How To Improve In 5 Minutes: Fresh Filter Usage!
Filters can improve your workflow and sound. You can use HiPass and LowPass filters or a combination of both, depending on what you want to do. Today I will show you effective techniques to use these filters.
Track presets or fix tracks in your template save time, because you don’t have to set up the tracks and plugins every time you need them. Let’s have a look on three different types of filter tracks.
Fast Frequency Adjustment
This track is a technical one and helps you to tweak the general sound of your material. I mostly use them when layering various FX with much low end or high frequencies. The filter cuts out futile information of one layer to preserve a muddy or harsh sound. The cutoff frequencies can vary but I mostly use LowCuts around 400hz and 12khz for HighCuts. Check Jeff Schmidt’s walk through of the Ultra FX2 Demo, in which he also talks about this kind of production technique.
My session template also includes tracks for filtered VOs. I use this kind of filtering more as a creative effect to create a “telephone voice”. This adds depth to the mix and keeps your listener interested. I use HiCuts at ~5khz and a LowCut at ~700Hz. To emphasize the phone effect, it helps to add some distortion. You can use separate filter and distortion plugins for this, but there is also one which ships with Pro Tools that combines both of them: AIR Vintage Filter. The plugin contains switchable filters and by using the “fat” knob it is possible to control the amount of distortion. As an addition the sound can be changed by an envelope and lfo.
A filter can be used to create nice sweeping effects and transitions. Drop a filter on a track and automate the cutoff frequency. With the direction of the automation you can sweep up or down. To increase the sweep push the resonance/q factor of the filter. But don’t overdo it! This kind of filtering works quite nice on samples, acapellas or music thus the settings depend on the material. Beside Low- and HighPass don’t forget the BandPass mode! This filter type is often underrated but it can create awesome effects! Check Dom Nero’s demo. He used this technique at 2:50min
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