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Trying to identify techniques used by a couple mainstream artists..
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SI2013
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#1
25th February 2013
Old 25th February 2013
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Trying to identify techniques used by a couple mainstream artists..

Hey all!

First and foremost, I'm a longtime viewer here and have learned a lot from you guys already so thank you

With that said, I've got a few "how to" type questions I was hoping some of you would be willing to take the time to help me with. It's just a few sounds/effects that I've been hearing in tracks and can't even figure out how to recreate the effect and they sound pretty cool (to me).

I'll list the effect and a link below to what I'm trying to learn. Any insight or pointing in the right direction on what to learn or study would be so much appreciated.

Disclaimer: These are Avicii and Afrojack type tracks and I kinda get the vibe of the general feeling toward these "mainstream" type artists. I work 60+ hours a week so I barely even have the time or energy to do much after my shifts... so when it comes to finding my music, I've gotta work with what the Beatport/iTunes top 100 give me to find new music.. forgive me, lol.

Oh and I am using Ableton 8 Suite as my DAW and have Nexus2, Sylenth1, and Vengeance Producer suite VST's at my disposal to try and recreate these sounds I'm listing below..

1. Stutter effect and pitch drop.

Afrojack ft. Chris Brown - As Your Friend! - YouTube

First off I REALLY tried finding a damn instrumental of this but nothing I could link to. Anyways, at 0:20 to 0:32 there's a stutter type effect and a pitch drop every 4 bars or so. I've tried to recreate the stutter with basic MIDI writing but no luck. Can anyone guide me to where I can learn to add this stutter type effect to my own projects? ALSO, I can't replicate the repeated every 4 bar pitch drop that occurs in that same );20 to 0:32 slot. I've come close by automating the pitch on the tail end of a sound but it just sounds very "unnatural". Mod wheel on my keyboard kinda does it but it won't drop the pitch as dramatically/quickly as it's done in the song.

2. Really awesome sounding piano by Headhunterz and Avicii:

A) In the link below this Headhunterz remix uses a really "older sounding" piano. It sound very stripped down and almost sounds like a pluck but it's a piano. Fast forward to 1:51 to 2:15. Anyone know how to get a piano to sound like that?

Kaskade - Lessons In Love (Headhunterz Remix) Official Video - YouTube

B) Right at the beginning of this Avicii track (kinda plays throughout the entire track)the piano sounds massive. I've added a crazy amount of reverb to different piano sounds but no luck. Any ideas on how to create something like that? Also, does it sound like the piano is standing alone or is it layered with a pad in your opinion? Again, any guidance on this would be beyond awesome. (Link to track below):

Avicii - Last Dance (Radio Edit) - YouTube

3. "Can't find the word to describe the effect" effect.

In this Avicii track there's some kind of effect being applied to every fourth note. Best way to describe it would be if you had a record player playing and you pulled the record for a tenth of a second to speed up the track.. its pretty distinctive and happens during what sounds like every 2 or 4 bars, just hard to describe for a beginner like me... basically it sounds like the pitch is being altered down but it really isn't. Hope someone understands what I'm referring to. Link below and it's from 1:30 to 2:15.

Avicii - Fire (Levels Two) - YouTube

THANK YOU in advance to anyone who answers one, two, or even all of them. You lending your knowledge is truly appreciated!

**In fairness, if you went out of your way to answer all of these for me, please PM me your Paypal email so I can send ya 5 bucks to buy you a drink as a thanks, lol!! Seriously though, I know your time is important and would feel like an ungrateful a$$hat asking for free knowledge without at least sending something small back your way in return =)
#2
25th February 2013
Old 25th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SI2013 View Post
1. Stutter effect and pitch drop
That's Auto-tune (or any equivalent product) applied to the vocals. This is almost a staple in studio effects; it quantizes the pitch of the voice so you can't sing off-key. It also allows you to sing something in a completely different melody - and then you can get the pitch you really want to hear by playing the "correct" melody with a MIDI keyboard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SI2013 View Post
A) In the link below this Headhunterz remix uses a really "older sounding" piano. It sound very stripped down and almost sounds like a pluck but it's a piano. Fast forward to 1:51 to 2:15. Anyone know how to get a piano to sound like that?
Ah, it's not as old as I thought it would be (Korg M1). in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it's somewhere in Nexus already. Just disable the effects and the rest of the layers so you're left with just the piano sound and nothing else.

Piano quality is defined by a number of factors; skill of the people recording it, available sample memory for playback, sample engine complexity (e.g. scripting).

See if you can find a Roland JV-1080 somewhere. There's no plugin of that (not because it's impossible, but because Roland is a conservative company). The 64-voice piano preset (just search on the page for the word "piano") at higher notes will do the job. Don't bother with trying to find sample sets; the JV is pretty cheap. A JV1010 is even cheaper.

Quote:
B) Right at the beginning of this Avicii track (kinda plays throughout the entire track)the piano sounds massive. I've added a crazy amount of reverb to different piano sounds but no luck. Any ideas on how to create something like that?
Lots of reverb does not make things massive; it blurs the attack of the sound. Throw a compressor over the piano, turn your reverb down and use EQ to get the reverberated sound out of the way of the actual piano and sidechain compression to push down the volume of the reverberated sound. Perhaps even a transient shaper on the dry piano signal itself to make the attack portion of the piano sound more obvious.

It's not standalone at all; there's a double supersaw layered on top of it. If that's not what you meant, then the supersaw sound pushes away so much of the rest that I at least find it difficult to hear.

Quote:
In this Avicii track there's some kind of effect being applied to every fourth note.
The pitch is altered. There are a variety of ways to achieve this; you could enable a tape stop effect over that particular sound alone, or you could enable portamento. Try it in Sylenth1. Set the number of voices to 1. Enable the switch at the bottom left that says "Mono Legato". Turn up the knob that says "portamento". Play a melody with your right hand at the upper end of the keyboard; while holding a high note, hold it and then press a key on the lower end of the keyboard. The pitch will slide downwards; the more the portamento knob is turned to the right, the longer it'll take to slide downwards, so the trick is finding what works.

Of course, the slide is not allowed to finish in your example track. Again, this is not very hard to achieve; you simply record the melody line as audio and cut off the remainer that falls outside of the 4th bar of the melody.

Quote:
**In fairness, if you went out of your way to answer all of these for me, please PM me your Paypal email so I can send ya 5 bucks to buy you a drink as a thanks, lol!! Seriously though, I know your time is important and would feel like an ungrateful a$$hat asking for free knowledge without at least sending something small back your way in return =)
Keep your 5 bucks - just keep on learning.

Take a few days time to really understand the effect of what a compressor does instead of throwing one on a sound and zapping through presets - compression is such a deep subject that you can study it for years, and by having a good grasp on hat attack, release, ratio and gain do (just 4 knobs!) on different signals, you invest in knowledge that you can use over and over again instead of being at the mercy of whoever designed the preet. Ditto with EQ; watch this:



and get a better understanding of what happens.

You have a box where you can put all your sounds in, but sounds can't occupy the same space at the same time. That means either squeezing down the sounds so they fit in the box height-wise (lower volume or use compression), or sawing off parts of the sound that both want to occupy the same space at the same time (EQ).

Learn those basics, and it doesn't matter what music you want to make. Learn music theory, and then you're able to come up with more original stuff than 4 overused chords.

But by all means: learn! Learn and don't be afraid to make mistakes; they're not even mistakes, they're just ways that didn't happen to work at that particular time.
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#3
25th February 2013
Old 25th February 2013
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25th February 2013
Old 25th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raffael77 View Post
Compression is the most dufficult tool to understand and to use correctly.
Meh.

I'd say object oriented stuff like max/map and reaktor is a bit harder to get good at than using a compressor. Even stuff like a midi patch bay is more difficult to grasp. It's just an audio following vca. It's not a difficult concept.
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12th April 2013
Old 12th April 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raffael77 View Post
Compression is the most dufficult tool to understand and to use correctly.
5 years later and I still don't get it.
#6
12th April 2013
Old 12th April 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SI2013 View Post

3. "Can't find the word to describe the effect" effect.

In this Avicii track there's some kind of effect being applied to every fourth note. Best way to describe it would be if you had a record player playing and you pulled the record for a tenth of a second to speed up the track.. its pretty distinctive and happens during what sounds like every 2 or 4 bars, just hard to describe for a beginner like me... basically it sounds like the pitch is being altered down but it really isn't. Hope someone understands what I'm referring to. Link below and it's from 1:30 to 2:15.

Avicii - Fire (Levels Two) - YouTube
You can create that effect in Effectrix or glitch. I would say that it's a vinyl effect. Could be wrong. I have only tried the demo of Effectrix and it is pretty awesome! I will try glitch to asweell before making a purchase.
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