Create Interest with Filtering

May 6, 2017 | 0 comments

Create interest and differentiation in your mixes with filtering. You probably use filtering as an EQ-ing technique, but you can achieve some awesome results as far as unusual sounds – adding depth and texture to your audio. Let’s take a look at what we can do with filters.

Using Filters to Create a Call and Response
My favorite method of using a filter: applying a filter to one instrument so that it gives a response to another instrument. This works great with guitars for example, but you can use the same technique with other instruments too. In our guitar example, let’s say there’s a riff. It will play on track ‘Guitar 1’, then that same part will be repeated on another track with filtering applied.

Now copy this part to another track, and move it after this part. So let’s say the part is a bar long, then copy the part and move it to the next bar.


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Now add a filter plugin to this track. I’ll be using the Autofilter in Studio One, but there should be one bundled with your DAW. You can even use an EQ, but with a filter plugin, you get Cutoff and Resonance dials, which can further enhance the sound, especially if automation is applied to them.

So the AutoFilter is a filter with different filter shapes, plus it includes an LFO, so the Filter and Resonance are modified by the LFO shape.

I’ll be using one filter (even though I have a choice of two with this plugin). I’ll choose the Analog State Variable Filter, and I’ll switch it to a High Pass, instead of the default Low Pass.

I’m going to dial the Cutoff to about 1.18kHz, and the Resonance to 35.5%. I’ll increase the Drive. And for the Envelope and LFO, I’ll set these to zero, and I don’t want the LFO to modulate these parameters.

Now if I play back the original guitar part to this filtered guitar part, it sounds a like a call and response with the second part being filtered by the Analog SVF plugin. What’s cool its that it just adds some extra interest to the part.


So, for example, you could maybe use this in your second verse section to have some differentiation with the instrumentation from the first part.

And if you want to take it a step further you can add in some modulation: increase the dial and then choose an LFO shape. The Sine wave works quite well. And maybe set this over the same length as the part, so if the part is one bar long set the sync time to one bar. This way it will do one cycle of LFO modulation over it. Experiment. At faster speeds, it can sound quite frantic, unless that’s what you’re going for.

For an even more dynamic and different sound you could apply some saturation to it after the filter plugin. So I’ll add an instance of the Red Light Distortion for some saturation (you can use any saturation/distortion plugin). Take a listen to how it sounds now.

This is what it sounds like with the Filtered Guitars and some other instrumentation:

So you can see by using a filter, especially over an EQ plugin, you can get some interesting results on a tonal quality. And matching this up with the original sound can give you a great call and response effect which adds interest and differentiation to your audio. So try this out in your next production, it might just be the little trick you needed to spice up your track.

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