Mixing Synths: Early Reflections for Added Dimension

Adding some subtle dimension to your synthesized instruments with early reflections.

Synthesized instruments, unlike recorded sounds, have never existed in the acoustic world. This means that these synthesized sounds are 100% direct signal. To add some subtle dimension to these synthesized sounds, then, we can craft some “early reflections” on these tracks.

Here, I demonstrate this concept using ChromaVerb in Logic Pro X.

0:00 Introduction
0:55 Understanding Reverb and Early Reflections
2:18 Creating Early Reflections
3:18 Project Setup
4:26 Early Reflections Aux Track
5:15 ABing on the Synth Track
6:19 Why Separate these from the Main Reverb?
6:40 ABing on the Whole Arrangement

More Logic Pro X videos here.

Compression-Controlled Feedback Loops in Your DAW

Creating DAW-based feedback loops, then using side-chain compression to regulate them.

Here, working on a project with @SpectralEvolver , I show in Logic Pro X how we can use a compressor side-chained to a beat to control a feedback loop for some noisy, industrial sounding music that sounds evocative of the artist Emptyset. I found this was a great way to create a chaotic sound, but keep it under control (and out of the way of the drums).

0:00 Intro
0:29 The audio tracks
1:15 Side-chain compression
2:03 The feedback loop
3:13 Controlling the loop with compression
5:00 Emptset
5:13 Two aux tracks sending to each other
6:23 A note about time-based effects
6:50 Will it blow up?!
8:06 Closing, next steps

Check out Emptyset’s bandcamp here. Here’s Emptyset talking about their ionospheric propagation work, “Signal”:

More Logic Pro Tutorials from me here:

No-Input DAW (Logic Pro X Feedback Loops & Sound Design)

Tutorial on “no-input mixing” in a DAW (Logic Pro X, in this case) for wild feedback-based sound design.

With a little knowledge of digital signal flow, we can easily set up an aux track in our DAW as a feedback loop–sending the track back into itself. Once we start adding effects, we can achieve new and unexpected sounds. This technique could be a way to generate some new sonic material, add some interest to a drum loop, or even generate vast, evolving soundscapes.

0:00 Intro / Casio Beat
0:39 Output to Aux Track
1:06 Feeding Back with a Bus Send
2:20 Adding Effects to the Loop
4:14 More Subtle Effects
4:58 More Extreme (Pitch Shifter)
5:17 Removing the “Input”
6:47 Talking through the No-Input Mixer
8:18 Closing Thoughts

More Logic Pro X tutorials:

Kyma & DAW Integration with Dante (Digital Audio to Pacarana with AoE)

My students getting started in Kyma often ask me how they can integrate it into music production in their DAW. Now, there are a lot of good reasons to get away from your DAW sometimes, and experiment with different workflows (including those built into Kyma), but let’s set those aside for the moment. With a Dante AVIO USB ($129) and the Dante Virtual Soundcard ($29), you can set up two channels of 48K digital audio in and out of your Paca(rana), enabling you to use it like a plug-in effect with low latency and without any conversion to and from analog.

I demonstrate this in Logic Pro X, but it should work in Pro Tools, Reaper, Ableton, or your other DAW of choice.

Generative Ambient Music with the Logic Pro X Scripter

I put together a short tutorial on a simple way to use the Logic Pro X “Scripter” MIDI FX to create ever-changing, generative music.

As a composer, I always want to have original background music for all of my videos, but this means that I have to keep churning out long ambient tracks. One way that I address this is to set up a system that will generate an infinite amount of music for me, “Generative Music”, created by a system of rules.

In this video, I show one strategy of how to do this, laying down a couple chords in Logic, and then randomizing different aspects of them with MIDI FX to create an extended generative track.