05 Mar How to Use Saturation & Distortion in Sound Design for Electronic Music – FabFilter Saturn Tutorial
How to Use Saturation & in Sound Design for Electronic Music
Here’s Our Game Plan
In this tutorial, we show you how to use saturation & distortion in FabFilter’s epic Saturn plugin. Dan Larrson is here to show you some tips and tricks. You’ll see 3 sound design techniques showing Saturn in action:
- How to use Saturn to make vocal FX by turning a recording of your own voice into a lead or pluck chords.
- How to use advanced modulation to make a neuro reece bass for drum n bass.
- How to add punch and weight to a kick drum in a house track beat.
Making Vocal FX
Creative producers often find ways of taking easily recorded sounds and putting them into music. In this example, Dan uses a recording of his own voice to create both the lead sound and the plucked chords. To do this, he uses 2 instances of Saturn running heavy saturation, stacked up with some reverb and chorus.
The result totally transforms the sound into something that’s astoundingly usable as the lead and chords in his track. Don’t limit yourself to only using sample packs. Found sounds and field recordings, when processed right, can make for some sound design happy accidents. Vocals and vocal style effects like this, are great options to give your track an organic feel and introduce some unique elements to your production.
Advanced Modulation = Instant Neuro Reece Bass
In the second example, Dan takes an Operator synth playing a sine wave and white noise and turns it into an impressive neurofunk bass. The unprocessed sound is then amped up using modulation from an XLFO in Saturn, targeting both the drive and level parameters. This gives it some super-gritty top end snarl, while introducing a reece-like wobble.
Taking things even further, you learn how MIDI pitch bend information can be routed into Saturn from the track Operator is on using an External Instrument device. This allows Saturn’s XLFO rate to be modulated by the MIDI pitch bend. As the pitch bend happens in the synth, the wobble also changes speed, just like a classic reece.
Adding Punch to a Kick Drum
Finally, you get to see how Saturn can be a very useful tool in your drum processing arsenal. Dan takes a kick drum in a house beat, and adds some heft to the transient. To do this, Saturn’s envelope modulation source is mapped to the drive parameter. The envelope is set with a very short attack and decay, with zero sustain, so that drive is only applied to the beginning of the kick.
This technique yields a nice result, giving a solid impact and click to the front of the kick, while leaving the body untouched and clean. This prevents the body of the kick from being overprocessed.
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