Drum and Bass Tutorial Day 6: Pitch bend FX and Fills [7 Day Song]
Hi! I’m Dave from boyinaband.com, and welcome to day 6 of my seven day song tutorial on Drum and Bass.
Yesterday, we adding a plucked lead synth to the verse to add a focal point and structured the song.
Today, we’ll be adding in some sweet FX to make the track more interesting, including an awesome pitch bend up synth!
Okay! Let’s begin.
We’ll start with that pitch bending synth – create a combinator, name it “Pitch bend syn” and create a thor instance inside. Initialize it, and make three multi oscillators, all detuned saw waves, in a three octave spread. Send them through with the 2 and 3 buttons.
I’ll just add in some notes – a 4 bar octave chord on the G note – the root note of the key.
Take the low pass filter frequency to full, so it starts out at a high frequency (we’re going to modulate this in a bit). Take the resonance to about a half as well.
Create a State Variable Filter on high pass mode, with the frequency at around 350hz and the resonance at about 90. Turn on Delay, Chorus and Turn the sustain on the Amp Envelope to full.
Now – I’ll explain what I’m going to do – I’ll use LFO 1 to modulate the low pass filter to create a wah-wah or wobble effect, similar to the basslines in Dubstep.
I’ll use LFO 2 to bend the pitch up over 4 bars, since this is a four bar long note. I’ll also use LFO 2 to increase the rate of LFO 1, so the wobble speed increases as the pitch goes up, making the synth seriously intense.
Lastly, I’ll use LFO 2 to modulate the State variable filter, so as the pitch goes up, I also filter out the low end so the focus is on the higher frequency when the synth is on a higher pitch!
Sounds complicated, but I’ll show you one step at a time and it’ll all become clear!
Set LFO 1 to “Key sync” and LFO 2 to both “Key sync” and “tempo sync” – Key sync means the LFO starts oscillating when a note is played by the synth – this makes sure what you hear is consistant, no matter where you place the note in the track.
Turn the rate of LFO 1 to about 3hz. Turn the rate of LFO 2 to 4/1 and the waveform to waveform 7 – an exponentially increasing curve, similar to that of a hyperbolic graph – yay, my A level maths has finally paid off!
Now we start to link the LFOs to the functions!
Route LFO1 to the Filter 1 frequency by 100%. Listen to how it effects it? That’s the wobble we’ll be increasing the rate of next.
Route LFO2 to LFO1 Rate by about 90% – listen to how the wobbling speeds up. Sweet, huh?
Okay, now for the pitch – on the right, where you can link one source to two functions, route LFO2 to all three oscillators’ pitches by 100%. Hear the pitch bend in action? Ace – we’re almost finished.
Last bit of routing – with your spare destination, route LFO 2 to Filter 3′s frequency to make the high pass filter filter out the low frequencies as the pitch gets higher!
And we’re done! That’s some pretty complex routing you’ve just done! Give yourself a pat on the back.
Alright – and onto the FX. Create a combinator, name it FX, then make a line 6:2 mixer followed by ReDrum. I’m going to load in a patch I’ve made with 4 samples from the Primeloops.com Dubstep Producer sample pack.
I’ve got two different swell samples which I’ll combine with my pitch bend to build up to the drops, a nice atmosphere to fill out the tune and an interesting lasery sample.
Notice how all the samples have the decay/Gate mode set to the pulse wave? This means that the samples will only play for as long as the note is held down, rather than the note triggering the entire sample. For a more detailed explanation of how this works, along with making different note lanes for each channel, head over to Day 2 of my 7 day song Dubstep Tutorial.
That frees me up some time to tell you that FX can be the difference between a good track and a great one – put them in your intros and outros to stop them being too dull and repetitive! Also, a good FX sample can fill out big parts in your track, like I’ll be using this atmospheric sample to fill out parts in the drop.
So I’ll just put in some notes and show you the difference between having these FX and not in the build up to the drop. Quite a difference, huh?
Lastly, I’ll add in another break to add a little bit of variety before the second drop – Combinator, Dr Rex and a compressor. I’ll compress the crap out of it by taking the threshold down to about -30dB and the ratio to full, then turning the input gain up so there’s even more of a violent compression.
A compressor reduces the louder parts of a sound to a specified threshold, making sounds a more consistant level, which when used harshly, gives this cool, consistant volume effect which is ace on the more abrasive drum and bass drum loops. The attack allows the loud sounds to still hit hard at their normal level, but then be brought down to the level you define so you still can get some of the dynamic range.
Okay, so I’ll put that just before the second drop with a bit of the bassline to tease the listener of what’s about to come in.
And there we have it! Some cool FX and Fills to add to your track to make it more interesting than a philosophical chat with Steven Fry. Tune in tomorrow for Day 7 where I’ll be explaining to you how I mix and master the track, and then showing the final finished Drum and Bass 7 Day Song.
Until then, finish off all the musical elements to your track so you’re ready to mix and master your song tomorrow, then post it as a video response to Day 7′s video!
See you tomorrow!