Jump Up DnB Tutorial Day 5: Wobbly Pitch Bend Synth, Delayed Piano & Vocoder Vocals [7 Day Song]
Hi! I’m Dave from boyinaband.com and welcome to day 5 of the 7 day song on Jump Up Drum and Bass collaboration with Noisestorm.
Yesterday we created a lead synth, along with an arp synth. Today will be about those last few patches – a Delayed Piano, Adding vocals and a simple, sweet pitch build up synth.
Let’s start on that pitch up synth. Combinator, mixer, thor, init, open. I’ll be using one long note so I’ll put that in now on C3 octave’s C note. 8 bars long. The note is slowly pitch bent up from one octave below to one octave above which gives the pitch bending effect – but we’re going to add a bunch of other cool effects to the sound as well to give it more pizazz, which in my opinion is a wholly underutilised word.
So along with our analog osc, let’s make two multi oscs one and two octaves above, then route it to the filter with 0 env so the envelope doesn’t affect it and full sustain on the amp env so it doesn’t lose volume over this long period of build-up time, or that would be a bit of an anticlimax.
Let’s add chorus with a bit more dry than wet, and then bring the frequency down to half. We’ll automate this, along with a load of other stuff, pretty soon.
Next up, make a comb filter. This is an interesting little device that creates a delayed version of the signal and feeds it back into itself to make a metallic sound. Turning it onto comb- gives it less low end, which is convenient since we don’t want to out-shine the drop in terms of bassiness, this is simply to build anticipation.
The freq on quarter – which is how short the tiny delay is, env on 0 and resonance, which is how much is being fed back, on half.
Now – take a listen. Okay, sounds reasonable I guess, but we can make it better. Turn LFO1 rate to 0, then in the modulation bus routing down the bottom, link it to filter 3 frequency, so the comb filter’s frequency will modulate with the LFO. It’ll take frickin’ ages though since the rate is so slow, but we’ll sort that out when we get to the automation in a bit.
Route it to the filter 3 resonance as well – basically picking cool effects and playing with their automation settings is the name of the game here, so feel free to try out phases, formant filters and distortions instead, or as well as this.
So we have it all linked up, let’s automate. Right click and edit automation for the filter 1 frequency and take it all the way to the top over the length of the note.
now a cool trick to maintain the presence of a sound is to duplicate it – at the moment I think the filter is cutting too much from the sound, so let’s route everything into filter 2 as well, then into the amp. Now we have both the filtered and unfiltered version of the sound – with the automation, this means that over time, the sound will appear to get higher pitched and brighter, whilst still having a reasonable presence. Dass smart, yo.
Next thing to automate is the LFO rate – again, all the way up. Take a listen now. Crazy noises. You might want to avoid the absolute top, since it can get quite overbearing in the mix with all that wobbling going on, but that’s your call.
lastly, let’s automate the master level of the effect from the mixer. Taking it from the middle to the level you had it at allows the effect to have a more prominent volume swell rather than jumping in straight away being all O HAI THERE I’M JUST GOING TO SIT ON YOUR MIX.
This also has a useful side effect since you can completely cut all volume to the sound by taking it to 0 with this automated parameter. And say if you put in a quick delay on the mixer aux and dial it in a half, that will tie the effect together nicely AND be cut out dead when that volume automation brings the smack down.
So there’s our first synth! Join me in part 2 when we’ll look at a quick piano delay and adding vocal samples.
Okay, we’re over in Record 1.5 now since it’s great for audio and vocals come under audio. You can see I’ve added in the piano effect here now, which is simply the concert grand piano combinator preset. You can find that in the reason factory sound bank.
To get the delay, I thought I’d show you how to add insert effects in the record mixer, which I’ve now got all wired up nicely. So scroll to it or press F5 to jump to it, then on the piano channel, for the FX return let’s select the next channel down and add in a new delay. Dial it in half and in the rack, under master section right click and create a delay.
Now you can easily apply this to any channel of the record 1.5 mixer. It’s much the same as Reason 5, just with more options, so it’s easier to get lost, but when you know where things are it’s a lot less fiddly.
So take a listen – gorgeous little piano line. I’ll be discussing some of the notes tomorrow in day 6, but before we move on let’s take a look at the vocals I’ve added.
Lyrically, I wanted to reflect the positivity of the emotional content within the instrumental in a concise and yet expressive manner.
I think I achieved my goal.
I recorded a single vocal sample of me singing variations of “Yeah” and then did a bit of cutting and processing. I ended up with two “yeah”s, the main one and this other one which I thought worked quite nicely with the melody of the pads.
So that processing I mentioned – you might notice the neptune track here – neptune allows you to add vocoding effects so you can get some great synthy sounds from your vocals. Make sure you turn the MIDI option “To voice synth” then right click and create a track lane for it, or you’ll simply be autotuning the vocal. With the voice synth you get a much more synthetic sound and you can play chords rather than one note.
So without the synth it’s just this… and with it… nice and processed. I think I’ve got a 3 octave spread of the voice synth blended with the original sample.
As well as that, you can see there’s a lot of compression up here, a -25dB ish threshold and plenty of gain to compensate for the drop in volume.
EQ-wise, I felt the vocal was kinda boxy and muffled, so I reduced the boxiness with a cut around 600hz, take a listen to that… and then boosted around 5khz, both a good few dB and both a slightly wider Q to make it more of a smooth change.
Quite heavy reverb on the default ALL Cl Mid Hall preset, with just under quarter d/w – this is quite a lot of reverb for a conventional vocal, but since it’s meant to sound heavily processed, that and the delay here are stylistically heavily applied.
The delay is on 8 for a longer, in-time feel as well.
Lastly, Noisestorm found an awesome use for that other “yeah” sample; by applying this low pass filter to it with automation at the end, it kinda sounds like a synth slowly filtering down. With genres like this you can get away with a lot of vocal processing so have fun with it!
So there we have it – a pitch bend synth more warped than someone from the aperture science lab, piano more delayed than a flybe flight (I’m sure I’ve used that simile before but I just wanted to remind you not to fly with them) and vocals more positive than the charge on a hydrogen cation.
Join me tomorrow for day 6, where I’ll look at the arrangement of the song, discuss the FX samples and look at some of the fills and notes that we’ve used in more detail.