Matt Lange has made remixes for pop superstar Usher as well as the Halo 4 video game soundtrack. Other credits include co-writing and producing acts such as VersaEmerge and Glenn Morrison, as well as composing and producing original music for the newest Internet Explorer TV and web advertisement campaigns.
Fun With Tape Delays — EP-34 Tape Echo Plug-In
A saturated tape delay with a high amount of feedback is an excellent way to create a transition out of elements you already have in a mix. Not only is this one of my favorite effects to create, it’s also one of the simplest.
For this effect, I prefer to use the UAD EP-34 Tape Echo plug-in, which is based on the classic Echoplex. I dig the way the feedback saturates and organically grows. To do this, I'll typically put the EP-34 on a send, and then automate the send to the EP-34 as to only send the one little bit of audio I want effected. While you could just have the feedback set pretty high to begin with, I prefer to also automate the amount of feedback to shape the feedback tail.
In order for the delay to self oscillate, the feedback must be at least 50 percent, so I typically keep the feedback lower to start, around 30 percent, and then automate it up to around 60 percent or higher, depending on how saturated I want it.
We can then take the effect much further and add delay time automation. This will pitch shift each repeat up as the delay time decreases, or pitch shift down if we lengthen the delay time.
I prefer to un-sync the delay time from the host tempo as it makes the pitch shifting smoother and unstepped. However, often what I'll do is sync the delay at first, choose my note value — in this case a dotted 8th note — and then un-sync the delay, which will retain the same delay time, but will now be in milliseconds and no longer locked to the host tempo. In the example here, I've automated the delay to speed up, and then quickly ramp down to give a more abrupt effect.
Pitch Shifted Ghostly Reverb Trails — Lexicon 224 Digital Reverb Plug-In
While the Lexicon 224 is certainly revered for its vast hall reverbs, it can be used quite effectively to create some otherworldly sounds. The key to this example is the pitch shift buttons. I enable these, click the “Open” button on the top right of the user interface, and a new panel of controls will be displayed. To the left are the pitch shift buttons — which is where the fun begins!
It should be noted that the pitch modulation varies depending on which reverb algorithm is selected, and I personally find SmHallB and SmHallA work the best for me. In the example I've created a synth stab that first has no pitch shifting, and when repeated, the amount of pitch shifting is automated to be at its maximum range.
Spice Up a Boring Clap — DM-1 Delay Modulator Plug-In
Included in the old CS-1 Channel Strip plug-in, the DM-1 Delay is a fantastic tool for adding little bits of modulation and movement to stale sounds as well as really spread out the claps in the stereo field. Additionally, by adding selected amounts of feedback automation to the delay, you can really create some interesting sounds.
In the example here, you can hear how the mono clap suddenly jumps to be ultra stereo and then later has a comb filter-like glitch created by increasing the feedback (called Recip in the DM-1).Example 4
The basic idea behind this is that I started with a mono clap, and the DM-1 in Dual Delay Mode. On the second instance of the clap, the right side is delayed behind the left by 21 ms. On the fourth instance of the clap, the left side is delayed by 24 ms, the right by 21 ms, and this time feedback is raised to give us this glitch variation. It's also a simple trick, but very effective in giving us variation to a somewhat stale sound and keeps everything moving.
Flanging Doppler Textures — DM-1 Delay Modulator Plug-In
We can make some very transformer-likesound effects just by using the DM-1 and some automation. In this example, I used a simple bass sound, but you can use any sustaining sound, preferably one with a fair amount of harmonics.
You need to use a fair amount of feedback, so I set the Recip to 3.1 seconds. I've then automated the left and right delay times to go from 21 ms to 36.4 ms. This gives us a rather metallic pitch shift down effect. To give the spacial movement to the sound, I've automated the left and right panning knobs on the DM-1 to traverse from 100% right to 100% left midway through the length of the original bass sound.
Uber Saturation of Bass Sounds — FATSO Jr./Sr. Tape Sim. & Compressor Plug-In
One of my favorite, most-used tricks is taking my basses, bussing them all together, and completely slamming them through the FATSO Jr./Sr. Tape Sim. & Compressor Plug-In.
I simply turn the threshold in the compressor section to 0, and then turn up the Input until the "pinned" LED is mostly solid red, maybe flickering a little bit.
Here is the bass without the Fatso plug-in:Bass - Dry
And here it is with the Fatso engaged:Bass - Fatso
It's a pretty extreme change to the sound, but it really can make bass snarl, and be so much more aggressive. Enabling "Tranny" and turning up its Level can bring some fun extra flavor as well. Typically after the FATSO I might add a slight EQ just to reign in some of the extra aggression.
Give your Synths Life — SPL Vitalizer MK2-T Plug-In
As you've probably noticed, I'm a fan of rather extreme settings, and the SPL Vitalizer MK2-T takes to extreme settings wonderfully. The first thing I might do with a rather dull synth sound is turn the drive all the way up.
The real magic happens between the Mid-Hi Tune, Process, LC-EQ and Intensity knobs. Where I set the Mid-Hi Tune and LC-EQ is going to depend on the source material and what frequencies I'm trying to accentuate, but for example's sake, I might set Mid-Hi Tune to around 2.2 kHz and the LC-EQ to around six. The Process and Intensity knobs essentially will control how much of each of their respective processing is given to the original signal.
First, the synth dry:Synth - Dry
And then the Synth with the Vitalizer plug-in:Synth - Vitalizer
I always like adding a bit of stereo expansion as well if the sound is pretty flat. I don't personally don't mind the potentially phasy-ness of pushing it pretty high, but it's worth checking your mono compatibility at higher settings.