Here's my remix for this competition. It's somewhat of a worse-than-but-KOAN Sound-like 100bpm (that's a genre now, apparently) track, but I had some fun with it. Was originally planning to have some sort of second verse and a DnB section or something, but I didn't have much time so I just ended it here. Unfortunately that means the words "Into Your Eyes" do not appear in the song, and it might as well be called "Out Of My Mind". Still, it's pretty good. If you don't think so, well, you must be out of your MIND!
I'm going to be doing a tutorial on that one synth in the track that... well, you know which one I'm talking about (if not, you must be out of... well, you get it). This time I wanted to do a video tutorial, but again due to time constraints that didn't really work out. I figured a somewhat long but clear text tutorial would be better than a 20-minute video of me figuring out how to go about explaining everything (unless, of course, you're out of... okay, I'll stop doing that). Anyway, here's the synth:
So yes, it is quite an important part of the track. I use Reason and Ableton Live, but you could probably find a way to pull off the same sound in just one of them (or another program). Let's start off in Reason. Get a Combinator ready (or not, if you like walls of devices) and throw a mixer in there. I normally use the 14:2 just to be sure but if you're just going to follow my lead you won't need it. The heart of the sound lies in the Malström synthesizer, so get one of those and initialize it. Time for some adjustments, but first a picture for reference:
We'll be using two Throat wavetables. They sound too much like a voice right now, though, so turn down the motion a bit (to -46 and -35). Also, turn the index of the second one up to 12, to change the sound a bit more compared to the first one. The shift knobs' positions aren't terribly important, as long as the second one is about 6 to 8 lower, as we're going to be modulating this, a lot. If you want my settings, though, start them off at -2 and -8. A bit more release is nice too (19/25).
Now, time for some filtering & distortion! First off, go ahead and turn on the shaper (sine, ~53), which is very important as it gives a lot of tone to the sound. Now run osc 1 through the shaper and then through filter 1, and osc 2 through filter 2 first before going through the shaper. For filter 1 we'll be using a comb filter (comb +, freq ~34, res ~0), which makes it sound like it's a space robot instead of just an ordinary one. Turn the 'env' (envelope) button off on this one though, because a different frequency changes the sound a LOT so then it just starts to sound like it's being sucked into a black hole. Filter 2 is going to be a band-pass filter (bp 12, freq ~57, res ~10), because the second oscillator is mainly there to emphasize the midrange of the sound. Leave the envelope (attack 28, decay 75, sustain 46, release 29, amt 14) on this one, so it seems like it moves a bit or whatever (getting tired of metaphors). I also turned the filter dial under the mod wheel section all the way up and set the A-B switch to A, so I can control filter A's frequency using the mod wheel, and I have mod B modulating some stuff (1-shot, rate 74, motion 10, filter -16, filter A only).
Now to widen the sound, duplicate this Malström and create a Line Mixer 6:2. Route both Malströms into this mixer and pan them left and right (-33/33). Change some settings on the second Malström so the sounds differ, but be careful not to change too much. I only changed the filter frequencies, resonances, and the shaper amount, by about 2 or so. Then to tighten up the graphics... I mean sound a little bit, run that mixer's output through a vocoder set to equalizer, and make it look like the above picture.
As I said earlier, I modulate the shift knobs a lot. That's where the sweep-in and sweep-out sound comes from, I modulate the shift up during the first note and modulate it back down during the last. To do this open up the Combinator's programmer and set Rotary 1 to control Oscillator A Shift and Oscillator B Shift on both devices. I turned down the maximum values so the neutral position would give me the starting values of -2 and -8. So, that's one part of the sound. Now to add some possibly not very necessary stuff just for the hell of it. Let's start with Thor number 1.
Thor number 1 is the Bass Thor. Three analog oscillators with a low pass filter at 260 Hz and no envelope. Not much else. You might want to turn up the sustain on the amp envelope, but I didn't care enough apparently. I also tried to make the synths velocity sensitive, but didn't end up using it, so just ignore the Key Vel modulation thing.
Next! This is the Mid-High Thor. A multi oscillator on Fifth Up detune mode, which has a nice tense feel, and two Logic Or wavetables (pos 28), detuned from each other slightly. A bit higher frequency (3.12 kHz) on the filter this time and some envelope, too. Also, chorus. Wait, the dry/wet is only at 1. Well, maybe it's noticable.
Then, FINALLY, another Malström. I thought the sound needed some grittiness, so you could add some overdrive-type of distortion, or just stack more crap on top of it. I prefer the latter one. Apparently, if you pick a Sawtooth*16 (motion -7, index 72, shift 10, octave 1) and a JewsHarp (motion -25, index 84) and run them through the shaper (sine, 73) it sounds pretty bassy and gritty. Take out the high-end of the JewsHarp though (filter 2, lp 12, freq 86, res 0), and run both through filter 1 (am, freq 84, res 41), because, well, it sounds nice. Also, let mod B influence filter A a bit (-12) because variation and stuff.
A bit more processing to go on this one, however. First a bit of EQ (not much to say about this one).
Then, create a Thor, and route the output of the EQ into the Thor's audio input. Turn off all oscillators in the Thor and route Audio In 1 and 2 to Filt3 L.In and R.In. Now you can use filter 3, the chorus and the delay on any incoming audio signal. I really like Thor's chorus (the Thorus if you will), so turn that on (13.4, 23, 0.68, 32, 15).
Mixing-wise, adjust to taste. I have the Thors at 87 and 83 and the Malströms at 100. After that, we're done. With Reason, that is. I don't know 'bout you, but I'm going to Rewire this baby into Ableton and do some more processing.
After we've got an External Instrument up and running (they are more reliable than track I/O as far as latency goes), let's start with some EQ (I'm not very fond of the Reason equalizer). This is mostly a shaping EQ, just turn up the low end, scoop up the mid just a bit, and just take out most of the really high end entirely. I found it didn't really need to be there and removing it left some nice space for the hats. Of note here is band 1, which is a pretty big narrow boost whose frequency I modulate up and down to go along with the notes being played. Gives it a bit of texture. You could create all sort of vowel sounds and whatever this way too, but I wasn't aiming for that this time.
Next let's do some frequency splitting! Create an Audio Effect Rack with three chains.
The first one is going to be just everything below 300 Hz, separated using a Multiband Dynamics.
The next one, everything above 300Hz, is a bit more interesting.
First up is an instance of the Ohmicide VST. To be completely honest, I haven't much of an idea how to operate this thing, I just twist knobs until it sounds good. So the best I can do, really, is give you a picture. As long as you start with the default settings it shouldn't be too hard to get someting similar. It does do some significant stuff to the sound though, so I couldn't easily replace it with something simpler.
Next, some chorus (still inside the chain). Settings are all visible. I love chorus <3. Awh, I dropped my ice cream cone .
Now here's another favorite of mine, the Live Amp, specifically the Bass setting. I use this on almost anything to beef it up a bit. Most of the time I turn the gain and volume down a bit, and adjust the others depending on the sound I want. It does dull the sound a bit, but a too low dry/wet creates phase problems, so normally that ends up at around 70%. Dual instead of Mono is important too.
Then to finish off the chain, some stereo widening Live-style using an Utility.
The third chain is just the original signal at -12 dB, because you should never forget your origins.
Then, after the Audio Effect Rack, some more EQ. A dip at ~3 kHz, a small boost around 10, and the whole high-end toned down a little.
Now let's make it LOUD! A Saturator with these settings will wrap up your sound in a box for the purpose of eventually exploding in the face of a future recipient. Notice I turn up the drive 7 dB but only turn down the output by 3. +4 loudness!
Let's not forget those highs, though. I found that even a light Redux makes it quite a bit brighter.
Now, the final EQ! Again, it seemed like throwing out everything above 13 kHz wasn't much of an issue and only freed up the spectrum. At least this synth is MP3 compression-proof now. The rest of this is just turn-it-up-and-when-it-sounds-bad-turn-it-down-EQing. Works quite well though. The trick is to keep doing it until you can't pick out any annoying frequencies at all when you load up another EQ and sweep the spectrum with a high-gain-narrow-bandwidth parameter.
Okay, this one is a bit weird. Again, two chains. The first one just has the mid-high range turned down a bit.
The second one takes that same range, and boosts it using the Ableton Live Boost Amp(R) (view the picture on it's own to see all the settings). On the other side of the amp there's the same Multiband Dynamics as before it, which just ensures the same frequencies are going in and out. Notice how this chain is also boosted in the mixer by 1.5 dB.
And now, finally (and it's actually final this time), a Multiband Dynamics to tighten up the graphics... I mean sound, tighten up the sound (I guess I really want to be a game developer) a bit.
And, well, that's it. You might want to put on some sidechain compression and stuff (I did), but after that, go play some notes, modulate that rotary and mod wheel, that one EQ band, and slap some other effects on top just for the hell of it. If you want that wooshy effect, I used a high-pass filter moving up, a low pass filter around 12 kHz with an LFO on it, some increasing chorus and some increasing reverb. But that's just one example. Hope you enjoyed the tutorial, and have fun!
Last edited by Limner on Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:05 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Its a really good remix, the bass in the drop sounds exactly how a 100bpm glitch hop track should sound. try adding some soft saw pad with a bit of reverb alot quieter then the rest of the mix just to thicken it up abit in the first half of the song. you really got the funkyness of the genre and the feel of the drop all in all great sounding remix! nice job.
Hey, thanks for the feedback! I've tried out some of the things you suggested and uploaded a new version, though I might have been a bit conservative because of how used I've gotten to how it sounds. They are good ideas, though.