Thursday, September 6, 2012

Creating Dynamic Synth Sounds That Mix Better

What is dynamic range? It is the fluctuation of audio levels over time. Using a meter, like TTDynamic you can measure dynamic ranges. Using this tutorial we will make synth sounds that playback better at high volumes.

How to read Dynamic Range:
1. Use a Dynamic Range Meter plugin. You can also use your eyeballs on a regular meter.
2. Play your sound
3. Read the average range.

Anywhere from 20db to 8db is a somewhat normal dynamic range for a synthesizer sound. Drums and short attack synth sounds tend to have higher dynamic range. Basses and long leads may not, so consider some editing.

How to fix your sounds:
4. Edit the Envelopes.
They allow you to change dynamic amplitude over time. A short attack/decay to a low or moderate sustain instantly gives you a dynamic sound. Without an envelope, a synthesizer is exactly the same as listening to compressed audio. The waveform doesn't change in amplitude. It is a fatiguing and unnatural experience.

5. Edit the Velocity. Adding Velocity is a great way to give dynamic expression.
6. Add an LFO. Modulating parameters that affect volume is a great way to make an interesting sound.

Recheck your dynamic range reading. A higher range will sound better, but you needn't take this too seriously for every sound. The speed you play notes affects dynamic range.

Distorted sounds, buzzing synths, and compressed audio has its place, but it should not be too loud in the mix to avoid ear fatigue. If a sound has no dynamics it is probably easy to hear at a lower level on the mixer.

In general, having a dynamic sound will help you get a better final product. If you like loud compressed music, you still have the option to do that in the final stages of song creation.

I hope you enjoyed these sound creation tips!

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