Darkstep Tutorial Day 5: FX, Pitch Bend Synth + Filtered Loop
Hi, I’m Dave from boyinaband.com and welcome to Day 5 of the 7 day song on Darkstep Drum and Bass. Yesterday, I taught you how to make an eerie atmosphere and a shhhhhh. Today, I’ll teach you how to make some sweet fx, a pitch bend synth and a quick little loop to add some more variety to the percussion.
Okay! Let’s start with the fx.
Make a combinator called FX and a mixer 14:2, followed by ReDrum instance. We’re using the 14:2 mixer for a few reasons – the 6:2 one obviously only has six inputs so with this one you can have extra inputs if you want them, but also this mixer also has 4 auxilliary sends, so you can dial in 4 separate effects if you want to. I’m not going to do that in this tutorial, but I thought it’d be a good idea to show you what’s available.
Now, I’ll just load the fx into ReDrum. These are all from the Primeloops.com razor fx sample pack, which is probably my favourite sample pack from them since it’s just so useful, it has great reverses and crashes as well as some really useable one-shot synth sounds. The sounds I’ve used here are:
This sweet reverse, set on gate mode so I can cut it off when I want it to stop reversing, This siren-like synth noise, a big ol’ crash, a little young crash, a slightly different siren-like noise that I’ve pitch bent up with the pitch and bend knobs down in channel 7 that it’s in, another one shot synth and another crash, which I’ll link via a gate to the other little crash, making for a more splashy sound.
Now, I’ll just put in the notes for these samples now.
Okay, I’ve got 6 different note lanes, each named after a sample and one of which is named after the two short crashes we linked together.
You can see that for the reverse it’s a long note, as I mentioned before, this is because it’s on gate mode and only makes noise as long as a note is held down.
Now it’s time to do a bit of editing – I’m going to route the first siren-y synth noise into an EQ, then an ECF-42. The EQ we’ll use to remove a prominent tone from the sound around 6.2khz by -10dB and about 2 Q, check out the difference.
Next, the ECF will cut the low end and extreme high end from the sound and focus it when we set it to band pass mode, and the freq to 85. Listen to the difference. Completely removes the low end, making the mix tidier!
A few more effects-based fixes for these fx, run the pitch bend into an ECF-42, then band pass it with a freq of 75 to do a similar thing and focus the tone to that area of the frequency spectrum.
Lastly, run the reverse into an EQ – you can hear that the reverse has a very prominent tone around 205hz. Take a listen when we fully cut it with param 1, then boost the hi shelf above 3khz by 15dB. Makes it much less attention-stealing and just sounds like a woosh of air leading up to the crash.
So there we have the FX! Now, join me in part 2 where I’ll be making a pitch bend synth to lead up to the drop that will have you cringing with joy at how painful it sounds!
Okay, time to make something that sounds like when you shoved a cat inside a bulldozer for the metaphor in day 2, the two began to merge into a catdozer, which you proceeded to swing around violently. I love how this genre of music has allowed me to say that sentence.
Okay, I’ll just put in some notes – I’ll just quickly explain that I’ve put in an F# and a G just going for 4 bars, since that’ll be the length of the bend. Now, as I’ve repeatedly said, semitones are painful, and this will be a perfect example of that.
Take a listen to the analog osc when I take it up 2 octaves and set the sustain on the amp env to full. Ouch, right? By playing two notes a semitone apart simultaneously, you make this horriffic dissonance. It’s frickin’ awesome.
Next, make a multi osc for the thickness of the tone, 2 octaves up and detuned, then for a painful harmonic overtone, add an FM Pair osc. Change carrier to 7 and mod to 6 – basically play around until you find an interesting tone, then take the FM to full and send it through into the filter. Take a listen – ah, music to my ears.
Next, hit the chorus and dry-ify it a bit, then add a comb filter in the filter 3 slot.
Set the freq to about 40hz, so fully left, and resonance at 40ish as well. turn the env on both filters to 0 and now comes the fun bit – we’re going to do some serious modulation on this sound.
First, let’s set up the LFOs. LFO 1 is fine as it is, since we don’t want it syncing to the tempo of the song – we want it out of control and crazy! LFO2, however, needs to be the designated driver in order to drive the crazy LFO 1 to its destination after a getting wasted on filter modulation during a violent binging session, and so must be locked to the tempo. We’re going to take the rate to 4/1 so it’s a 4 bar build, and the waveform to number 7, which is an exponential curve.
Now! I’ll explain everything we’re about to do. Firsly, LFO 1 is going to modulate the filter one frequency so we get that wowowowow wobble sound. But LFO 2 is going to do the hard work – it will modulate all 3 oscillator pitches, making a constant pitch rise; the comb filter resonance, which will make a crazy noise, and most fun of all the LFO 1 rate, which will make the wobble speed up until it can’t take it any more and… well, you’ll see what happens soon enough.
So, let’s set it up. LFO 2 to osc 1 pitch, osc 2 pitch and osc 3 pitch by 100. Check that out first.
LFO 2 to filt 3 res by 100 – check that out.
LFO1 to filt 1 freq by about 85 – check that out.
LFO 2 to lfo1 rate by 100 – buzzsaw!
Lastly, to really make it gritty, add scream 4 to the mix on tape mode, a nice compression that’ll bring out the noise nicely. Turn the P1 up to just under full, the resonance to half the scale to full and the auto to half – all these things really sharpen the high end.
And there you have it! Man, that’s seriously a horrible noise, don’t you just love the state of music today?
Join me in part 3 where I’ll really quickly go over making a short loop with you to add some variety to the percussion!
Okay, this one won’t take long. Make a Combinator, call it filter loop, make a Dr. Rex instance and choose a loop to work with, I’m going with DnB30_Ride from the Dr Rex Drum loops folder “Drum and Bass”. Take a listen – sweet.
Now, run it into a compressor, boost the input gain to make it louder by 10dB, turn the threshold down to -21dB and the ratio to 3:1 so it’s squashed a decent amount – check it out.
Now, back in Dr. Rex, turn on the filter and set it to LP12 if it isn’t already, the freq at 60 and resonance, which will give a high pitched overtone, at 50.
Now, in the combinator, hit show programmer and link of the filter frequency from Dr. Rex to rotary one. Hit Dr. Rex in key mapping, and for the target drop down in modulation routing, select filter freq.
Now, copy the pattern to the track, and right click rotary one and edit automation. Then, draw the envelope in for the filter frequency you want with the pencil tool. I’ll show you a quick example of what you could do.
Pretty cool, huh? Just adds a simple bit of variation that doesn’t take very long.
And there we have it! Some FX more filling than a sweet and sour sandwich, a pitch bend more painful than smashing a hollow metal pipe through your shin, pouring molten lava inside it, then twisting it vertically downwards until your hand burns off due to the aformentioned molten lava, and a loop more filtered than a nice cup of tetley tea.
Tune in tomorrow for day 6, where I’ll be going through the arrangement of the song, filtering the disgusting bass we made for a build, and talking about the notes and syncopations I’ve used for some new sections in the track.
Until then, play around until you find some sweet fx – remember, fx are the difference between a good and a great song. They really lift the production quality.
See you tomorrow guys!