Ambient drone. Illusion of movement.

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animapara
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Ambient drone. Illusion of movement.

Post by animapara »

Hi there,

I noticed one thing ... at the very bottom of the drone, in its tonic, seems like jerky movement.
Seem to be like tremolo (tremolo with some randomness in wave shape, not just simple sine or triangle)or something. And it creates that "movement" illusion. Look at this example link: (short excerpt from M. Grassow drone track)

https://soundcloud.com/andrew-bond-937682349/sound-3

Most low frequency of this drone sounds pulsating, remind some Morse code like "Uh_Uh_Uh___pause___Uh__Uh_pause_ _Uh___pause" and so on (if you look in EQ you'll see that this pulsating frequency is around 78 Hz, and if you cut it drone immediately seems to turn static - no illusion of motion) ...

This lowest part of the drone has a gaps or something. If you know how to do this please, what's the best way to make this pulsating low bass? I don't think that this is just notes programmed in sequencer, i think that initially this is seamless long note, but gaps created by tremolo (?) or maybe i'm wrong ... And these gaps have some rhythm (and this rhythm seems a bit random ... gaps have different lenght) It's rhythmic in some kind ... and this creates hypnotic ambient feel.
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Pyrrhix
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Re: Ambient drone. Illusion of movement.

Post by Pyrrhix »

That's some good attentive listening. My initial thoughts are:

If it's a synth sound, it could be phasing between more than two oscillators to create a more complex phasing rhythm.

It could also be a subtle repeating volume automation that was drawn in a daw.

It could also be a sampled sound that is being looped, like a filtered orchestral note, that already had this pattern present in it.
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ATW
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Re: Ambient drone. Illusion of movement.

Post by ATW »

Nice sounds — I agree w/ @Pyrrhix, could be any combination of those.

To my ears the movement feels natural, without obvious clocking and synching. If I was recreating this I'd probably start with sampled drone loops with seamless transitions, at different lengths, and then stack them in a DAW in separate tracks. I'd put very subtle, slow auto-pan on each of the tracks to start, using maybe a range of 10L–10R max, with each track at slightly different pan rate. And using sine wav LFOs to drive that movement. Phasing, chorusing, etc could be explored similarly.

Also possibly using envelope followers to cross-modulate tracks, maybe controlling some of the amplitude or FX dynamics. And with a fairly slow release time, so the ebb/flow dynamics feel a bit spongy/organic like the example. Maybe side-chain compress or EQ tracks with other tracks to keep things moving.
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animapara
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Re: Ambient drone. Illusion of movement.

Post by animapara »

Thanks for answers! But one note: as i know, M. Grassow doesn't use any comp when creating drones ... it's all done with hardware boxes only - so, no any DAW ... and second what comes in mind: maybe use of step-sequencer to do these organic and natural gaps? What do you think?
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Katharine Burr
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Re: Ambient drone. Illusion of movement.

Post by Katharine Burr »

Sounds to me like the effect of a phaser. This illustration from the Moog MF-103 manual shows the effect of a 6 stage phaser:

Image

With aggressive resonance, the sound will practically cancel out at the frequencies of the dibs (notches).

Most phaser effects will have a built in LFO with controls for modulating the notches up and down the frequency spectrum, creating the recognisable "sweeping sound" of a phaser. If, however, the sound you're using the phaser effect on is a single frequency bass note, the most notable effect of the phaser will be, that the note periodically "disappears" (is cancelled out as notches sweep over it).

If the LFO is a simple sine-wave, which it is on most hardware phasers, the notches will pass the bass note unevenly over time. At the extremes of the LFO curve the notches will move slowly, while at the middle they will move fast, which can potentially create interesting rhythmical variation like the bass note "rhythm" in the example you posted.

https://api.moogmusic.com/sites/default ... Manual.pdf
animapara
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Re: Ambient drone. Illusion of movement.

Post by animapara »

Katharine Burr wrote: Wed Jan 18, 2023 4:22 am Sounds to me like the effect of a phaser. This illustration from the Moog MF-103 manual shows the effect of a 6 stage phaser:
Oh, dear ... Thank you very very (x100) much for this explanation! I'll try to play with phaser FX.

Thank you once again!
dubguy99
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Re: Ambient drone. Illusion of movement.

Post by dubguy99 »

Yeah that sounds like phasing. Low-stage and mixed in dry and wet.

I like stacking lots of subtle phasers for movement. Here for example a track I did a while ago:

animapara
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Re: Ambient drone. Illusion of movement.

Post by animapara »

dubguy99 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 7:43 am Yeah that sounds like phasing. Low-stage and mixed in dry and wet.

I like stacking lots of subtle phasers for movement. Here for example a track I did a while ago:

Nice drone you got ... thank you for your answer!
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