel free to add as many tracks as you like, even add in some different samples, this can make your monster sound really intense (but be careful not to make it just sound like 2 monsters), apply some EQ, probably to cut out a little of the bass you’ve most likely created that is now dominating your speaker system, compress to make the monster really loud and in your face, and noise gate out any of the noise floor if you need.

High monsters: This process is very similar to the first, only instead of pitch shifting down, you might pitch shift up a little, or maybe still down, just a lot less. Apply some light overdrive distortion to get your monster sounding less human and more screwed up. There are other plugins you can experiment with, like the harmonic exciter (this can give some wild monster sounds.) But the biggest thing is finding a good pitch, and (if needed) some light distortion if the monster still sounds like someone going (arahfarahrahrara!!!!)

That is my short tutorial on monster sounds,

Thanks for reading.

I know you’re not supposed to master your own tracks but we were working on a budget, so instead I just too a 2 week break from doing anything and came back to master with fresh ears. I purchased a copy of Ozone 5 just for the occasion and I must say, it was DEFINITELY worth it, and as I use it more and become more familiar with it I will try put up a basic tutorial for it at some stage.

As for the EP

First was the linear EQ, as you can see I rolled off the bass a little, and gave some broad presence at 2k, this really helped bring the track out and really make some impression on you.

Next was the harmonic exciter, now these things are tempting to just push up and up and up cause they sound so cool and exciting (lol wonder why) but don’t over do it, you can ruin the effect of the song and the rest of your mix work. As you can see I’ve tried to keep mine relatively minimal with a bit more in the mid and highs were its most effective.

I didn’t do too much with the dynamics and compression apart from the mids, but this was a light deep compressor to bring out some of the clarity and harmonics a little more.

Next is the most noticeable part of mastering, the loudness maximising, I wanted a really full track, but I didn’t want it to just blare in your face so I went for a quite smooth heavy maximiser, and some MBIT+ dither to spread the noise evenly.

I did quite a bit of experimenting with the stereo spread and converting in and out of mono, switching phase, ect, to make sure any spreading I did didn’t cause and phase cancelling, I found some really awesome settings, but many of them didn’t work at all in mono which meant they were best to avoid, or at least tweak, in the end these are the settings I went with.

finally the post EQ, all this work had given really great spread, clarified highs but the bass became a little over powering, so I pulled that down a little and gave a tiny bit more low mids and tiny bit less high mids.

So that was my process for mastering ‘Fairly Natural’ the first serious release by my good friend and the very talented Sam Luff, please check him out and comment on my recording, mixing and mastering with your ideas, advice, questions and opinions as I’d love to hear them.