Foundations of Audio: Delay and Modulation
Illustration by John Hersey

Get in the Mix: Creating a comb filter and a flange effect


From:

Foundations of Audio: Delay and Modulation

with Alex U. Case

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Video: Get in the Mix: Creating a comb filter and a flange effect

So far we've talked about how constructive and destructive interference leads to cone filtering. Let's see how we can make musical use of this. The cone filter frequency response represents a radical reshaping of tone. Modulating that cone filter gives us flanging. All we need is a track and a short delay. Plugins with the word flanger in their name typically provide us delay processors with a single short delay accompanied by all the usual parameters.
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  1. 4m 59s
    1. Welcome
      1m 40s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      50s
    3. How to use the exercise files
      55s
    4. Using the "Get In the Mix" Pro Tools session files
      1m 34s
  2. 21m 39s
    1. What is delay?
      2m 7s
    2. Creating delay effects overview
      1m 41s
    3. Delay time, level, and feedback parameters
      3m 0s
    4. Utilizing a low-pass filter and polarity reverse
      3m 7s
    5. Setting up an effects loop for delay
      1m 6s
    6. Setting up an effects loop in a DAW
      5m 40s
    7. Setting the delay time by tempo
      3m 25s
    8. Setting the delay time by ear
      1m 33s
  3. 31m 29s
    1. Overview of short, medium, and long delays
      3m 49s
    2. Long delays
      3m 17s
    3. Get in the Mix: Using long delay on key lyrics
      7m 2s
    4. Get in the Mix: Establishing groove with long delays
      8m 42s
    5. Get in the Mix: Creating slap-back echo with long delays
      6m 6s
    6. Advanced tape-delay effects
      2m 33s
  4. 46m 59s
    1. LFO
      2m 39s
    2. Get in the Mix: Modulation rate and depth
      7m 32s
    3. Get in the Mix: Modulation shape
      7m 43s
    4. Delay effects examples in various plug-ins
      3m 52s
    5. Medium delays
      1m 3s
    6. Get in the Mix: Chorus
      5m 54s
    7. Get in the Mix: Double tracking
      6m 23s
    8. Get in the Mix: Spreaders and thickeners
      11m 53s
  5. 16m 31s
    1. Constructive and destructive interference
      2m 16s
    2. Short delays
      1m 6s
    3. Get in the Mix: Creating a comb filter and a flange effect
      5m 34s
    4. Get in the Mix: Flanger and phaser effects
      7m 35s
  6. 19m 11s
    1. Using delays in a real-world mix
      16m 59s
    2. Course summary and goodbye
      2m 12s

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Watch the Online Video Course Foundations of Audio: Delay and Modulation
2h 27m Appropriate for all Jan 18, 2012 Updated Jan 31, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this installment of Foundations of Audio, author Alex U. Case explains the fundamentals of delay and modulation effects and how to apply these effects, technically and creatively, to improve the sound of a mix. The course covers adjusting individual parameters such as delay time, level, and feedback; working with long delays to create echoes, enhance groove, and add support; using delay modulation for chorus and doubling effects; and dialing-in spectral effects from delay, such as flanging. This course also includes Get in the Mix (GITM) sessions for both Avid Pro Tools and Apple Logic Pro. Exercise files are also included with the course.

Topics include:
  • Adjusting the delay time, level, and feedback parameters
  • Utilizing a low-pass filter and polarity reverse
  • Setting up an effects loop
  • Setting the delay time by tempo or by ear
  • Understanding the distinct uses of short, medium, and long delays
  • Adjusting modulation rate, depth, and shape
  • Adding double tracking and spreader effects
  • Manipulating tone with constructive or destructive interference
  • Creating a comb filter and flange effect
Subject:
Audio + Music
Software:
Logic Pro Pro Tools Waves
Author:
Alex U. Case

Get in the Mix: Creating a comb filter and a flange effect

So far we've talked about how constructive and destructive interference leads to cone filtering. Let's see how we can make musical use of this. The cone filter frequency response represents a radical reshaping of tone. Modulating that cone filter gives us flanging. All we need is a track and a short delay. Plugins with the word flanger in their name typically provide us delay processors with a single short delay accompanied by all the usual parameters. Feedback, filtering, polarity reverse, and modulation capability.

Electric guitar offers a great opportunity for the flanging effect. Recall that flanging comes from the mixing of a signal with a very short delay. It's most pronounced at very short delay times. One millisecond or less. But the effect remains audible up to as much as 15 or 20 milliseconds. Adding flange transports the guitar texturally, spectrally, and it might even transport us a bit back in time. Back to the 60s, when rock and roll guitarists first introduced us to the sound.

Longer delay times lead to spectrally rich and complex flange effects. Shorter delay times create more distinct alterations to timber. There is no right answer here. Fine-tune the effect to taste. That's the sound, the surprising vibey sound of the swept pattern of constructive and dectructive interference across the entire tone of this guitar. Certain frequencies are being cancelled while other are doubled. As the delay time is modulated the frequencies of the cuts and boosts move accordingly. Flipping the polarity of the delay shifts the frequencies of the cuts and boosts to new locations.

A great way to understand this better is to apply the effect temporarily to a pink noise test signal. Pink noises random energy with an equal distribution across the audio band. It has as much lows as mids as highs. It is a distinctly non-musical signal. But it's an interesting way to estimate the spectral content of all possible musical signals. Flanging the pink noise makes the spectral patterns of dips and bumps more obvious.

This test signal now makes the sonic impact of our delay parameter adjustments quite clear. Use the noise signal to support your exploration, but don't forget, all that matters is how it sounds on the track.

Your ability to contribute to future mixes depends on your comfort and fluency with flanging.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Foundations of Audio: Delay and Modulation .


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Q: This course was updated on 01/31/2014. What changed?
A: The Get in the Mix videos have been updated to the most recent version of Pro Tools. Also, the course now includes free Get in the Mix sessions for two more DAWs: Logic Pro X and Pro Tool.
 
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