A wide variety of effects are available for use in the studio. Many of these are available as plug ins for software based studios, or as an effects processors for traditional based studios. Some are a must, some are occasionally useful, while some are only of use for novelty or sci-fi. The following is a list of the more common effects and filters available to the studio technician.
Echo - is basically reverb with a long delay time. To be perceived as echo, the delay has to be at least 50 milliseconds or above. Analog echo effects are implemented using tape delays and/or spring reverbs.
Flanger - a delayed signal is added to the original signal with a continuously-variable delay (usually smaller than 10 ms). This effect is now done electronically using DSP, (Digital signal processing), but originally the effect was created by playing a tape and the operator placing his finger on the flange of the tape player , the machine would slow down and its signal would fall out-of-phase.
Phaser - another way of creating an unusual sound; the signal is split, a portion is filtered with an all-pass filter to produce a phase-shift, and then the unfiltered and filtered signals are mixed.
Chorus - a delayed signal is added to the original signal with a constant delay. The delay has to be short in order not to be perceived as echo, but above 5 ms to be audible. If the delay is too short, it will destructively interfere with the un-delayed signal and create a flanging effect. Often, the delayed signals will be slightly pitch shifted to more realistically convey the effect of multiple voices.
Equalization - different frequency bands are attenuated or boosted to produce desired spectral characteristics. Moderate use of EQ
Filtering - Equalization is a form of filtering. Frequency ranges can be emphasized or attenuated using low-pass, high-pass, band-pass or band-stop filters. In general most filtering is done using preset filters designed to produce specific end results.
A band-pass filter is a device that passes frequencies within a certain range and rejects (attenuates) frequencies outside that range. An example of an analogue electronic band-pass filter is an RLC circuit (a resistor–inductor–capacitor circuit). These filters can also be created by combining a low-pass filter with a high-pass filter.
A high-pass filter is a filter that passes high frequencies well, but attenuates (reduces the amplitude of) frequencies lower than the cutoff frequency. The actual amount of attenuation for each frequency varies from filter to filter. It is sometimes called a low-cut filter; the terms bass-cut filter or rumble filter are also used in audio applications. A high-pass filter is the opposite of a low-pass filter, and a band-pass filter is a combination of a high-pass and a low-pass.
A low-pass filter is a filter that passes low-frequency signals but attenuates (reduces the amplitude of) signals with frequencies higher than the cutoff frequency. The actual amount of attenuation for each frequency varies from filter to filter. It is sometimes called a high-cut filter, or treble cut filter when used in audio applications.
Low Shelf filter cuts or boosts the frequencies below the cutoff point. Shelf filters are used to change a broad spectrum of sound rather than attenuating unwanted frequencies.
High Shelf filter cuts or boosts the frequencies above the cutoff point. Shelf filters are used to change a broad spectrum of sound rather than attenuating unwanted frequencies.
Notch filter (Band Reject) is the opposite of the band pass filter which attenuates frequencies around the cutoff point and passes the rest. Sometimes the two are applied in series to cut or boost at the selected frequency.
The Fast Fourier Transition filter in smoothes the transition between amplitude changes at various frequencies.. Setting above zero amplify and filter, settings below zero attenuate and filter.
Overdrive effects - the most basic overdrive effect involves clipping the signal when its maximum value reaches a certain threshold.
Pitch shift - shifts a signal up or down in pitch. This effect is often used to assist singers who sing out of tune. It is also used intentionally for aesthetic effect in some pop songs.
Time stretching - the opposite of pitch shift and consists of changing the speed of an audio signal without affecting its pitch.
Resonators - emphasize harmonic frequency content on specified frequencies.
Synthesizer - synths can generate artificially almost any sound by either imitating natural sounds or creating completely new sounds.
Modulation - changing the frequency or amplitude of a carrier signal in relation to a predefined signal. Ring modulation, also known as amplitude modulation, is an effect commonly used throughout sci-fi.
Compression - the reduction of the dynamic range of a sound to avoid unintentional fluctuation in the dynamics. Frequently used in vocal production.
3D audio effects - places sounds outside the stereo listening field.
Reverse echo - creates a swelling effect by reversing an audio signal and recording echo and/or delay while running the signal in reverse. The result is then played prior to the original signal.
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