Join Larry Crane for an in-depth discussion in this video Turning any sound into sonic wash, part of Real Recording School Weekly.
- [Instructor] In many mix sessions, there are sounds that need to be morphed into what I like to call sonic washes, keeping their harmonic elements intact, but losing any attack or temporal form. For this experiment, I decided to take a rock song and turn the bass and the main guitars into washes and see what I ended up with. First, I'll work with the bass. Here's how it was recorded initially. (bass music) Just a very clean, straight, normal bass.
Now, the first thing I'll do is put a compressor on it. I want to flatten out the notes a little bit. High ratio. (compressed bass music) Alright, the next effect I'll apply is the echo, and I'll do a really fast echo, where there's lots of quick repeats. I'm trying to mimic what happens with real reverberation in a room where it's a bunch of small echoes that happen when the sound bounces off the walls.
(echoing bass music) Set that around 50% wet, lots of feedback to make this splatter around. Then, I want to compress that again, flatten out the notes once again, and bring the volume back down a notch. (compressed bass music) Alright, then I'm going to use a plate reverb plugin, a little plate.
This is set to 100% wet right now. (reverberant bass music) Now, we're building up some lows, especially, there, you can hear, so I'll do a cut around 100 hertz, (distorted bass music) get some of the rumble out of there, because that's going to just take over the whole mix. Now, a long echo, you see it's been tapped out here to long, 47 BPM.
More wet than dry, a little bit, lots of feedback. Further obscuring, and then to smooth it out at the end, one more plate reverb, turn that on, and this one, I'll always kind of try to figure out how much of the mix, do we want it dry, do we want to leave some of that last long delay, full on wet starts to obscure everything quite a bit.
How long-- (distorted bass music) and really start to change. (distorted bass music) So, you're retaining all the harmonic content, changing it in time, let's hear that back in the mix with everything. (rock music) Turn that up. (rock music) Super interesting.
Let's try the same thing on those guitars. As you could hear, they're very straight, (guitar music) you know, pretty clean, doubled up, left and right. We'll start here with the compression like we did on the bass track, high ratio, once again, kind of really attack-y on those hits. Now, we'll do the fast delay. (delayed guitar music) So now it's a little bit faster.
There we go. (delayed guitar music) Really obscure the rhythm of it. Now we'll compress that again, clipping the volume back a little so we don't just blow everything out, high ratio, once again, then we're going to go in the first plate reverb, how much do we want to go? (reverberant guitar music) This step, I usually go really deep, more wet than dry.
Maybe not too long, though. This will be where we will go into stuff where it never stops regenerating, so that's a little bit too much, you know, in most cases. Now, the long echo, you can tell we're usually going to tap it out, something around 50, instead of 47 before, and go a little more wet than dry. Lots of regeneration, playing with the different types of tape that are on it, I can change the sound.
(distorted guitar music) And then a final plate reverb here, turn that one up. And this one, I always try to figure out how much, like we did with the bass. (distorted guitar music) Starting to sound more like a movie soundtrack, right? Let's hear that in the mix. (distorted rock music) Crazy.
You know, sure, there's some great sonic space creating plugins that'll do this with one plugin and a couple of presets, but with a process like this, you can create sounds that are uniquely your own, and that's really the goal, isn't it?