This article will discuss how to make music high pitched by way of synthesis and different types of effects such as EQ, Delays and echoes.
It might surprise you that while we think of speakers, microphones and microphones used for instruments in terms of high pitch and low pitch, that's not actually the case.
In fact, what you might think is a low pitch mic is actually normal – the frequency being determined by its sensitivity to sound pressure changes.
So, if you think of a Hi-Fi music system and put your headphones on to listen, they'll all have the same frequency on the first two valves – 100Hz to 200Hz.
However, the microphones used to pick up your voice or instrument will actually have higher frequencies on the second valve, giving the impression that the sound is lower pitched.
By using a high pitch microphone, your music will sound as though it's coming from a higher pitched instrument or from somewhere higher up in the venue.
Playing instruments with a higher frequency will sound more impressive and creates more texture for your sound.
Hear how an acoustic guitar can sound more naturally high pitched by tweaking the tracking of the pluck rate using Waves Blue Luke.
Before we discuss how to make music high pitched by way of synthesis, we have to talk about some of the common problems that users have with the theory behind this technique, which I'll list below.
By definition, the higher frequencies are beyond the perception of the human ear, which means that if you go for higher than normal frequencies in a synth or plugin, you will either sound forced or artificial.
The key to making the synth sound natural is to put them in the right place relative to the rest of the sounds you're using in your track. For instance, if you use the Model 300, it doesn't work well in a side-chaining context.
However, if you plug the Model 300 into a DMX, the sound will work much better. So, if you have a Model 300 set up in your DJ style set up, that's the best place to use it.
The same goes for an MXR Pure RAT and its partner – the MXR M7R.
Now, this might sound like I'm bashing the professionals or being picky, but I'm not. There is a huge learning curve with this process and getting right might take you several months, but if you have time then it's worth it.
If you're a commercial musician and you're using the same sound in a club as you're in your studio, the big problem you'll get is that some people won't get it.
So, to get it right, we have to get the sound correct in the first place.
A lot of vocalists are finding it hard to make their voices sound realistic at high frequencies. It's not that high end vocals don't work on higher pitches – it's just that, in my experience, they work best when used as a contrast to the lower end sounds.
Another thing to bear in mind is that vocalists are wired differently than other instruments.
Because singers have to inflate their vocal cords to the same pitch every time, they tend to have a higher-pitched instrument sounding a lot brighter, or it will sound pitched just a little higher, than the rest of the track.
Essentially, I'd suggest that if you're playing keyboards, you're likely to get the most natural sound from using a natural voice with a higher frequency.
Once you know how to make your synth sound high pitched, it's also useful to be able to create a more aggressive sound.
It's impossible to make the sound any higher-pitched than it already is, so the only way to make it really aggressive is to reduce the original vocal part.
The key to making vocals sound really grungy is to manipulate the envelope the synth gets its tone from and use compressors to make it sound more distant.
It's important that you don't try and create a particularly aggressive sound in the bass, but you do have to be careful that the original vocal is kept in the mix.
Now let's look at how to get the kind of intense sounds you get from morphing and modulating the vocals.
To extend the baseline, you need to add negative mid-range compression. This is very easy to do.
All you need to do is open up the plugins, put on a medium-gain envelope, add the compressor and you'll have the kind of sound you want.
However, there's a problem with this technique – there's a lot of high end compression going on that can interfere with the vocals.
The ideal way of making this sound work properly is by using parallel compression.
This works by taking all the peaks from the input signal (the baseline) and compressing it so that there's just the smallest peak remaining at the end of the processed signal. The bass end of the signal remains untouched.
If you try it with a plugin, you'll notice that the bass end is suddenly much lower in volume, while the voices get a little brighter.
At the same time, the whole signal gets shorter. The distortion component stays the same, but the rest is truncated, which makes it appear thinner.
This is the part that you want.
To make the final result as screeching as possible, the processing of the pure voice signal needs to be applied to the synthesizer.
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