Feedback as a sound source.

Shure SM58 - photo

Here’s a way to get a highly unique sound. You probably won’t want to use this technique on every song you record. I guarantee when you do people will ask how you did it. Take a microphone and aim it at one of your speakers. Carefully turn up the volume. When you start to hear feedback hit record on your DAW. Move the microphone around. That’s the basics but now let’s play more. Add a distorion or reverb plug in as an insert on the microphone channel. Now we have more flavors of feedback. Using these recordings in your purely electronic songs adds some real life.

Bats - photoI have a song called from 1996 called Dark Invader. It was the first release on my record label Things to Come Records. I was searching for bat sounds but instead I did the following. I had a Shure SM-58 microphone aimed towards a large nightclub style speaker. The mic was going through a Korg SDD-2000 digital delay. I had the delay times in sync with the tempo of my song. I recorded the feedback. Lastly, in an Akai S950 sampler I reversed and cut up the feedback and stragedically placed it in the song. Here is an audio sample:

Early this year I was recording a song about Gary Ridgeway, The Green River Killer. The song is called The Grip of the Cobra. I wanted a dark feedback effect to roll over the drums. This time I used a modern technique. There is a fantastic plug-in called Timeless by Dutch company Fabfilter. It’s an analog style delay with according to thier website “Feedback and cross-feedback with L/R sync and phase inversion”. What this means is I am now able to get a similar effect but all within my DAW and without recording an external mic aimed at my speakers. They have a fully functional 30 day demo available to download on their website. Here is a sample of the feedback effect I was able to achieve in my song The Grip of the Cobra:

photo credits: 2create, Tolka Rover

5 Comments

  1. hi
    i’m great fan of “larsen effect”
    when i was playing guitar in my band i was always playing with cause of all Boss pedal dd3 distort etc..loud volume
    live & we used it in studio too .
    You can heard it last track on myspace.com/peterstone33 “blue haired girl”in the middle on the track for re-play me on the guitar & my bassist modifying effect guitar and this larsen that would be here few second stay until the end of the track …
    r├ęsonance….
    congratulation for ur great blog & xcuse my english
    cheers

    Reply

  2. Hey Oliver,
    I made an Ableton Live synth using feedback from the internal mic on my macbook. I think you might like how alive it sounds… Thanks for all your work!

    http://afrodjmac.com/2011/03/28/free-ableton-live-synth-afrodjmac-laptop-feedback/

    Reply

      1. When I was a young goof-off in Jr. College my friends and I used to jam with large amounts of amplification and very little technique or planning… one of the best accidents occurred when we placed a large brass taifor (Arabic serving plate, about 3′ across) between a mic and a bass amp. Immediately the taifor began to resonate, and moving the mic closer and further away varied the overtone. The musical tone generated was very brassy, resembling that of a trombone or tuba. It was a lot more engaging as a sound than simple mic feedback (of which we used plenty along with analog delay). Now hit the thrift stores in the Arab quarter of your town for an old taifor!

        Reply

        1. True analog feedback! Your comment got me thinking that in this crowded world I wonder how many kids miss out on screaming into a canyon or off the side of a mountain an hearing their voice come back. These days people just call the cops!

          Reply

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