Saturday, June 6, 2020

Everything you need to know about effects part 2/4: Reverb and Modulations 1

CLICK HERE FOR PART 1/4: Fx routing, in studio and live!

CLICK HERE FOR PART 3/4: Reverb and Modulations 2

CLICK HERE FOR PART 4/4: Distortions!

Now that we have seen the basic rules of how effects work is time to start talking about some of the most important of them.
Let's start talking about envelope filters: those are basically a creative form of equalization that can be controlled in real time, moving through the spectrum while the sound is playing and creating a very interesting effect which shows one of its most famous uses in the Wah, a classic guitar effect, click here for a dedicated article with free vst plugins.

Besides the eq-based effects, it's definitely worth mentioning the reverb, one of the most important effects of all: it's an effect that mimics the bouncing of a sound in various ambients, which can be from small rooms to huge caves, and it's essential to add smoothness and realism to any tone and to make it less harsh; click here for an in-depth article about reverbs.
Reverb can be used not only to recreate ambience, but also for creative purposes, such as specific effects like a sound that is incoming (the inverse reverb effect, or preverb, like in the horror movies) or even to recreate a very accurate reproduction of the interaction between a cabinet and a microphone (click here for an article about impulse responses).

Moving towards the modulation effects, let's first start with the definition: they are filters that take a given signal and create a copy, with a given delay and pitch modification, to be summed with the original one, creating a wide range of different results.
Said this way it's a very wide definition, but modulations are the core (together with the reverb) of sound effects, and they are many and capable of obtaining very different result.

Let's start with the chorus: the chorus is a type of modulation that doubles the sound creating a slighly delayed (usually around 20ms) copy whose delay will not be stable but will keep on variating, oscillating 5ms more and less, plus the copy's pitch is slighly detuned, giving the impression that the copy is (in case of a Vocal track) another person singing along with the first one: not identical, but very similiar, and this effect is used to make the original sound wider and fatter.

Moving to other types of modulation, other two types which are quite important are flanger and phaser.
These 2 effects starts from the same idea: to split the signal in 2 copies and putting one of the 2 rhytmically out of phase with the other. The fact that this phase changes all the time following a certain tempo creates a very "sci-fi" effect, and the flanger takes this effect one step further by delaying the second sound copy and moving it back and forth in time, creating an even stronger phasing effect.

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