Last week I showed you a quick, creative use for Lives gate – an under appreciated little device that has lots of quick creative options lurking under its simple appearance.
This week, let’s keep cracking on that theme with a look at Lives Flanger – a go to of mine for both transition noise sound design and adding cool, psychedelic overtones to synth sounds.
Flanger work by creating extra versions of a signal and offsetting them, or delaying them slightly against the original signal. The result is a harmonically pleasing sweep that usually has two main (and self explanatory) controls – rate and depth – we’re pretty much all familiar with Flangers I’d assume, so let’s get to how to use them in a more interesting fashion.
Lose the LFO = Comb Filter Gold!
One of the cool techniques I use to create interesting rising effects is to actually reduce the lfo amount to zero, and then automate an adjustment of the delay time to coincide with a rising effect, over the course of 4 or 8 bars.
Once you’ve tried this, I guarantee it’ll be a staple. Mix it in subtlety or layer a couple Flangers in series with slightly offset delays and you’ll get drastically different effects. The sound really comes alive when put through a nice dub delay.
I’ve included an example of this in an ALP you can download below – it’s on track one.
The other super quick and cool usage involves resampling.
Synth tones often benefit from some interesting harmonic effects being applied as an overtone, just to liven them up or add a bit of psychedelic edge. In the case of the Flanger, by tuning the delay time to the incoming root note, we can create a nice sparkle or metallic characteristic where there wasn’t one before.
Upside = easy to do, sounds great.
Downside = no midi input means that the delay time (or pitch) of the Flanger needs to be adjusted or automated manually. Or does it?
When I say tuning, really what I mean is listening for a sweet spot interaction between an incoming tone and the Flanger. Don’t overthink this one; just fire a saw wave through a Flanger and find a spot you like while holding down a key. C is probably easiest as the next step is to simply freeze and flatten the track, turning the output of the synth and the Flanger tone into a single file.
At this point, we simply bounce that new audio clip into Sampler, adjust our zone, and now the relationship between the synth sound and the Flanger is “imprinted” into the sound, so we can play it up and down the keyboard. Super useful concept in resampling, as many effects create pitched outputs, and this is a really cool way of integrating them into your sound design.
I’ve given you two tracks to listen to: one where a simple saw is put through a flanger and played at two notes, and one resampled. You can instantly hear the difference resampling makes, as the comb effect is now “part” of the sound.
Grab the ALP file below!