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Modulation effects: Phaser, flanger, and chorus

From: Digital Audio Principles

Video: Modulation effects: Phaser, flanger, and chorus

Modulation effects can be used kind of change the character slightly of the sound, or add a little bit more body, or just make it a little bit more interesting. All modulation effects basically work on the same principle, and they involve messing around with the phase of sounds. They involved taking a sound and taking a copy of it and then shifting it and playing them back at the same time, so that you actually generate different increases and decreases in volume based on their little offset in the phase between the two signals. I know we've talked about phase a few times in this title, and usually when it comes up it's something to be worried about. But it's also true that we can use it to our advantage to come over with some kind of interesting effects.

Modulation effects: Phaser, flanger, and chorus

Modulation effects can be used kind of change the character slightly of the sound, or add a little bit more body, or just make it a little bit more interesting. All modulation effects basically work on the same principle, and they involve messing around with the phase of sounds. They involved taking a sound and taking a copy of it and then shifting it and playing them back at the same time, so that you actually generate different increases and decreases in volume based on their little offset in the phase between the two signals. I know we've talked about phase a few times in this title, and usually when it comes up it's something to be worried about. But it's also true that we can use it to our advantage to come over with some kind of interesting effects.

The three types of modulation effects I'd like to talk about and show you some quick examples of are the Phaser-- pretty aptly named--the Flanger, and then the Chorus effect. In terms of how these apply effects and how they work, let's start by putting a little bit of Phaser on a guitar track. So I've imported a cool guitar track that a pal of mine played. (guitar playing) We'll go ahead and pull out the plug-in here in the modulation.

I know it's called MetaFlanger, but we can actually use it to load a setting that's a Phaser. I'm going to go ahead and bypass it when we first listen to it. I've got a little selection in here and go ahead and roll it. (guitar playing) So there is the clean signal. Now I'm going to turn the Phaser on. (guitar playing) Can you hear that kind of wavering back and forth? (guitar playing) I'll turn it off again.

(guitar playing) There is again. (guitar playing) So there is the phaser.

It adds a nice, subtle, flowing change in the dynamics. And you can hear the pitch has changed a little bit. Because of that little phase offset, different frequencies are getting a little bit more boost than they usually do. But it's a variation in boost, so it kind of gives that ebbing and flowing sound. Now, let's throw a flanger on a bass guitar. We'll go ahead and use that same MetaFlanger plug-in, because it's cool. We'll load up our bass track.

So here's the clean signal. No effect. (bass playing) I'm going to Load up. (bass playing) So now we'll turn on the Flanger. (bass playing) So you can apply the Flanger to get a creeping effect.

A lot of times they'll use it in sort of more psychedelic rock on the drums, and you'll get this long creeping-up and then creeping-down sound, which I might take a second to show you. Let's go for that. (drums playing) Here this shows more the effect I wanted to show. (drums playing) Hear that creeping down? We can speed up how fast that goes back and forth.

And we can change the shape of that. So that's a flanger applied to drums. You can use the flange on a lot of different things. You'll find it fairly often on things like bass, guitar, occasionally on vocals, sometimes on backing vocals actually. It all depends on what kind of mix you're going for and what kind of effects you're working with. Finally, let's take a look at chorus. A chorus is nice because it can really round out of sound, and you'll here it applied to vocal tracks quite a bit and guitar tracks quite a bit because it takes the signal and just makes a sound a little bit bigger and makes it a little bit interesting.

It offsets it and makes a little modulations in the pitch, and it'll take what sounds like a very steady tone and give it a little bit more body, a little bit more depth. We'll starts just applying it to a voiceover to just get a sense of how we can add some depth to a voice with chorus. (Female speaker: Welcome to the lynda.--) So some medium chorus. I'm going to turn the mix down a little bit and we'll take a quick listen here. (Female speaker: Welcome to the lynda.com video training podcast for Friday, January 19th, 2006. Oops. 2000. January 19th, 2007) (Female speaker: This is episode 47. This week, learn to sync poser models to an audio file.) So you can add it to voices probably not in a voiceover, but in vocals, in recordings it's just great.

It can really be round it out make it a little bit girthier. Let's drop it on the guitar track again. That's also a pretty popular application of chorus. We'll do another instance of our MetaFlanger and go ahead and load up--let's call it the--let's go with the light chorus. Jump ahead here. (guitar playing) You can see it adds a little bit more than the Phaser does.

There is a little bit more modulation. (guitar playing) I'll bypass the sound, so there it is, clean or dry. We'll go back and add the effect back. (guitar playing) So that's the way you can add Chorus to guitar, and as you can see, it adds a pretty nice effect.

It can really add a lot of texture to that. So these are kind of the basic modulation effects: Phaser, Flanger, and the Chorus effect. But things can get pretty crazy. You can do a lot of interesting things and far-out things with the modulation. I'm just going to play around a little bit and show you a few different effects that you can get with modulation. I'm going to go ahead and load in a different plug-in here. We'll load up the Enigma, which I'm a fan of. We'll go ahead and use a couple of their presets. I think this one kind of cool.

We will use the voiceover track again. Get a load of this. (music playing) (Female speaker: Essential Training with Larry Mitchell) Those are pretty cool. (Female Speaker: For Friday, January 19th, 2006. Oops. January 19th, 2007.) So as you can see, you can get some pretty extreme effects with modulation.

You can use it in subtle ways to kind of just enhance things a little bit, or you can really blow things wide open and do some pretty crazy stuff. And it all depends on what kind of sound you're going for, or what you're playing with it. If you're doing sound design, modulation can be really great tool to use to make alien voices and things like that. If you're doing music mixing, you can use it to just kind of give different instruments a little bit different quality. Or if you have a like a special interlude section that you want to be the spacey section, you can add it on just a few instruments and make things happen. So anyway, they're good effects to know about, and really a lot of fun in terms of creating kind of different sounds and getting some unique sounds out there.

Now, let's take a look at some plug-ins that aren't quite so crazy, but are very practical. We'll check out some sound tools.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Digital Audio Principles
Digital Audio Principles

110 video lessons · 28217 viewers

Dave Schroeder
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 50s
    1. Welcome
      50s
  2. 39m 10s
    1. What is sound?
      4m 15s
    2. Hertz and frequency response
      5m 34s
    3. Phase
      2m 39s
    4. Capturing audio
      3m 39s
    5. Sample rate
      6m 16s
    6. Bit depth
      9m 47s
    7. The waveform
      5m 3s
    8. Audio file formats
      1m 57s
  3. 7m 25s
    1. What is a digital audio workstation?
      2m 59s
    2. Typical DAW signal flow
      4m 26s
  4. 50m 33s
    1. What microphones do
      1m 57s
    2. Element types
      5m 0s
    3. Pickup patterns
      6m 51s
    4. Axis
      2m 52s
    5. Frequency response and the proximity effect
      5m 10s
    6. Phase issues
      1m 41s
    7. Microphone types
      8m 44s
    8. Miking vocals
      5m 39s
    9. Miking amplifiers
      2m 17s
    10. Miking drums
      10m 22s
  5. 16m 39s
    1. Cables and connectors overview
      2m 42s
    2. Balanced and unbalanced cables
      3m 19s
    3. Common cable types
      7m 13s
    4. Cable tips
      3m 25s
  6. 12m 16s
    1. What is an I/O device?
      1m 41s
    2. Analog to digital conversion
      3m 10s
    3. Tour of an audio interface
      4m 49s
    4. Interface considerations
      2m 36s
  7. 21m 5s
    1. What is a preamp?
      3m 21s
    2. Input levels
      5m 29s
    3. Padding
      2m 18s
    4. Phantom power
      2m 37s
    5. Phase reverse
      3m 4s
    6. Preamp demo
      4m 16s
  8. 12m 56s
    1. What is a mixer?
      5m 55s
    2. Input section
      1m 17s
    3. Channel strips
      3m 16s
    4. Master section
      2m 28s
  9. 18m 21s
    1. What is monitoring?
      2m 11s
    2. Speakers
      4m 47s
    3. Room considerations
      5m 43s
    4. Headphone types
      3m 50s
    5. Monitoring levels
      1m 50s
  10. 15m 23s
    1. What role do computers play?
      1m 36s
    2. Performance issues
      4m 11s
    3. Hard drives
      4m 38s
    4. Mechanical noise
      2m 10s
    5. Authorization
      2m 48s
  11. 6m 54s
    1. Planning for recording
      54s
    2. Doing a system check
      1m 26s
    3. Planning your inputs
      1m 42s
    4. The recording environment
      2m 52s
  12. 25m 52s
    1. Types of digital audio software
      38s
    2. Multi-track recorders/sequencers
      4m 56s
    3. Two-track recorders/waveform editors
      4m 55s
    4. Loop-based music production software
      5m 44s
    5. Plug-ins
      6m 56s
    6. Other varieties
      2m 43s
  13. 18m 59s
    1. Common components
      46s
    2. The transport
      2m 4s
    3. The toolbar
      3m 19s
    4. The Edit/Arrange window
      4m 42s
    5. The mixer
      5m 8s
    6. The file list
      3m 0s
  14. 19m 17s
    1. Setting up a session
      3m 30s
    2. Assigning inputs and getting signals
      3m 19s
    3. Input modes
      3m 28s
    4. Overdubbing and punching
      5m 14s
    5. Bouncing down
      3m 46s
  15. 19m 42s
    1. What is editing?
      1m 21s
    2. Waveforms
      2m 53s
    3. Making silent cuts and trims
      7m 1s
    4. Fades and automation
      8m 27s
  16. 1h 23m
    1. What are plug-ins?
      3m 0s
    2. Using plug-ins
      6m 11s
    3. EQs
      7m 4s
    4. Dynamics pt. 1: Compressors, limiters, expanders, and gates
      5m 40s
    5. Dynamics pt 2: Applying dynamic effects
      7m 2s
    6. Pitch shifting
      6m 14s
    7. Reverb
      9m 28s
    8. Echo and delay
      6m 23s
    9. Modulation effects: Phaser, flanger, and chorus
      9m 39s
    10. Sound tools pt. 1: About, gain, normalize
      7m 39s
    11. Sound tools pt. 2: Reverse and time compression/expansion
      6m 29s
    12. Sound tools pt. 3: Noise reducers, dither
      8m 11s
  17. 23m 43s
    1. What is MIDI?
      3m 6s
    2. Keyboard controllers
      1m 23s
    3. Computer-based virtual instruments
      1m 6s
    4. Control surfaces
      1m 6s
    5. Recording and editing MIDI
      12m 4s
    6. Virtual instruments
      4m 58s
  18. 27m 29s
    1. What is mixing?
      1m 54s
    2. Some common objectives
      3m 4s
    3. Some useful techniques
      5m 59s
    4. A quick mixing demo
      16m 32s
  19. 18m 48s
    1. What is mastering?
      2m 24s
    2. Sonic maximization
      9m 43s
    3. Final preparations and exporting
      6m 41s
  20. 13m 34s
    1. What is audio compression?
      2m 16s
    2. Popular formats
      2m 9s
    3. Bit rate, sample rate, and channels
      5m 42s
    4. Other adjustments and considerations
      3m 27s
  21. 15m 6s
    1. Essential gear
      7m 36s
    2. Voice recording setups
      1m 43s
    3. The voice production process
      5m 47s
  22. 10m 4s
    1. Analog vs. digital
      2m 48s
    2. Tube vs. solid state
      5m 6s
    3. The continual upgrade
      2m 10s
  23. 18s
    1. Goodbye
      18s

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