Thursday, November 21, 2013

Heavy Metal Games

It's a music day today.

I spent most of the day figuring out how to create a decent heavy metal drum kit.  I think I'm basically happy with the basic sound now.  The toms could maybe use some work, but the kick and snare are sounding decent.

So, things learned today:

The kick drum doesn't really need much of its low frequency range.  EQing up anything below 75Hz just muddies things up, though you do need a bit of low end.  The interesting parts of the kick actually occur closer to 4Hz and 8KHz, where the "click" actually happens and makes the kick punch through the mix.

To make the giant 80s snare sound basically calls for a gated reverb.  That's basically an effect chain with a reverb followed by a noise gate.  To get the noise gate to work is a bit of a trick, because you want it keyed off the initial sound level, not the reverb level.  I'm using Reaper, which has a fairly easy method of doing this:
  1. Send the snare to a separate track for just the snare reverb
  2. Give that track 4 channels
  3. Effect chain:
    • Duplicate the input channels 1/2 to channels 3/4 (Utility/chanmix2)
    • Add the reverb
    • Add the gate (ReaGate)
      • Set the Detector input to Auxiliary Input

The main trick here is that ReaGate lets you use a channel for volume detection that is separate from the main signal.  There are probably other methods in other recording software, but this works nicely here.

Then I did a little playing with parallel compression, which is just mixing the original uncompressed sound with a heavily compressed version of it. I still need to look into this some more.

This took a lot of tweaking, and then recording a guitar and bass loop so I could see how they sounded mixed together.  It's quite interesting how things can sound vastly different (for better or for worse) one you actually mix them all together.

So, tomorrow will hopefully be composing a test piece for a level and maybe actually getting object spawning synced with it.

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