LFO Modulation piqued your interest or perhaps you want to start working with loops and need to know the basics? Here’s a good start…
(For the best of each definition, click the titles)
Stands for Low Frequency Oscillator. Used to change the parameters of an audio signal over time, usually creating a repetitive effect; for example, LFOs affecting a filter’s cutoff frequency can be used to create a dubstep ‘wobble’; an LFO applied to stereo pan can create a rotary speaker/vibrato effect and LFOs applied to volume can create a tremolo effect.
LFOs with a very fast rate applied to volume create ‘ring modulation’, which sounds ringing and metallic. This is often used as a sound effect (such as the Dalek voice in Doctor Who). Slow LFOs into a short delay, recombined with the original signal, create flanging. LFOs are a very powerful tool and useful in many musical and synthesis situations.
A space designed for recording live instruments and vocals. Big rooms with hard walls are great for huge-sounding rock drums; rooms with careful acoustic treatment are good for recording vocals, as they have a controlled but ‘live’ sound.
It’s common when recording in a live room to ‘close mic’ an instrument and then place a stereo microphone pair in the room, too, to capture the ambience. This ambience sounds wonderful when mixed in with the close mic’d signal. It’s a fine art that requires good ears, good mics and a decent-sounding room.
Audio samples recorded at a specific tempo, which sound great when repeated. Loops are a quick way of creating a starting point for a tune. Use your DAW’s tempo stretching/audio warping tools to get the loops to fit to your tempo.
Pitch-shifting your loops to fit your key is often a good idea. +/-3 semitones can work well for pitch-shifting – but too much can sound artificial and badly processed.
The highest level of an audio signal, 0dB being absolute maximum. Ensure you’ve left sufficient headroom to avoid clipping and distortion.