The Kick Boom, Thunderverb song writing element.

Thunder - photo

Here’s a technique I use on almost every song I record. This step gives me a helping hand in making transitions in the arrangement work. It also can add drama at the end of an important verse. I have a few names for this tactic including the Kickverb, Kickboom and the awesome Thunderverb!

Altiverb - screenshotTake the kick drum you are using throughout the track and isolate one hit. Make a new audio track and place the single kick drum on it. Don’t forget to render your kick first if you had some effects on it like compression or EQ. Once on its own channel insert a reverb. I usually go for Alitverb convolution reverb or the Korg MDE-X multi-effect which comes with the Korg Legacy collection. Both those reverbs have colors to them. Next, I render a single kick going through a wash of reverb. Do several bounces with different kinds of reverbs. You end up with Kickverb1, Kickverb2 and so forth. If your song calls for it insert a distortion plug-in after the reverb. This gives you a dirty decaying sound. My favorite distortion plug-ins are Izotope’s Trash and Ohm Force’s Ohmicide. Another thing to try is pitching your rendered kickverb down.

Izotope Trash - screenshotI usually create my Kickverbs after the general arrangement is finished. Then, I place them strategically throughout the timeline. Two places they fit include at the beggining of the chorus and in the verse after you say something shocking or important. You can also start and finish the song with them.

Some other things that maybe obvious that you can do is reverse the Kickverb. Place that “Reverse Kickverb” before the chorus comes in to build up tension. Of course you don’t have to stick to the Kickverb at all because real thunder and explosion samples will also work.

photo credit: caddymob

Audioease Speakerphone Group Buy

Speakerphone - photo

I use Audioease’s Altiverb on almost every song I create. I really like convolution reverb’s and Altiverb 6 is the king. When I first bought it I spent almost two weeks hunting down 1980’s digital reverb Impulse Responses. I even put photos of the Neuman U87 - photooriginal processing units into Altiverb! Often I will load Altiverb into a return channel, choose a Lexicon 480L reverb Impulse Response and pan the return hard right. Then on a vocal channel Ill turn up the send knob to get a nice thick shimmering reverb vocal in my right ear. Once and I while I will take an Impulse Response from a Neuman U87 microphone and run D16’s Nepheton Roland TR-808 emulator plug-in through it. This gives the Nepheton an extra boost of realism. It’s like you plugged in a real TR-808 in a room and recorded it to tape. Very nice.

A few weeks ago Altiverb released a much anticipated new plug-in called Speakerphone. According to the Audioease website it’s “270 speaker impulse responses powered by Altiverb, 30 Altiverb rooms, 5 gigabyte of ambiances and sound FX, conveniently presented to you in 500 presets.”. But actually it’s even more than that because inside Continue reading →

Fifeteen snares drums dry. One snare drum wet.

Drum Machines Have No Soul

I have a large pool of tips and tricks I pull from when creating arrangements. To me they are like colors in a pallet I choose from. Because I make electronic music it’s important to keep the listeners ear interested at all times by constantly adding variations to the sound. Over time on I will talk about many of things I do. Here’s a simple one.

Let’s say you have a kick and a snare going in your song. Take every 16th snare and instead of having it dry like the others explode it out with reverb. You can either have reverb on a send return and just turn in up every 16th snare. You could also bounce one of your dry snares fully loaded and drag them in your arrangement.

Remember you don’t have to use a stereo reverb either. I like to use Altiverb which is a convolution reverb in mono. Sometimes I pan the mono reverb tail to only the left or right side.

If your “snareverb” isn’t smashing enough add some eq or distortion to the reverb. I usually use Izotope Trash for that because it has an eq, filter and distortion unit all ready in one plug-in.

I hope that gave you some ideas. Do you have some songs where you used the technique? Post a link in the comments!

photo credit: Victory of the People