Creating Impacts With Mechanimal

7 years ago

Creating strong impact in your music is important. I always found it difficult to find clean effect samples so I ended up learning how to create my own. Once you get in the habit it will save you lots of time, make your productions cleaner and give your tracks a personal touch rather than reaching for the same overused samples.

Step 1: Clap/Snare Sample
Find a clean Clap or Snare sample. Many will work well, so try a few with this tutorial and see what you like. I find that a clap with a nice transient (Green) works best. Avoid heavily distorted or compressed samples (Red) as they will give you a white noise wash rather than a punchy impact (unless that’s what you need).

Capture 1

Step 2: Creating space
Place a reverb on the insert. This is where we will shape the sound.

Capture 2

Start with a large hall or any preset that has a long reverb tail.
This is sometimes called “Reverb Time” and sets how long the reverb goes for. As a guide, 15-20 seconds lasts for about 8 bars.
This sets when the reverb starts. For example, if you set “0” the reverb will start immediately. If you set 50ms it will wait 50 milliseconds before working. This is very useful as you can let the initial transient through. Play your clap on loop and slowly raise the pre-delay until you can hear the reverb almost separate from the clap sample: now simply bring it back until they glue together.
Use this to balance between the punch of the clap and the reverb wash. I find that between 50%-80% works well.
Most reverbs have some form of filter or EQ section: shape the sound of the reverb to taste.

Step 3: Finalising
The impact is starting to sound good but still may sound like a clap with a reverb rather than a full-bodied sample. The last step is to add some compression to further “glue” the clap sample with the reverb. For a detailed guide on Compression read my previous tutorial.

Short to medium Attack: This lets some transient through whilst bringing up the tail of the reverb. Long release: allows the compressor to work on the entire reverb tail. Medium Ratio: This is the amount of compression. Around 2:1 normally does the trick.

Capture 3

Export to WAV and import it into your project. Make sure to place the markers with enough space to catch the entire tail of the reverb.

Step 4: Experimenting
Try this tutorial with kick drums to create booms or even melodic synth stabs to create ambient washes. Reversing the finished WAV will also create some nice sweep ups.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. Thanks for reading!

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